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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Bristol Motor Speedway


NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, September 19
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 266.5 miles (500 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 125), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 250), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 500)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Food City 300
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, September 18
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 6:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 159.9 miles (300 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 85), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 170), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 300)

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Next Race: UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Thursday, September 17
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 106.6 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 55), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 110), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

NASCAR Cup Series

Bristol Motor Speedway sets the stage for the Round of 16 cutoff

The stage is set, and the anticipation is high for this Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Round of 16 cutoff race, the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Three Playoff drivers have locked themselves into the Round of 12 by either wins or points in the first two races of the Round of 16 – Kevin Harvick (won Darlington), Brad Keselowski (won Richmond) and Denny Hamlin (clinched on points) – leaving nine spots still up for grabs this weekend.

The 2020 season marks the first time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s third race has been held at Bristol Motor Speedway and the first Cup postseason event at the 0.533-mile track. Bristol is the fifth different track in series history to host the third race of the Playoffs; joining Talladega Superspeedway (2004-2005), Kansas Speedway (2006-2010), Dover International Speedway (2011-2017) and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (2018-2019).

A total of 13 different drivers have won the third race of the Playoffs, led by Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2013), Greg Biffle (2007, 2010), and Tony Stewart (2006, 2009) with two each. Three times the third race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has been won by a non-Playoff driver. In 2005, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett was 14th in points when he won the Talladega Superspeedway Playoff race. Then in 2006, NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart was ranked 11th in points when he won the Kansas Speedway Playoff race. And finally, Greg Biffle was ranked 14th in points when he won the 2007 Kansas Playoff race.

Third Race of the Playoffs – Race Winners
Track Playoff Race Winners Date
Charlotte RC Chase Elliott Sunday, September 29, 2019
Charlotte RC Ryan Blaney Sunday, September 30, 2018
Dover Kyle Busch Sunday, October 1, 2017
Dover Martin Truex Jr Sunday, October 2, 2016
Dover Kevin Harvick Sunday, October 4, 2015
Dover Jeff Gordon Sunday, September 28, 2014
Dover Jimmie Johnson Sunday, September 29, 2013
Dover Brad Keselowski Sunday, September 30, 2012
Dover Kurt Busch Sunday, October 2, 2011
Kansas Greg Biffle Sunday, October 3, 2010
Kansas Tony Stewart Sunday, October 4, 2009
Kansas Jimmie Johnson Sunday, September 28, 2008
Kansas Greg Biffle Sunday, September 30, 2007
Kansas Tony Stewart Sunday, October 1, 2006
Talladega Dale Jarrett Sunday, October 2, 2005
Talladega Dale Earnhardt Jr Sunday, October 3, 2004

Since the inception of the Playoffs in 2004, three times the winner of the third race of the postseason has gone on to win the title that same year. In 2008, Jimmie Johnson won the third race of the Playoffs at Kansas Speedway and went on to win his third consecutive title. It was his first of three Playoff wins that season (Kansas, Martinsville-2, Phoenix-2). In 2012, Brad Keselowski won the third race of the Playoffs at Dover International Speedway and went on to win his first series title. It was Keselowski’s lone win during the 2012 Playoffs. Then in 2013, Jimmie Johnson won the third race of the Playoffs at Dover International Speedway and went on to win his sixth series title. It was his first of two Playoff wins that season (Dover-2, Texas-2) for the Hendrick Motorsports driver.

The worst finish by a driver in the third NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race that went on to win the series title that same season was:

  • At the Charlotte Road Course (2018-2019): In 2019, Kyle Busch finished 37th at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course – the third race of the Playoffs – and went on to win the title later that season.
  • At Dover (2011-2017): In 2011, Tony Stewart finished 25th at Dover International Speedway – the third race of the Playoffs – and went on to win the title later that season.
  • At Kansas (2006-2010): In 2006, Jimmie Johnson finished 14th at Kansas Speedway – the third race of the Playoffs – and went on to win the title later that season.
  • At Talladega (2004-2005): In 2004, Kurt Busch finished fifth at Talladega Superspeedway – the third race of the Playoffs – and went on to win the title later that season.

