Front Row Motorsport’s Todd Gilliland and Ford join 2021 winners list
As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its debut at Circuit of the Americas last weekend, Front Row Motorsport’s driver Todd Gilliland and Ford joined the list of 2021 race winners as they captured the victory in the first NASCAR national series ever run on the 20-turn road course in Austin, Texas.
The victory in the rain-soaked race not only got Gilliland the trophy but also the second $50,000 bonus in the 2021 edition of the Triple Truck Challenge presented by Womply. Sheldon Creed won the opening round at Darlington.
Gilliland became the sixth different winner in nine races this season – Ben Rhodes, John Hunter Nemechek and Kyle Busch each have two wins, Martin Truex Jr. and Sheldon Creed each have one. And the win was Ford’s first of the year after Toyota won the opening seven races before Chevrolet ended the streak at Darlington.
It was the first win for Gilliland since Martinsville in October of 2019, and the first win for Ford since Grant Enfinger won at Martinsville in October of last year.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: North Carolina Education Lottery 200
The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, May 28
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 8 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)
Camping World Trucks take on the Queen City
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a Friday night showdown under the lights to kick off the traditional Memorial Day weekend of racing with the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
This weekend marks the 20th time the trucks have taken on the 1.5-mile oval. Ted Musgrave won the inaugural race in 2003, and Kyle Busch leads all drivers with eight wins in 14 starts at the track. Matt Crafton is the only active driver with multiple wins (two – 2008, 2016) at the track. (Ron Hornaday Jr. also has a pair of wins at Charlotte.)
Johnny Sauter (2018) is the only other previous winner who is entered in this weekend’s race.
Hornaday is the only driver to have won at Charlotte and then gone on to win the series championship that year – and he did it twice in 2007 and 2009.
The Camping World Truck Series will hold practice and qualifying sessions for the second week in a row, with all on-track activity taking place on Friday. There are currently 40 trucks entered to contend for 36 spots on the starting grid.
Taking an early look at the Playoff picture
With nine races down and six to go in the regular season, John Hunter Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Sheldon Creed and Todd Gilliland have all secured spots in the Playoffs by virtue of wins. That currently leaves six spots filled by points.
Former Charlotte winner Johnny Sauter holds the 10th and final spot based on points, 16 points ahead of Austin Wayne Self, who is the first driver on the outside looking in.
Another previous Charlotte winner, Matt Crafton, is currently sixth on the Playoff grid, comfortably in position to advance to the postseason.
The remainder of the field currently in the Playoff picture (Austin Hill – fourth on the grid, Zane Smith – seventh, Stewart Friesen – eighth, Carson Hocevar – ninth) are all looking for their first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Although Grant Enfinger is currently seventh overall in points, he’s not eligible for the Playoffs after missing the race at the Daytona Road Course early in the season.
Hill has four starts at Charlotte with a pair of top-10 finishes in his last two races (sixth in 2019, ninth last year). Smith has one start, last season, and finished third in his track debut. Friesen has also cracked the top 10 twice in his four starts – placing sixth in 2018 and third in 2019, while Sunoco Rookie points leader Hocevar will be making his track debut this weekend.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.
Triple Truck Challenge Presented by Womply: Sheldon Creed won the opening round of the Triple Truck Challenge this season at Darlington Raceway, netting a $50,000 bonus. This marked Creed’s third Triple Truck Challenge victory after winning the bonus last year at Daytona and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Todd Gilliland followed that up by winning the second leg of the bonus program last weekend at Circuit of the America. The 2021 edition of the Triple Truck Challenge presented by Womply wraps up on Friday night at Charlotte.
Sunoco Rookie Update: Coming out of COTA, Carson Hocevar extended his lead to 45 points over second-place Chandler Smith (225 to 180). Hocevar finished seventh in the rainy race last weekend, while Smith placed 33rd. Hailie Deegan is in third with 154 points after finishing 14th in Austin, while Chase Purdy has 103 points in fourth (he finished 27th at COTA) and Kris Wright is in fifth with 44 points. Wright has only competed in five of the nine races this season, most recently at Darlington, but he is entered this weekend at Charlotte.
Deegan at Charlotte: Team DGR’s Hailie Deegan will become the eighth different female competitor in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to make a start at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. The best starting position by a female competitor in the Xfinity Series at Charlotte is second by Erin Crocker in 2006. The best finish by a female in the Xfinity Series at Charlotte is 13th by Tina Gordon in 2003; she started 33rd.