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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Daytona & WWT Raceway at Gateway


NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Coke Zero Sugar 400
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, August 29
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 miles (160 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola
The Place: Daytona International Speedway
The Date: Friday, August 28
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250 miles (100 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100)

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Next Race: CarShield 200 Presented by CK Power
The Place: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
The Date: Sunday, August 30
The Time: 12 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 11:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 55), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 110), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)

ARCA Menards Series
Next Race: Dutch Boy 150
The Place: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
The Date: Saturday, August 29
The Time: 5:15 p.m. ET
TV: Broadcast live on MAVTV, Streamed live on NBC Gold TrackPass

NASCAR Cup Series

Regular Season Finale: Everybody has a chance at Daytona

It all comes down to this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, this Saturday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

For the first time in series history, the NASCAR Cup Series has overcome a stoppage in competition due to a pandemic, mid-year scheduling changes and back-to-back doubleheaders to get to this point in the year. Now the drivers have just one last chance to etch their names in the 2020 Playoff grid, as this is the first time Daytona International Speedway has hosted the regular season finale. Since the inception of the Playoffs in the series in 2004, Richmond Raceway held the regular season finale from 2004 to 2017 (14 years) and then from 2018-2019 Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the final regular season event.

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is currently operating in its third iteration of the postseason’s points system since its inception in 2004. The first Playoff points system (from 2004 to 2009) had the top 10 to 12 drivers earn their position in the Playoffs by points only. The second version of the Playoff points system (2010 to 2013) incorporated the top 10 drivers to get in on points/wins with the addition of two extra drivers referred to as the Wildcards. The third version of the Playoff points system (2014 to Present) features drivers vying for the top 16 Playoff spots either by points or the ‘Win and You’re In’ rule. The third version of the Playoffs also instituted the elimination style format with four drivers being eliminated from the Playoffs at the conclusion of each postseason round culminating with the Championship 4 battling it out for the title in the season finale.

Playoff Points System 1 (2004-2006 – Top 10 in on Points; 2007-2009 – Top 12 in on Points)

Four drivers have come from outside the postseason cut-off to make the Playoffs at Richmond in the first iteration of the Playoff championship format:

  • Jeremy Mayfield in 2004 made up a 55-point deficit
  • Ryan Newman in 2005 made up a one-point deficit
  • Kasey Kahne in 2006 made up a 30-point deficit
  • Brian Vickers in 2009 made up a 20-point deficit

Playoff Points System 2 (2010-2013 – Top 10 in on Wins/Points and Two Wildcards)

Seven drivers have come from outside the postseason cut-off to make the Playoffs at Richmond in the second iteration of the Playoff championship format that incorporates the Wild Card:

  • Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2010 to make the Playoffs. Biffle was 11th in points with one win; Bowyer was 12th in points with no wins heading into the regular season finale.
  • Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2011 to make the Playoffs. Keselowski was 11th in points with three wins; Hamlin was 12th in points with one win heading into the regular season finale.
  • Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2012 to make the Playoffs. Kahne was 11th in points with two wins; Gordon was 13th in points with one win heading into the regular season finale.
  • Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne are the two drivers that clinched the Wild Card in 2013 to make the Playoffs. Kahne was 12th in points with two wins; Newman was 14th in points with one win heading into regular season finale.
  • Due to a rare instance in the final race of the regular season that resulted in penalties being issued; a 13th car (Jeff Gordon’s No. 24) was added to the Playoffs. It was the second time in the Playoff Era the number of entries was expanded.

Playoff Points System 3 (2014 – Present – Top 16 in on Wins or Points/Elimination Style)

In the third iteration of the Playoff championship format from 2014-Present – Only one driver outside the Playoff cutoff has raced their way into the Playoffs in the regular season finale through points or last-minute wins.