In total Bristol Motor Speedway has hosted 119 NASCAR Cup Series races dating back to the inaugural event on July 30, 1961 – the race was won by Jack Smith (with relief from Johnny Allen) driving a Pontiac. The 119 NASCAR Cup Series races at Bristol have produced 51 different pole winners and 42 different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip leads the series in wins at Bristol Motor Speedway with 12 victories; including eight straight (1978, 1979, 1981 sweep, 1982 sweep, 1983 sweep, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1992). Eight former Cup Bristol winners are entered this weekend, led by Kyle Busch with eight victories (Spring 2007, 2009 sweep, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019), followed by Kurt Busch (six wins), Matt Kenseth (four), Brad Keselowski (three), Joey Logano (two), Kevin Harvick (two), Jimmie Johnson (two) and Denny Hamlin (two).

Clinch Scenarios: Last chance to make the Playoff’s Round of 12

This weekend’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway will bring the first round of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs to a close and four drivers will be eliminated from the postseason. Three drivers are locked in and moving on, leaving nine spots still up for grabs.

Already Clinched

The following 3 drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver field of the next round: Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski.

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 10th winless driver in the standings.

  • Joey Logano: Would clinch with 7 points
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 20 points
  • Austin Dillon: Would clinch with 21 points
  • Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 30 points
  • Alex Bowman: Would clinch with 31 points
  • Kyle Busch: Would clinch with 40 points
  • Aric Almirola: Would clinch with 51 points
  • Kurt Busch: Would clinch with 51 points
  • Clint Bowyer: Would clinch with 55 points
  • William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 11th winless driver in the standings. They could also clinch if there was a new winner among Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch or Clint Bowyer and being ahead of the 10th winless driver in the standings.

  • Joey Logano: Would clinch with 4 points
  • Martin Truex Jr.: Would clinch with 17 points
  • Austin Dillon: Would clinch with 18 points
  • Chase Elliott: Would clinch with 27 points
  • Alex Bowman: Would clinch with 28 points
  • Kyle Busch: Would clinch with 37 points
  • Aric Almirola: Would clinch with 48 points
  • Kurt Busch: Would clinch with 48 points
  • Clint Bowyer: Would clinch with 52 points
  • William Byron: Would clinch with 55 points
  • Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney: Could only clinch with help

Can’t Eliminate This: Previous drivers that have raced their way into the Round of 12

Since the introduction of the ‘elimination style’ format of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in 2014, several drivers have raced their way into the Round of 12 in the third and final cutoff race of the Round of 16.

2014: Heading to the Dover (third race of the Playoffs) in 2014, Denny Hamlin was ranked 13th in the Playoff standings and six points back from the Round of 12 cutoff. Hamlin finished 12th at Dover and advanced on points, knocking AJ Allmendinger (23rd-place finish at Dover) out of the Playoffs.

2015: Heading to the Dover (third race of the Playoffs) in 2015, Kevin Harvick was ranked 15th in the Playoff standings, 23 points back from the Round of 12 cutoff and Kyle Busch was ranked 13th in the Playoff standings just one point behind the Round of 12 cutoff. Kevin Harvick won the race at Dover and automatically advanced to the next round. Kyle Busch finished second at Dover and advanced on points to the Round of 12 knocking Jamie McMurray (fourth-place finish at Dover) and Jimmie Johnson (41st-place finish due to mechanical issues at Dover) out of the Playoffs.

2016: Heading to the Dover (third race of the Playoffs) in 2016, Austin Dillon was ranked 13th in the Playoff standings just five points back from the Round of 12 cutoff. Dillon finished eighth at Dover and advanced on points knocking Kyle Larson (25th-place finish at Dover) out of the Playoffs.

2017: The four drivers below the Round of 12 cutline heading into the third race of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at Dover International Speedway – Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch – all failed to advance to the Round of 12 and were eliminated from the Playoffs following the Dover race.

2018: Heading to the Charlotte ROVAL (third race of the Playoffs) in 2018, Clint Bowyer was ranked 13th in the Playoff standings and four points back from the Round of 12 cutoff. Bowyer finished third at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course and advanced on points knocking Austin Dillon (39th-place finish at the Charlotte ROVAL due to an incident) out of the Playoffs.

