Pocono Shakes Up Trucks Playoff Picture
After an exciting Overton’s 150 at Pocono Raceway, only four races remain till the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs, and it’s anybody’s guess who will make the field. While there may be some uncertainty, it’s clear after Saturday’s 60-lap event that some are in better shape than others.
With five different winners and an 88-point cushion for Chase Briscoe, the battle to keep an eye on revolves around the seventh and eighth seed, currently held by Ben Rhodes and Ryan Truex. Although they may be in preferred position now, entering the weekend, it was a different story, with both failing to place in the top-20 in their previous three starts.
That wouldn’t be the case Saturday, as the pair collected points in both Stages, and finished second and third, respectively. The runner-up allows Rhodes to improve to five points over ninth, and brings Truex into the playoff field, after being outside entering the day.
With Truex moving in, who falls to ninth? Grant Enfinger, who now sits four points out after finishing 13th. While he seemingly had a top-10 truck, the driver of the No. 98 only collected one point during the first two stages and was plagued with mechanical issues in the race’s final stretch. When the Camping World Truck Series heads to Michigan International Speedway in two weeks, he will likely need to improve upon his eighth-place finish from his only previous start at the 2-mile oval if he wants to make up for lost ground.
Enfinger didn’t have the worst day as far playoff contenders go. That distinction would go to Noah Gragson, who finished 24th after being involved in an accident with Kaz Grala. The 19-year-old who was riding the momentum of seven straight top-10 finishes and entered Pocono only eight points outside the bubble, now sits 41 behind. The DNF essentially puts him in a must-win situation, which is a tall order for a rookie who hasn’t run a truck at any of the remaining four tracks.
Now, nothing is secure, and anything can happen. However, the question should be asked. How will this race overall impact the playoffs? Will the positive performance of Rhodes and Truex provide a bit of insurance in points? Will the points Enfinger loss not finishing top-10 end up costing him big? Only time will tell.
Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
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