  • From 2014 to 2018 – the drivers that won or were inside the top 16 that were expected to make the Playoffs did, no drivers raced their way into the Playoffs in the regular season finale on points or wins.
  • Last season, heading into the regular season finale at Indianapolis, Ryan Newman was tied with Daniel Suarez for the 16th and final transfer position to the Playoffs. Newman finished eighth in the regular season finale to Suarez’s 11th, earning the final transfer spot into the postseason.

Breaking down the summer Daytona race history

Daytona International Speedway has hosted 146 NASCAR Cup Series races since the inaugural race in 1959: 62 have been 500 miles, 57 were 400 miles and four were 250 miles. There were also 23 qualifier races that were point races. But this weekend marks the first time the summer race will be the regular season finale.

NASCAR Cup Series
Active Daytona Summer Race Winners
Race Winners (7) Wins
Erik Jones Saturday, July 7, 2018
Ricky Stenhouse Jr Saturday, July 1, 2017
Brad Keselowski Saturday, July 2, 2016
Aric Almirola Sunday, July 6, 2014
Jimmie Johnson Saturday, July 6, 2013
Kevin Harvick Saturday, July 3, 2010
Kyle Busch Saturday, July 5, 2008

The 146 NASCAR Cup Series races at Daytona have produced 62 different pole winners and 65 different race winners, 29 drivers have multiple Cup Series wins at Daytona. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in wins at Daytona with 10 victories (Feb. 1964, Feb. 1966, Feb. 1971, Feb. 1973, Feb. 1974, July 1975, July 1977, Feb. 1979, Feb. 1981, July 1984). Jimmie Johnson (Feb. 2006 and 2013 sweep) and Denny Hamlin (Feb. 2016, Feb. 2019, Feb. 2020) lead all active series drivers in Daytona wins with three each. Of the 65 Cup Series Daytona winners, 39 of them have won the summer race and seven are entered in this weekend’s event – Erik Jones (2018), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2017), Brad Keselowski (2016), Aric Almirola (2014), Jimmie Johnson (2013), Kevin Harvick (2010) and Kyle Busch (2008).

NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson leads the series in summer race victories at Daytona with five wins (1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978).

Five drivers have posted consecutive summer race wins at Daytona International Speedway: Fireball Roberts (1962-1963), A.J. Foyt (1964-1965), Cale Yarborough (1967-1968) David Pearson (1972 – 1974) and Tony Stewart (2005-2006).

The youngest Daytona summer race winner is Justin Haley (07/07/2019 – 20 years, 2 months, 9 days); all-time track record – Trevor Bayne (02/20/2011 – 20 years, 0 months, 1 day). The oldest Daytona summer race winner is Bobby Allison (07/04/1987 – 49 years, 7 months, 1 day); all-time track record – Bobby Allison (02/14/1988 – 50 years, 5 months, 23 days).

A total of 20 drivers have posted their first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona; 10 of the 20 drivers posted their first win in the summer race – the most recent was last season’s July race with winner Justin Haley and Spire Motorsports.

NASCAR Cup Series Summer Daytona Race First-Time Winners
First-Time Race Winners Date Driver’s Age
1 Justin Haley Sunday, July 7, 2019 20
2 Erik Jones Saturday, July 7, 2018 22
3 Aric Almirola Sunday, July 6, 2014 30
4 David Ragan Saturday, July 2, 2011 25
5 Greg Biffle Saturday, July 5, 2003 33
6 John Andretti Saturday, July 5, 1997 34
7 Jimmy Spencer Saturday, July 2, 1994 37
8 Greg Sacks Thursday, July 4, 1985 32
9 Sam McQuagg Monday, July 4, 1966 28
10 A.J. Foyt Saturday, July 4, 1964 29

Playoff Bubble: Last opportunity to clinch a spot in the postseason

This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway is the last opportunity for the drivers outside the Playoff cutoff to earn their spot in the postseason. A total of 13 drivers have already clinched their Playoff spot, leaving just three spots left for drivers to battle it out in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Already clinched

The following 13 drivers have clinched a spot in the 16-driver postseason field: Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon and Cole Custer.