2019: Heading to the Charlotte ROVAL (third race of the Playoffs) in 2019, Clint Bowyer was ranked 14th in the Playoff standings, four points back from the Round of 12 cutoff and Alex Bowman was ranked 13th in the Playoff standings just two points behind the Round of 12 cutoff. Bowyer finished fourth and Alex Bowman finished second at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Both drivers advanced on points to the Round of 12 knocking Kyle Larson (13th-place finish at Charlotte) and Aric Almirola (14th-place finish at Charlotte) out of the Playoffs.

Playoff drivers at Thunder Valley

Bristol Motor Speedway, a high-banked, concrete, 0.533-mile short track, is one of the most challenging venues the NASCAR Cup Series competes on. And this weekend the famous short track deemed ‘The Last Great Colosseum’ will hold the final race in the Playoff’s Round of 12. Below is a look at the top 16 Playoff contenders and their career performances at Thunder Valley.

Kevin Harvick currently leads the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings and has secured his spot in the Round of 12 with a victory at Darlington. Harvick has made 39 career starts at Bristol posting one pole, two wins, 12 top fives and 19 top 10s. His average finish at the Tennessean half-mile speedway is 13.7.

Denny Hamlin rests in second in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and has secured his spot in the Round of 12 by clinching on points. Hamlin has made 29 series starts at Bristol putting up four poles, two wins, nine top fives and 14 top 10s. His average finish at Bristol is 14.4.

Brad Keselowski rides in third in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and has secured his spot in the Round of 12 with a win last weekend at Richmond Raceway. The Michigan native is also the most recent winner at Bristol Motor Speedway, taking the checkered flag at the historic track earlier this season. Keselowski has made 21 series starts at Bristol posting three wins, six top fives and seven top 10s. His average finish at Thunder Valley is 16.5.

Joey Logano currently is fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 51 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Logano has finished third in the last two Playoff races (at Darlington and Richmond) and is looking to advance to the Round of 12 like he has the last two seasons (2018, 2019). He has made 23 starts at Bristol posting one pole, two wins, six top fives and 10 top 10s. Logano’s average finish at 0.533-mile track is a 15.3.

Martin Truex Jr. resides in fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 38 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Truex opened the Playoffs with a 22nd-place finish at Darlington and followed that up with a runner-up last weekend at Richmond. Truex has made the Championship 4 round of the Playoffs the last three straight seasons (2017-2019). Truex has made 29 series starts at Bristol posting two top fives and three top 10s. His average finish at the half-mile raceway is 20.6.

Austin Dillon is off to one of the best postseasons of his career, currently sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, a comfortable 36 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Dillion has put up a runner-up finish at Darlington and then a fourth-place result last weekend at Richmond. The North Carolina native has competed in the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs three times (2016, 2017, 2018) prior to 2020 and has only advanced to the Round of 12 once (2016). Dillon has made 13 starts at Bristol posting one top five and three top 10s. His average finish at Thunder Valley is 17.3.

Chase Elliott holds on to the seventh position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs 28 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Elliott finished 20th in the Playoff opener at Darlington and then fifth last weekend at Richmond. The Georgia native has qualified for the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs four times prior to 2020 and has made the Round of 12 all four times. Elliott has made nine starts at Bristol putting up one pole, three top fives and four top 10s. His average finish at ‘The Last Great Colosseum’ is 12.6.

Alex Bowman sits eighth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 27 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Bowman has run well this postseason putting up a sixth-place finish at Darlington and a ninth-place finish at Richmond. Bowman has advanced to the Round of 12 the last two seasons (2018, 2019). The Hendrick Motorsports driver has made nine series starts at Bristol posting one top five and two top 10s. His average finish at half-mile speedway is 22.6.

Kyle Busch, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, clings to ninth in the 2020 Playoff standings with just 18 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Busch kicked-off the Playoffs with a seventh-place finish at Darlington and a sixth-place last weekend at Richmond. Busch is looking to advance to the Round of 12 this weekend to keep his streak of making the Championship 4 round for the sixth consecutive season still a possibility. Busch has made 30 series starts at Bristol posting two poles and a series-leading eight wins (Spring 2007, 2009 sweep, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019). He finished fourth at Bristol earlier this season (May).

