NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck News & Notes – Charlotte Motor Speedway

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Next Race: North Carolina Education Lottery 200
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Tuesday, May 26
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)
2019 Winner: Kyle Busch

Charlotte awaits the Gander Trucks

After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a two-week break in the schedule prior to the pause in sports, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will be back in action on Tuesday, May 26 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

The event will be the third of the 2020 season for the Gander Trucks and the 18th for the series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, located in Concord, North Carolina. The 17 previous series races at the 1.5-mile speedway have produced 10 different poles winners, led by Kyle Busch and Mike Skinner with three each. And eight different winners, led by Kyle Busch with eight victories.

 

To kick off the year, Grant Enfinger secured the season-opening win at Daytona International Speedway and Kyle Busch returned to the series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and took home the checkered flag.

 

Last season, Kyle Busch dominated the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway leading 102 of the scheduled 134 laps (76%) and winning his eighth series career race at the track.

 

Points on points on points
Although the series is only two races into the season for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks, taking a look at the driver point standings shows us who has been on top of their game since the start of the season.

 

Hattori Racing Enterprises driver Austin Hill leads the driver standings with 82 points, nine markers up on second-place Johnny Sauter. Hill has one top five and two top 10s in the first two races of the season and has led 11 laps.

 

Veteran ThorSport Racing driver Sauter is right in Hill’s rearview mirror in second in the Gander Trucks driver standings with 73 points. He also has one top five and two top 10s on the year.

 

Ben Rhodes sits in third in the series driver standings, 22 points back from driver standings lead, with one top-five finish this season. Rhodes gained a massive 16 spots in the standings after Vegas, and is now just 13 points behind second-place Sauter.

 

GMS Racing’s Brett Moffitt, the 2018 series champion, is in fourth in the Gander Trucks driver standings following Las Vegas with 59 points, 23 back from Austin Hill in the standings lead.

 

Moffitt’s GMS Racing teammate Sheldon Creed rounds out the top five in the standings with two top-10 performances in as many races. He has accumulated 58 points this season, 24 back from Hill and just one back from Moffitt.

 

Looking ahead to the first race back at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Hill will have his work cut out for him to hold on to the standings lead as of the top five in points, Rhodes has the best average finish on the 1.54-mile track with a 4.8; followed by Moffitt (5.3), Creed (12.0), Sauter (12.1) and Hill (13.8).

 

Rookie Battle update: Zane Smith out front early

We’re only two races into the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 2020 season, but here’s how the top three drivers in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings are faring thus far.

NGROTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings
Rookies Points Awards
Zane Smith 57 1
Christian Eckes 55 0
Derek Kraus 48 1
Tanner Gray 44 0
Raphael Lessard 39 0
Ty Majeski 29 0
Spencer Davis 25 0
Tate Fogleman 25 0

 

GMS Racing’s Zane Smith stands atop the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 58 points; sixth in the Gander Trucks driver points after one top-10 finish in two starts this season.

 

Two points behind Smith is Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christian Eckes in second in the rookie points and eighth in the Gander Truck driver standings. And seven points back from Eckes is McAnally Hilgemann Racing’s Derek Kraus in third in the rookie standings and 15th in the series driver standings.

 

Smith and Kraus are the first two drivers to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Race awards in 2020.

 

Smith opened 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.

 

Eckes has had a slow 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 late in the race.

 

Kraus has had mixed results too in 2020, finishing fourth at Daytona and 22nd at Las Vegas due to an incident on the third lap of the race and was unable to work his way back to the front of the field.

 

Brett Moffitt returns to racing after dirt-bike accident

Coming off an unscheduled two-month hiatus is tough on any driver in any series. But, for Brett Moffitt, it was even harder as he was recovering from a dirt-bike accident that broke both of his legs.

 

Moffitt endured a tough recovery after extensive surgery during which metal rods were inserted to help heal both of his fractured femurs, and kept left him in the hospital for three days.

 

The 27-year-old fulltime NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver made his first start back in Thursday’s Xfinity Series race at Darlington for Our Motorsports.

 

 

The 2018 champion is currently fourth in the championship points standings for GMS Racing, 23 points behind series leader Austin Hill. The season didn’t start out extremely strong for him, finishing 13th in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway and 16th at the second and most recent Gander Trucks race at Las Vegas.