Can clinch via points

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 6th winless driver in the standings.

  • Clint Bowyer: Would clinch with 3 points (so he could clinch as early as the end of Stage 1)
  • Matt DiBenedetto: Would clinch with 51 points
  • William Byron: Could only clinch with help
  • Jimmie Johnson: Could only clinch with help

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 7th winless driver in the standings. They would also clinch if there was a new winner among (Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto or William Byron) and being ahead of the 6th winless driver in the standings.

  • Clint Bowyer: Would clinch regardless of finish
  • Matt DiBenedetto: Would clinch with 47 points
  • William Byron: Would clinch with 52 points
  • Jimmie Johnson: Could only clinch with help
  • Erik Jones: Could only clinch with help

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Clint Bowyer (Daytona average finish: 16.4)
  • Matt DiBenedetto (21.0)
  • William Byron (23.6)
  • Jimmie Johnson (18.3)
  • Erik Jones (18.4)
  • Tyler Reddick (27.5)
  • Christopher Bell (21.0)
  • Chris Buescher (21.2)
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. (16.5)
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (18.8)
  • Michael McDowell (20.7)
  • Ryan Newman (18.1)
  • John Hunter Nemechek (11.0)
  • Ty Dillon (20.4)
  • Matt Kenseth (19.0)
  • Corey Lajoie (19.7)
  • Ryan Preece (23.0)

The following driver could clinch with a win and some help clinching a Top 30 position:

  • Daniel Suarez (Daytona average finish: 31.8)

Wood Brothers Racing’s driver Matt DiBenedetto is just nine points up on the Playoff cutoff heading into this weekend’s regular season finale.

"I am going to sit and hope and pray all week that we can just come out of there clean and make the Playoffs," said DiBenedetto.

Last season in the summer race at Daytona, DiBenedetto put on a strong performance finishing eighth – his third top-10 finish at the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Just below DiBenedetto in the standings are Hendrick Motorsport’s teammates William Byron in the 16th and final Playoff transfer position and seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson in 17th, the first spot outside the postseason cutoff. The two are separated by just four points.

"Yeah, it’s going to be a really interesting race in Daytona," said Jimmie Johnson. "We did the best that we could here over these two days, had two respectable results, closed the gap, but now it’s kind of in luck’s hands or in fate’s hands down in Daytona."

William Byron has made five series starts at Daytona International Speedway posting one top-five finish – a runner-up in the July race last season. Byron has also won at Daytona in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (July 2017). Johnson brings much more experience to this weekend’s event. The veteran has made 37 series starts at Daytona posting three wins (Feb. 2006 and 2013 sweep), 12 top fives and 16 top 10s.

2020 Driver Playoff Outlook
Rank Drivers Points Starts Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Pts from Cutoff
1 Kevin Harvick 1041 25 7 7 42 In On Wins
2 Denny Hamlin 907 25 6 7 37
3 Brad Keselowski 881 25 3 6 21
4 Joey Logano 836 25 2 4 14
5 Chase Elliott 809 25 2 6 16
6 Martin Truex Jr. 845 25 1 2 7
7 Ryan Blaney 818 25 1 3 8
8 Alex Bowman 662 25 1 4 9
9 Austin Dillon 561 24 1 0 5
10 Cole Custer 469 25 1 0 5
11 Aric Almirola 740 25 0 2 2 112
12 Kyle Busch 719 25 0 1 1 91
13 Kurt Busch 700 25 0 1 1 72
14 Clint Bowyer 685 25 0 3 3 57
15 Matt DiBenedetto 637 25 0 0 0 9
16 William Byron 632 25 0 2 2 4
17 Jimmie Johnson 628 24 0 1 1 -4
18 Erik Jones 582 25 0 0 0 -50
19 Tyler Reddick 563 25 0 1 1 -69
20 Christopher Bell 456 25 0 0 0 -176
21 Chris Buescher 449 25 0 0 0 -183
22 Bubba Wallace 438 25 0 0 0 -194
23 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 426 25 0 1 1 -206
24 Michael McDowell 426 25 0 0 0 -206
25 Ryan Newman 387 22 0 0 0 -245
26 John H. Nemechek 373 25 0 0 0 -259
27 Ty Dillon 369 25 0 0 0 -263
28 Matt Kenseth 363 21 0 0 0 -269
29 Corey LaJoie 309 25 0 0 0 -323
30 Ryan Preece 292 25 0 0 0 -340
31 Daniel Suarez 264 24 0 0 0 -368
The above Outlook does not take into account the end of the regular season bonus Playoff points.