Aric Almirola currently is 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, a mere seven points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Almirola has been consistent this postseason finishing ninth at Darlington and eighth at Richmond. The Tampa, Florida ,native has competed in the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs three times (2014, 2018, 2019) prior to the 2020 season and has only advanced out of the Round of 16 once (2018). Almirola has made 22 starts at Bristol posting one top five and two top 10s. His average finish at 0.533-mile track is 25.0. He finished 29th Bristol back in May due to an incident.

Kurt Busch grips the 11th spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, tied in points with Aric Almirola, a slim seven markers ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Almirola holds the tiebreaker of best finish in the current Playoff round. Busch has finished eighth at Darlington and 13th at Richmond. Busch has made the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs all six previous seasons (2014-2019) but has only advanced out of the Round of 16 three times (2015, 2016, 2018). The Las Vegas, Nevada native has made 39 series starts at Bristol posting one pole, six wins, 12 top fives and 21 top 10s. His average finish at Bristol is 14.0.

Clint Bowyer hangs on to the 12th and final transfer position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings by a scant three points over the Round of 12 cutoff heading into Bristol this weekend. Bowyer has been consistent this postseason finishing 10th at Darlington and Richmond. Bowyer has qualified for the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs three times prior to 2020 (2015, 2018, 2019) and has advanced out of the Round of 16 the last two seasons (2018, 2019). Bowyer has made 29 series starts at Bristol posting eight top fives and 16 top 10s. His average finish at Thunder Valley is 13.6. He finished runner-up at Bristol earlier this season (May).

William Byron is currently 13th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, just three points outside the Round of 12 cutoff. The 2020 season marks just the second time Byron has made the Playoffs, but in his first postseason appearance last year he advanced to the Round of 12. This year, Byron has started the Playoffs with a fifth-place finish at Darlington and a 21st-place finish last weekend at Richmond. Byron has made five series starts at Bristol posting one top-10 finish – eighth earlier this season.

Cole Custer, the lone rookie of the 2020 Playoff contenders, sits 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, eight points back from the Round of 12 cutoff. He kicked the postseason off with a 12th-place finish at Darlington and then followed it up with a 14th at Richmond. Custer will have his work cut out for him this weekend as the youngster from California made his series track debut at Bristol earlier this season starting 22nd and finishing 35th due to being involved in an incident.

Matt DiBenedetto’s first appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is off to a slow start. He is currently 15th in the Playoff standings 25 points behind the Round of 12 cutoff. The Wood Brothers Racing star finished the first two races of the Round of 16 in 21st at Darlington and 17th at Richmond. DiBenedetto has made 11 series starts at Bristol posting one top five and two top 10s; including a runner-up finish in the August 2019 race. He was caught in an incident and finished 31st at Bristol earlier this season (May).

Ryan Blaney resides in the 16th position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 27 points behind the Round of 12 cutoff. Blaney’s postseason has been wrought with trouble since the start. At Darlington, his No. 12 Ford failed pre-race inspection with an improperly mounted ballast which resulted in a penalty. He finished 24th at Darlington and then 19th last weekend at Richmond. Blaney has made 10 series starts at Bristol posting one top five and four top 10s. His average finish at Bristol 20.7. He finished last (40th) at Bristol earlier this season after being caught in an incident.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

One more race until the Playoffs

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to "The Last Great Coliseum" on Friday night for the Food City 300 (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for the final race of the regular season.

Austin Cindric clinched the regular season championship last weekend in the second race of the doubleheader weekend at Richmond Raceway.

There is only one Playoffs spot up for grabs in the series as all other 11 spots have been claimed. The spot is currently occupied by Brandon Brown based on points.

Justin Allgaier swept the race weekend at Richmond and now has three wins to his name. His first win was in the first race of the Dover doubleheader.

Noah Gragson won the race earlier this season at Bristol Motor Speedway with Chase Briscoe finishing in second, Brandon Jones finishing third, Harrison Burton fourth and Myatt Snider rounding out the top five.

Aside from Gragson, there are no other active drivers in the Xfinity Series with a race win at Bristol.

Allgaier will lead the field to green on Friday night with Ross Chastain joining him on the front row.