 

All Out Motorsports honoring nursing home caregivers
Korbin Forrister and the No. 7 All Out Motorsports Toyota team has partnered with the America Health Care Association, Georgia Health Care Association, North Carolina Association of Health Care Facilities and the Florida Health Care Association to show support for nursing home caregivers who are dedicating their time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team wanted to use their platform to send a message of support for the selfless individuals and honor their hard work.

Hattori Racing Enterprises, Austin Hill honoring Armed Forces at Charlotte

The No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra of Austin Hill and Hattori Racing Enterprises will be wrapped in a different paint scheme this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, Hill’s No. 16 Toyota will sport a patriotic, American-flag colored scheme to salute and honor current and former members of the Armed Forces.

 

United Rentals has been a longtime supporter of veterans and is ranking seventh on the G.I. Jobs list of the top 100 military friendly employers.

 

“It’s going to be a great feeling when we get back to business at the track, and to have this paint scheme honoring the veteran employees at United Rentals and everyone who has served in the military will make it extra special,” Hill said of his paint scheme for Charlotte.

 

“We’ve been fortunate to have a close relationship with United Rentals for a while and this is a small way that we can say ‘thank you’ to those folks who sacrificed and served our country.”

 

Hill will lead the field to green on Tuesday night for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the first race back for the series in over two and a half months. Hill currently leads the championship points standings by nine points over series veteran Johnny Sauter.

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway Fast Facts: Gander Trucks

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval with 24-degree banking in corners and five-degree banking on straights. The frontstretch is 1,980 feet and the backstretch is 1,500 feet.

 

Kyle Busch holds the Gander Trucks qualifying record at the track at a speed of 183.773 mph on May 16, 2014. Matt Crafton holds the series race record at the track at 141.855 mph on May 21, 2016.

 

Busch also leads the record books with the most wins (eight), most poles (3, tied with Mike Skinner) and top fives (11). The most lead changes in a Gander Trucks race at Charlotte was last season with 19 and the fewest came in 2014.

 

Chevrolet has the most wins by a manufacturer with nine at Charlotte Motor Speedway and three of the 17 Gander Trucks races run at the track were won from the pole.

 

There have only been eight different race winners at the track and 10 different pole winners.

 

Competition updates for Gander Trucks

NASCAR officials announced that the field size for the Gander Trucks series will be temporarily expanded to a maximum of 40 vehicles. This change is in effect for events scheduled without qualifying.

 

The temporary procedure change increases the field from the usual 32 trucks to 40. For Gander Trucks series points, first place will continue to earn 40 points with five points for 32nd (formerly last). Teams finished 33rd through 40th in the expanded field will each receive five points.

 

Pit selection for the Gander Trucks will be based on the Las Vegas qualifying results.

 

The starting lineup will be chosen as follows:

  • Positions 1 -10:  The first 10 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up Eligibility will be assigned starting positions 1st – 10th using a random draw.
  • Positions 11 – 21:  The next 11 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 11- 21 using a random draw.
  • positions 22 – 32: The next 11 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 22nd – 32nd using a random draw.
  • Any vehicles that are eligible for the Event in position 33rd – 40th will be assigned starting positions based on their order of eligibility.

The order of eligibility for positions 1-27 will be based on 2019 owner points and 28-20 will be based on 2020 owner points.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Etc.

Packed lineup for Niece Motorsports: Niece Motorsports is heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday with a hefty lineup. Ty Majeski, who runs fulltime for the team, will be behind the wheel of the No. 45 Chevrolet. Also joining him is Natalie Decker, who runs a part-time schedule for the team and was not originally planning to run Charlotte. She will pilot the No. 44. It will be a happy homecoming for Ross Chastain who is coming back to Niece Motorsports to run the No. 42 Circle Track Warehouse/Florida Watermelon Association Chevrolet. The team also just announced that Garrett Smithley will pilot the fourth truck for the team. He’ll make his Niece Motorsports debut at Charlotte in the No. 40 Chevrolet.

 

CMI Motorsports adds new driver: CMI Motorsports announced that TJ Bell will make his team debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the No. 49 CMI Properties/Springrates Chevrolet. Bell has experience in the series over the last 15 years. He’s made 118 starts with one top five and 13 top 10s. He made three starts last season and finished 26th at Kansas Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

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