Daytona Dominators: The best of the best at the World Center of Racing

Winning at one of NASCAR’s most prestigious tracks, Daytona International Speedway, is a major accomplishment. So, it is not all that surprising that the top 10 series winningest drivers at Daytona are all in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

NASCAR Cup Series
Top 10 Winningest Drivers at Daytona
Daytona Winners Total Daytona 500 Summer Race
1 Richard Petty 10 7 3
2 Cale Yarborough 9 5 4
3 David Pearson 8 3 5
4 Fireball Roberts 7 4 3
5 Bobby Allison 6 3 3
Jeff Gordon 6 3 3
7 Bill Elliott 4 2 2
Dale Earnhardt Jr 4 2 2
Dale Jarrett 4 3 1
Junior Johnson 4 4 0
Tony Stewart 4 0 4

Active Daytona Winners Wins
Denny Hamlin 3
Jimmie Johnson 3
Kevin Harvick 2
Matt Kenseth 2
Aric Almirola 1
Austin Dillon 1
Brad Keselowski 1
Erik Jones 1
Joey Logano 1
Kurt Busch 1
Kyle Busch 1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 1
Ryan Newman 1

This weekend the NASCAR Cup Series field will have 13 former Daytona International Speedway winners entered, led by Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin with three wins each.

The most recent winner at Daytona that is entered this weekend is Denny Hamlin who won the last two Daytona 500s (2019, 2020). Spire Motorsports Justin Haley won the rain shortened summer race last season but is not entered in the Cup race this weekend.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin is not only tied for the lead in wins at Daytona among active drivers, he has also spent the most time out front of the field at the 2.5-mile superspeedway among active drivers, leading 521 laps of 4,981 laps completed (10.4%) in 30 starts.

Since the ‘Win and Your In’ format to the Playoffs was initiated in 2016, Erik Jones’ 2018 summer race win is the only summer race at Daytona to catapult a driver into the postseason – the other three winners were either not eligible for the Playoffs due to not competing for a championship in the series (Haley in 2019) or the drivers had already previously one in the same season (Keselowski in 2016 and Stenhouse in 2017).

But optimism is still permeating throughout the garage for the drivers on the outside of the Playoff cutoff as several have run quite well in the summer months at Daytona. Below is the top-10 in average finish in the summer race at Daytona:

Rank Active Drivers Avg Finish Races
1 Ty Dillon 8.667 4
2 Erik Jones 11.000 4
3 Bubba Wallace 14.667 4
4 Corey Lajoie 16.000 4
5 Ryan Newman 16.000 19
6 Austin Dillon 16.167 7
7 Clint Bowyer 16.214 15
8 Kyle Busch 16.333 16
9 Matt Kenseth 16.389 19
10 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 16.857 8

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.:

Kevin Harvick to celebrate 2020 regular season title at Daytona

Despite clinching this year’s NASCAR Cup Series regular season championship at Dover International Speedway last weekend, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and NASCAR will celebrate the accomplishment this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Not only does the victory come with the prestige but also with 15 bonus Playoff points to take with him into the postseason. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch earned the past two NASCAR Cup Series regular-season championships and his teammate Martin Truex Jr. scored the 2017 honor, the first year of inception.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year
Rookies Points
Tyler Reddick 563
Cole Custer 469
Christopher Bell 456
John H. Nemechek 373
Brennan Poole 171
Quin Houff 132