Friday night’s race will be 159.9 miles and 300 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 85 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 170.

Clinch Scenarios: Bristol on deck

With only one race left in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season, there is only one spot left for a driver to make the 2020 Playoffs.

Eleven drivers have already clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, Ross Chastain, Ryan Sieg, Michael Annett and Riley Herbst.

As a result, the main two scenarios are a new winner would clinch (who hasn’t already gotten in on points), or Brandon Brown, who currently has the final Playoff spot, will get in on points – provided we don’t see a massive comeback from Jeremy Clements, who trails Brown by 49 points for that final spot.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Outlook following Richmond-2

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Pts from Cutoff
1 Chase Briscoe 1,014 6 5 35 In On Wins
2 Austin Cindric 1,085 5 10 35
3 Justin Allgaier 866 3 10 25
4 Brandon Jones 758 3 2 17
5 Noah Gragson 953 2 8 18
6 Justin Haley 879 2 3 13
7 Harrison Burton # 855 2 0 10

8

Ross Chastain 1,011 0 2 2
9 Michael Annett 769 0 0 0 Clinched On Points
10 Riley Herbst # 644 0 0 0
11 Ryan Sieg 616 0 2 2
12 Brandon Brown 537 0 0 0 49
13 Jeremy Clements 488 0 0 0 -49
14 Myatt Snider # 449 0 0 0 -88
15 Alex Labbe 438 0 0 0 -99
16 Josh Williams 435 0 0 0 -102

Past Bristol performances

With the Xfinity Series Playoffs grid set minus one spot, let’s take a look at the drivers who still have a chance to make the Playoffs this weekend at Bristol.

Brandon Brown has four starts at Bristol with a best finish of seventh coming at the race earlier this season. He has an average start of 24.5 and an average finish of 16.8.

Jeremy Clements is one of the veteran drivers with the most experience at Bristol. Friday will mark his 21st start at the track. In his last two starts, Clements has finished eighth (2020) and fourth (2019). In total, he has one top fives and three top 10s. He has an average start of 20.4 and an average finish of 19.9.

Myatt Snider’s first and only start at the track was earlier this season and for Richard Childress Racing. He started 22nd and finished fifth.

Alex Labbe will make his fifth start on Friday night. He has a best finish of 11th in 2018 and most recently finished 33rd due to an overheating issue. He has an average start of 21.5 and an average finish of 24.5.

Josh Williams has six starts at Bristol in his Xfinity Series career. He has a best finish of ninth that came earlier this season at Bristol. In all, he has one top 10 and an average finish of 21.7.

Those drivers are all currently ranked 12th-16th in the Playoffs standings.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Sam Mayer reuniting with JRM: JR Motorsports announced that Sam Mayer, who used to run in their Late Model program, and 2019 ARCA Menards Series East champion, will reunite with JRM to begin the next part of his racing career. He will race for JRM in the second half of the 2021 season before taking the reins fulltime in 2022. Mayer is only 17 right now.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

The 2020 Gander Trucks Playoffs begin!

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 2020 Playoffs begin on Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway for the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics. The 2020 Playoffs field was set after last weekend’s race Richmond and there are now 10 drivers vying for the title at Phoenix Raceway.

As the regular season wrapped up last weekend at Richmond Raceway, Grant Enfinger took home another victory for with ThorSport Racing.

The 10 drivers competing for postseason glory are Sheldon Creed, Austin Hill, Zane Smith, Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Christian Eckes, Todd Gilliland and Tyler Ankrum.

Enfinger will lead the field to green on Thursday night with Brett Moffitt joining him on the front row.

The Gander Trucks race will be 106.6 miles and 200 laps. Stage 1 will end on Lap 55 and Stage 2 will end on Lap 110.

