Next Race: Georgia 200
The Place: Atlanta Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, March 14
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 200.02 miles (130 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 130)
2019 Winner: Kyle Busch
Home sweet Las Vegas
The second race of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series did not disappoint. And it was a happy homecoming for Kyle Busch, who has won the last three races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway he has entered.
Busch, a Las Vegas native, dominated the race, leading 108 of 134 laps in the No. 51 Toyota.
Veteran ThorSport Racing driver Johnny Sauter won the Cometic Gasket Pole Award and finished right behind Busch in second at the checkered flag. It was Sauter’s ninth career pole and first since the 2018 Texas race.
In fact, ThorSport Racing had a pretty solid race overall in the Las Vegas desert, as three of their four drivers finished in the top five. In addition to Sauter finishing second, Matt Crafton was fourth and Ben Rhodes was fifth.
Zane Smith’s sixth-place finish made him the highest-finishing Sunoco Rookie in the field, and Tanner Gray also had a top-10 performance, placing eighth.
The Gander Trucks have two weeks off before their next stop at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 14 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Although we’re only two races into the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 2020 season, let’s take a look at the rookie of the year battle as of now.
Zane Smith is currently leading the rookies in sixth place with 58 points. Christian Eckes stands in eighth while Derek Kraus lines up 15th in the standings and Tanner Gray is in 17th. Raphael Lessard is 18th, Ty Majeski is 21st, Spencer Davis is 24th and Tate Fogleman is 25th.
Smith opened up the season strong with an 11th-place finish at Daytona and a sixth-place finish at Las Vegas. He has completed 100% of laps attempted and has earned an average finish of 8.5. As he currently leads the points standings for rookies in the No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet, Smith will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway, making his debut at the track.
Eckes hasn’t had such a strong start to the season, finishing 22nd at Daytona and 23rd at Las Vegas. The driver of the No. 18 Toyota was competing hard with his owner (and teammate) during the race at Las Vegas but ended up suffering from penalties and being involved in an incident later on in the race. He’ll also make his debut at Atlanta in two weeks along with Smith.
Kraus has had mixed results to 2020, finishing fourth at Daytona and 22nd at Las Vegas. At Las Vegas, Kraus was involved in an incident on the third lap of the race and was unable to work his way back to the front of the field.
Gray had a career-best finish of eighth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the rookie finished 23rd at Daytona. Gray has also never made a start at Atlanta in the Truck Series, but he will have some positivity from a good performance at Las Vegas on his side.
Lessard, Majeski, David and Fogleman have had a rougher start to the season between being involved in wrecks and penalties.
Atlanta awaits after two-week break
As the west coast swing finishes out for the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will be back in action in two weeks just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, to start out a three-race stretch for the series.
The event on Saturday, March 14th will be the 19th race for the Gander Trucks at the 1.54-mile track, the first being on March 13, 2004. Bobby Hamilton started 12th in a Dodge and won the inaugural race.
Matt Crafton will make his 19th start at Atlanta, the most of any active driver in the series. Behind him is Kyle Busch, who will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Toyota, with 11 previous starts. Busch has dominated at Atlanta, winning five of the 18 races run at the track. He’s the only driver to have won back-to-back races (2007-2008) at the track. He also won the most recent race last season.
Only five drivers in history have won the race at Atlanta from the pole and twice a driver has won from the 18th starting position.
A Toyota has won the last three years and in total has eight victories. Dodge has the one win from the inaugural race and Chevrolet has nine wins.
In 2018, Brett Moffitt won at Atlanta and went on to with the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Championship.
Drivers that won for the first time at Atlanta Motor Speedway and won the championship in the same year:
Bobby Hamilton – 2004
Todd Bodine – 2006
Christopher Bell – 2017
Brett Moffitt – 2018