Cole Custer could lockup Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors at Daytona

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer currently is the only rookie driver with a win this season and the only one currently in position to move into the Playoffs. If Custer is the only rookie to make the Playoffs, he will win the 2020 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Cup Series. This season Custer has put up one win (Kentucky), two top fives and six top 10s in 25 starts. Tyler Reddick currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 94 points over second place Cole Custer. But Reddick is currently 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff outlook standings, 69 points behind William Byron in the 16th and final postseason transfer position. Both drivers will be looking for redemption at Daytona this weekend as both finished with DNFs in the season-opening Daytona 500 – Custer (Rear End) and Reddick (Crash).

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Back at it in Daytona under the Friday night lights

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will kick off a weekend of racing at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night for the Wawa 250 powered by Coca-Cola (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The series competed at Daytona two weekends ago, but on the road course rather than the oval that they will compete on this weekend.

Noah Gragson won the season-opening race at Daytona in February for JR Motorsports in the No. 9 Chevrolet. It was Gragson’s first career Xfinity Series win at the track.

Xfinity will get things started on Friday night while the Cup Series will compete on Saturday night.

With Gragson winning the first race of the season at Daytona, a return to the track is sure to bring a lot of momentum to the No. 9 team. Harrison Burton finished second in his first Xfinity Series start at Daytona. Timmy Hill got a career-best finish of third while Brandon Jones finished fourth. Chase Briscoe, the season points leader, rounded out the top five.

Coming off a doubleheader weekend at Dover International Speedway, Justin Allgaier got his first win of the 2020 season in Saturday’s race, securing his spot in the Playoffs. Chase Briscoe was victorious on Sunday for the sixth time this season.

Friday night’s race will be 250 miles and 100 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 30 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 60. Briscoe will lead the field to green as the No. 98 will start from the pole.

Ross Chastain, who is still looking for his first win of 2020, won this race last season after starting fourth and leading 49 laps.

His Kaulig Racing teammate, Justin Haley, finished behind him in second while Christopher Bell finished third for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Austin Cindric, the second part of the dominating Ford group this year with Briscoe, finished fourth. Stephen Leicht finished fifth for JD Motorsports.

Daytona International Speedway tends to produce new winners as well as exciting and crazy races and with the Playoffs on the line, we could see a surprise winner on Friday night in the Sunshine State.

Clinch scenarios for Xfinity Series

Justin Allgaier and Brandon Jones are the most recent clinched drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series post-Dover.

Justin Haley will clinch this weekend with five points and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, Haley would clinch on wins regardless of finish. If Haley wins at Daytona, he would clinch a Playoff spot on wins.

Ross Chastain will clinch a Playoff spot with a win and could clinch on points with a repeat winner and help.

Michael Annett is in the same position at Chastain. He would clinch with a win and help.

It is impossible for Riley Herbst to clinch a Playoff spot even with a win since a winless driver could win the regular season championship, resulting in the possibility of a driver with a win not making the Playoffs. If they can’t clinch a Playoff spot with a win, no winless driver below them in the standings could clinch either.

There are currently six drivers locked into the 12-driver Playoff field: Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, Harrison Burton, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones.

Five Playoff spots still up for grabs

With Justin Allgaier claiming his first win of the 2020 season in the first race of the doubleheader weekend at Dover on Saturday, only five spots remain in the NASCAR Xfinity Series post-season. Chase Briscoe won his sixth race of the season on Sunday in the second race of the doubleheader weekend.

As the series heads to Daytona International Speedway this weekend, the pressure is on for those drivers fighting to stay above the cutline.

Ross Chastain is holding onto the eighth spot in the driver Playoff standings as the first driver without a win. Michael Annett is behind him in ninth and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Riley Herbst is hanging on to 10th. Ryan Sieg is sitting in 11th while Brandon Brown remained the 12th and final drivers in the Playoffs on points as of now.