2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoff Driver Bios:

1. Sheldon Creed – No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado

Date of Birth: September 30, 1997

Hometown: Alpine, California

Organization: GMS Racing
Crew Chief: Jeff Stankiewicz
2020 Wins: 3 (Kentucky, Daytona RC and Gateway)
Playoff Points: 26

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked No. 1 in the Playoff standings with 2,026 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Creed has posted three wins, five top fives and eight top 10s.
  • Has won five stages and has accumulated 26 Playoff points.
  • Has led 204 of 1,851 laps completed (11%)
  • 2020 average starting position, 8.3 and average finishing position, 12.3.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season is the first time Sheldon Creed has qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs.
  • In 2019, he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ultimately finishing the season 10th in the final standings.
  • In 2018, he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs because he only competed in five series races that season. He finished 33rd in the final standings.
  • Made just one series start in 2017 at Eldora Speedway for truck owner Bryan Hill.
  • Made NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut in 2016 at Eldora Speedway driving for truck owner Bobby Dotter.

2. Austin Hill – No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota Tundra

Date of Birth: April 24, 1994
Hometown: Winston, Georgia

Organization: Hattori Racing Enterprises

Crew Chief: Scott Zipadelli
2020 Wins: 1 (Kansas)
Playoff Points: 22

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked second in the Playoff standings with 2,022 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Hill has put up one win, eight top fives and 13 top 10s.
  • Has two stage wins this season and has accumulated 22 Playoff points.
  • Has led 219 of 1,815 laps completed (12%)
  • 2020 average starting position, 5.5 and average finishing position, 6.8.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season is the second time Austin Hill has made the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs (2019-2020).
  • In 2019, in his first season with Hattori Racing Enterprises, Hill made the Playoffs and posted two wins (Las Vegas, Miami) and finished the season a career-best fifth in the final standings after being eliminated in the Round of 6.
  • In his first full season (2018) in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driving for Young’s Motorsports Hill failed to make Playoffs, ultimately finishing the season 11th in the championship points.
  • In 2016 and 2017, he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs due to only running a part-time schedule; he finished 26th and 23rd in the championship standings, respectively.
  • Note: The No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises team won the 2018 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver and owner championships with driver Brett Moffit.

3. Zane Smith – No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado

Date of Birth: June 9, 1999
Hometown: Huntington Beach, California
Organization: GMS Racing
Crew Chief: Kevin Manion
2020 Wins: 2 (Michigan and Dover)
Playoff Points: 22

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked third in the Playoff standings with 2,022 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Smith has posted two wins, four top fives and nine top 10s.
  • Has won four stages and accumulated 22 Playoff points.
  • Has led 227 of 1,757 laps completed (12.9%)
  • 2020 average starting position, 7.7 and average finishing position, 10.3.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season is the first time Zane Smith has qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs.
  • He made his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut in 2018 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway driving for truck owner David Gilliland.
  • Smith becomes just the seventh different Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs; joining Christopher Bell (2016), William Bryon (2016), Austin Cindric (2017), Chase Briscoe (2017), Kaz Grala (2017) and Tyler Ankrum (2019). Cindric and Bell are tied for the best championship finish by a rookie in the Playoff Era (2016-Present) – they both finished third in points.

4. Brett Moffitt – No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado

Date of Birth: August 7, 1992

Hometown: Grimes, Iowa

Organization: GMS Racing

Crew Chief: Chad Norris
2020 Wins: 0
Playoff Points: 15

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked fourth in the Playoff standings with 2,015 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Moffitt has posted six top fives and 10 top 10s.
  • Has won five stages and has accumulated 15 Playoff points.
  • Has led 213 of 1,721 laps completed (12.3%).
  • 2020 average starting position, 5.9 and average finishing position, 10.1.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season marks the third time Brett Moffitt has made the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs. (2018-2020).
  • In 2019, he made the Playoffs and won the first two races of the postseason (Bristol and CTMP). He advanced all the way to the Championship 4 round for the second consecutive season, ultimately finishing third in the final championship standings.
  • The 2018 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series champion. In the seven Playoff races of 2018, he posted two wins (Phoenix and Homestead-Miami) and five top fives on his way to the Championship 4 round and winning his first career Gander Trucks championship.
  • In 2016 and 2017 he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs due to only running part-time schedules; he finished 27th and 31st in the championship standings, respectively.

5. Grant Enfinger – No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150

Date of Birth: January 22, 1985

Hometown: Fairhope, Alabama

Organization: ThorSport Racing

Crew Chief: Jeff Hensley
2020 Wins: 2 (Daytona and Atlanta)
Playoff Points: 14

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked fifth in the Playoff standings with 2,014 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Enfinger has posted two wins, five top fives and eight top 10s.
  • Has one stage win and has accumulated 14 Playoff points.
  • Has led 86 of 1,827 laps completed (4.7%)
  • 2020 average starting position, 8.1 and average finishing position, 10.9.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season marks the third time Grant Enfinger has qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs (2018-2020).
  • In 2019, he made the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, he posted three top fives and five top 10s during the postseason and advanced to the Round of 6 for the second consecutive year, ultimately finishing the season seventh in the standings.
  • In the seven Playoff races of 2018, he posted one win (Las Vegas) and three top fives and ultimately finished the season a career-best fifth in the championship standings after being eliminated in the Round of 6.
  • In 2017, he failed to make the Gander Trucks Playoffs in his first full season in the series; he finished the year 11th in the championship standings.
  • In 2016, he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs due to only running a part-time schedule (eight starts); he finished 22nd in the championship standings and won the Talladega Playoff race.

6. Ben Rhodes – No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150

Date of Birth: February 21, 1997

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

Organization: ThorSport Racing

Crew Chief: Matt Noyce
2020 Wins: 1 (Darlington)
Playoff Points: 12

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked sixth in the Playoff standings with 2,012 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season Rhodes has posted one win, six top fives and 10 top 10s.
  • Has yet to win a stage but has accumulated 12 Playoff points.
  • Has led 34 of 1,866 laps completed (1.8%)
  • 2020 average starting position, 7.9 and average finishing position, 9.1.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season marks the third time he has qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs (2017, 2018 and 2020).
  • In 2019, he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, ultimately finishing the season ninth in the final standings.
  • In 2018, he qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs and posted three top fives and five top 10s, but was eliminated in the Round of 8, ultimately finishing the season eighth in the final standings.
  • In 2017, he qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs and won the second race of the postseason (Las Vegas). He advanced to the Round of 6 and finished the season a career-best fifth in the championship standings.
  • In 2016, he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, ultimately finishing the season 14th in the final standings.

7. Matt Crafton – No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150

Date of Birth: June 11, 1976

Hometown: Tulare, California

Organization: ThorSport Racing

Crew Chief: Carl Joiner Jr.
2020 Wins: 1 (Kansas)
Playoff Points: 9

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked seventh in the Playoff standings with 2,009 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Crafton has posted one win, seven top fives, eight top 10s.
  • Has yet to win a stage but has accumulated nine Playoff points.
  • Has led 43 of 1,788 laps completed (2.4%)
  • 2020 average starting position, 10.9 and average finishing position, 12.2.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season marks the fifth consecutive time he has qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs. He is a three-time series champion (2013, 2014 and 2019).
  • In the 2019 Playoffs, he posted one top five (runner-up in season finale) and four top 10s, en route to the Championship 4 round and ultimately his third Gander Trucks championship.
  • In the 2018 Playoffs, he posted two top fives and four top 10s, but ultimately finished the season sixth in the championship standings after being eliminated in the Round of 6.
  • In the 2017 Playoffs, he posted one top five and six top 10s on his way to the Championship 4 for the second time in his career. He ultimately finished the season fourth in the championship standings.
  • In the 2016 Playoffs, he posted three top fives and five top 10s on his way to the Championship
  • He ultimately finished the season runner-up to Johnny Sauter in the final standings.

8. Christin Eckes – No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra

Date of Birth: November 10, 2000

Hometown: Middletown, New York

Organization: Kyle Busch Motorsports

Crew Chief: Jeff Stankiewicz
2020 Wins: 0
Playoff Points: 5

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked eighth in the Playoff standings with 2,005 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Eckes has posted five top fives and seven top 10s.
  • Has yet to win a stage but has accumulated five Playoff points.
  • Has led 161 of 1,819 laps completed (8.8%)
  • 2020 average starting position, 5.0 and average finishing position, 12.5.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season is the first time Christian Eckes has qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs.
  • Competed in a part-time Gander Trucks schedule in 2019 making eight starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
  • Made NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut in 2018 running just four races for Kyle Busch Motorsports
  • Eckes joins Zane Smith this season as just the eighth different Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs; joining Christopher Bell (2016), William Bryon (2016), Austin Cindric (2017), Chase Briscoe (2017), Kaz Grala (2017) and Tyler Ankrum (2019). Cindric and Bell are tied for the best championship finish by a rookie in the Playoff Era (2016-Present) – they both finished third in points.