Since Chastain is on the hunt for his first 2020 win, it’s important to note that he did win this race last season in a spot start for Kaulig Racing, prior to being a fulltime driver for the organization.

If a driver outside of the current Playoff picture wins this weekend at Daytona, Brown would be bumped out of the postseason.

With the craziness that comes with racing at Daytona, anything is possible.

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Pts from Cutoff
1 Chase Briscoe 867 6 5 In On Wins
2 Austin Cindric 929 5 9
3 Noah Gragson 832 2 8
4 Harrison Burton 716 2 0
5 Brandon Jones 626 2 2
6 Justin Allgaier 739 1 8
7 Justin Haley 699 1 2
8 Ross Chastain 811 0 1 388
9 Michael Annett 627 0 0 204
10 Riley Herbst 539 0 0 116
11 Ryan Sieg 511 0 2 88
12 Brandon Brown 454 0 0 31
13 Jeremy Clements 423 0 0 -31
14 Myatt Snider 396 0 0 -58
15 Alex Labbe 371 0 0 -83

Jeremy Clements has been hanging onto the 13th spot right below the cutline and Myatt Snider, another rookie, is in 14th, now 58 points back from the cutline.

Cindric now has the most stage wins of any driver this season with nine and JR Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier are tied with eight.

Eyes on the Sunoco rookies

Harrison Burton continues to dominate the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, holding a 177-point lead over Riley Herbst.

Burton is the only rookie who is locked into the Playoffs by virtue of a win – he has two on the season (Auto Club, Miami). Herbst is in 11th place on the Playoff outlook, 116 points ahead of the cutoff.

In addition to his two wins, Burton has put together a plethora of points on the strength of 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in the 21 races this season. He’s accumulated four top 10s in the last six races, including a third-place finish at Kansas Speedway.

Herbst has two top fives and 12 top 10s in 21 races and has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races. At Dover, he finished sixth and ninth, receiving the Rookie of the Year Award for the second Dover race on Sunday.

Jesse Little is in third in the Sunoco Rookie standings and is looking for his first top five of the season. His season-best finish came at Pocono in 10th. At Dover, he finished 23rd in both races.

Rookies Points Awards
Harrison Burton 716 14
Riley Herbst 539 5
Jesse Little 357 1
Joe Graf Jr. 285 0
Myatt Snider 244 1
Kody Vanderwal 145 0

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Sunday afternoon truckin’ at Gateway

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series goes from the banks of Dover International Speedway to the 1.25-mile track at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway for the CarShield 200 presented by CK Power (12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Zane Smith is coming off his second win of the season (Michigan, Dover) and will be making his second start at the track. He finished fifth in his debut in 2018. Smith will also start on the pole on Sunday afternoon, leading the field to green.

Veteran Johnny Sauter is looking to get his first victory of the season and secure his spot in the post-season as he currently sits below the Playoff cutline. Sauter has seven starts at the track and has finished in the top five is all seven of them. He has a best finish of second in his track debut in 2009.

There are no previous winners in the field for this weekend but Matt Crafton (16 starts) and Sauter are the two drivers with the most experience at the track.

Sauter holds the record for the most top fives (seven) and Crafton holds the record for the most top 10s (nine). Ross Chastain won last season’s race at Gateway for Niece Motorsports.

Three of 19 races have been won from the pole position and five of 19 races have been won from the second position.

Sunday’s standalone event for the Gander Trucks will be 200 miles and 160 laps. Stage 1 will end on Lap 55 and Stage 2 will end on Lap 110.

Triple Truck Challenge wraps up at Gateway

With the win on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, Sheldon Creed took home the first $50,000 bonus of the 2020 edition of the Triple Truck Challenge.

On Friday evening at Dover International Speedway, Creed’s GMS Racing teammate Zane Smith was victorious and took home the second $50,000 bonus.

The third and final race of the challenge will be at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on August 30 (12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Creed and Smith will each be looking to triple their bonus as a win this weekend would net one of them $150,00 total through the two wins.

This year’s rules will copy last season. The drivers will compete for cash prizes:

  • $50,000 bonus for the race winner of any of the three events
  • If a driver wins two of the three events, they’re awarded an extra $50,000, totaling $150,000
  • Win all three events and take home an additional $300,000 for a total of $500,000 in prize money.

Greg Biffle came out of retirement in 2019 to win the first Triple Truck Challenge event at Texas Motor Speedway for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Brett Moffitt won at Iowa Speedway and Ross Chastain won at Gateway.

"The Trip" was originally supposed to take place beginning April 18 at Richmond Raceway and continuing into May at Dover and Charlotte Motor Speedway, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic it was rescheduled.

Clinch scenarios for Gander Trucks

Austin Hill, Zane Smith, Sheldon Creed, Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger have all clinched their spot in the Gander Trucks post-season.

Brett Moffitt can clinch this weekend at Gateway with a win or on points with a repeat winner or a win by Christian Eckes or Ben Rhodes.

Eckes can clinch with a win or on points with a repeat winner or win by Moffitt or Rhodes

Rhodes can also clinch with a win and on points with a repeat winner or win by Eckes or Moffitt.

Tyler Ankrum, Todd Gilliland, Derek Kraus, Tanner Gray, Johnny Sauter and Raphael Lessard could all clinch a Playoff spot with a win.

Stewart Friesen could clinch a top-20 spot with 50 points and with a win, would clinch a Playoff spot.

Ty Majeski could clinch a top-20 spot with help and with a win, he could also clinch a spot if they get help clinching the top-20 spot.

Three races left in the Playoff hunt

With repeat winner Zane Smith taking the victory on Friday night at Dover, that still leaves five spots open in the postseason as five have been claimed by race winners.

Brett Moffitt, Christian Eckes, Ben Rhodes, Tyler Ankrum, and Todd Gilliland currently occupy the five spots on points.

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Playoff Pts Pts from Cutoff
1 Zane Smith # 474 2 14 In On Wins
2 Sheldon Creed 426 2 14
3 Grant Enfinger 393 2 11
4 Austin Hill 515 1 7
5 Matt Crafton 420 1 5
6 Brett Moffitt 468 0 4 94
7 Christian Eckes # 450 0 0 76
8 Ben Rhodes 450 0 0 76
9 Tyler Ankrum 383 0 0 9
10 Todd Gilliland 378 0 0 4
11 Derek Kraus # 374 0 0 -4
12 Tanner Gray # 315 0 0 -63
13 Johnny Sauter 307 0 1 -71
14 Raphael Lessard # 305 0 0 -73
15 Stewart Friesen 281 0 0 -97

With 13 races in the books this season, former series champion Johnny Sauter is still below the Playoff cutline after a long string of bad luck. He jumped up one spot below the cutline from 14th to 13th and is 71 points back from the final Playoff spot. Kraus is currently sitting in 11th, four points below the cutline with hopes of making the jump above the cutline before the postseason begins. Stewart Friesen has had a tough season, like Sauter, and is currently sitting in 15th, 97 points back from the cutline.

Checking in on the rookies

Zane Smith continues to hold the top spot in the Gander Trucks Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 474 points and four awards.

Christian Eckes, who is sitting in second behind Smith, has five awards to his name with only 450 points.

Derek Kraus has 374 points and win awards and Tanner Gray is sitting in fourth with 315 points and one award. Raphael Lessard is fifth followed by Ty Majeski, Spencer Davis and Tate Fogleman.

Eckes has two previous starts at Gateway, Smith and Fogleman each have one. But, Kraus, Lessard, Majeski and Davis will be making their debuts on Sunday at Gateway.— NASCAR —