9. Todd Gilliland – No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford F-150

Date of Birth: May 15, 2000
Hometown: Sherrills Ford, North Carolina
Organization: Front Row Motorsports
Crew Chief: Chris Lawson
2020 Wins: 0
Playoff Points: 3

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked ninth in the Playoff standings with 2,003 points.
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Gilliland has posted four top fives and nine top 10s.
  • Has won two stages and has accumulated three Playoff points.
  • Has led 92 of 1,814 laps completed (5.1%)
  • 2020 average starting position, 12.3 and average finishing position, 14.3.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season is the first time Todd Gilliland has qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs.
  • In 2019, he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, ultimately finishing the season 11th in the final standings.
  • In 2018, he failed to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, ultimately finishing the season a career-best 10th in the final standings.
  • Made NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut in 2017 making six starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

10. Tyler Ankrum – No. 26 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado

Date of Birth: April 24, 1994

Hometown: San Bernardino, California

Organization: GMS Racing
Crew Chief: Chad Walter
2020 Wins: 0
Playoff Points: 2

2020 Season Stats:

  • Enters the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs ranked 10th in the Playoff standings with 2,002 points
  • Through the first 16 races of the season, Ankrum has posted two top fives and six top 10s
  • Has yet to win a stage in 2020 but he has accumulated two Playoff points.
  • Has led 1 of 1,802 laps completed.
  • 2020 average starting position, 9.1 and average finishing position, 13.3.

Previous Gander Trucks Playoff Stats:

  • The 2020 season marks the second time Tyler Ankrum has qualified for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs.
  • In the 2019 Gander Trucks Playoffs, he posted two top 10s, but ultimately finished the season eighth in the championship standings after being eliminated in the Round of 6.
  • In 2018, he made his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut making two series starts for truck owner David Gilliland.
  • Ankrum became the sixth different Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to make the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs in 2019; joining Christopher Bell (2016), William Bryon (2016), Austin Cindric (2017), Chase Briscoe (2017) and Kaz Grala (2017). Cindric and Bell are tied for the best championship finish by a rookie in the Playoff Era (2016-Present) – they both finished third in points.

Playoff driver numbers at Bristol

Here’s a look at how the Playoff drivers have fared at Bristol:

Sheldon Creed made one start at Bristol last year and started 24th and finished sixth for GMS Racing.

Austin Hill will make his fifth start at Bristol on Thursday night. He has one top 10 in those starts coming last season. He started eighth and finished 10th.

Zane Smith has never made a start at Bristol in his career. Thursday night will be his debut.

Brett Moffitt has made three starts in his career at the track. He started from the pole in 2019 and won the race. He has one win, five top fives and two top 10s in three starts. He has an average start of 7.7 and an average finish of 7.0.

Grant Enfinger will make his fourth start on Thursday night. He has two top fives and three top 10s at Bristol. His best finish was fourth in 2017. In 2019, he finished fifth.

Ben Rhodes has five starts at the track with one top fives and four top 10s. His best finish of fifth was in 2017. However, he hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in his last three starts. He has an average stat of 5.6 and average finish of 11.8.

Matt Crafton will make his 18th start on Thursday. He has four top fives and 11 top 10s to his name. He’s led 129 lap and has an average finish of 10.5. Last season, he finished seventh. On two occasions, he has finished second (2009, 2017).

Christian Eckes will make his track debut this weekend.

Todd Gilliland will make his third start at Bristol. He has one top five and one top 10. Last season, he finished ninth and in 2018, he finished fifth. He has an average finish of 7.0.

Tyler Ankrum has made one start at Bristol and it was last season. He started fifth but finished 20th.

Camping World returns

NASCAR and Camping World announced this week that after leveraging the series entitlement position to support the launch of the Gander RV & Outdoors brand, Camping World will transition back to the series partner beginning in 2021.

The series will once again be called the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis broke the news and released the new series logo on social media.

— NASCAR —