By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series visited Iowa Speedway, Erik Jones took home the victory. There are no NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars entered into this weekend’s Truck Series race, but several NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars will be in the field.
Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters are the only former Iowa Speedway winners in the field.
Truck Series Chase
Seven races into the 2016 Camping World Truck Series Season, there have been five different winners. Only one of those winners, Kyle Busch, is not eligible for the Truck Series Chase. Matt Crafton, William Byron, John Hunter Nemechek, and Johnny Sauter have all won at least one race, and are likely to be in the Chase thanks to those wins. Byron and Crafton, who both have two wins, have likely boosted their odds of locking themselves into the Truck Series Chase. The reason why no driver is locked in as of now is the fact that only eight drivers will make the Truck Series Chase, and with nearly half of the regular season left, there is strong possibility of more than eight winners.
The other drivers currently in the Chase on points are Timothy Peters, Daniel Hemric, Spencer Gallagher, and Tyler Reddick.
Earlier this week, there was a fire at the ThorSport Racing shop in Sandusky, Ohio. ThorSport fields trucks for Ben Rhodes, Cameron Hayley, Matt Crafton, and Rico Abreu. The fire heavily damaged the shop, and nearly half of the 100,000 square foot facility was lost. The haulers and trucks for Iowa had already left the shop. In total, 15 of the team’s 18 truck fleet were saved. Several of the team’s trucks were pushed out of the smoke-engulfed shop by firefighters.
Fellow Toyota team Kyle Busch Motorsports has offered assistance to ThorSport, ranging from parts and pieces, to a place to work. Several other Truck Series teams have also offered assistance.
Despite the fire, ThorSport Racing is still planning on fielding all four of its truck teams in this weekend’s race at Iowa.
What to Watch For
There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:
- With no Cup Series regulars in the field which Camping World Truck Series regular will step up to contend for the win?
- Many Truck Series regulars are looking at scoring their first win of the season and to lock themselves into the Truck Series Chase, while those with a win are looking for more security with their Chase position.
- Cole Custer will have a new crew chief, Marcus Richmond, this weekend.
- German Quiroga returns to the No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra, filling in for an injured Matt Tifft.
- Ben Kennedy continues his tenure at GMS Racing in the No. 33 Wheelwell Chevrolet Silverado.
- Kaz Grala returns to GMS Racing’s No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado as he attempts to make his third career start.
- Daniel Suarez is back in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 ARRIS Toyota Tundra for his sixth start of the season.
- Brandon Jones will be in the Contreras Motorsports No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado for the third time this season.
- Nick Drake will be making his second career start in the Truck Series, driving the JR Motorsports No. 49 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado.
- Derek Scott, Jr. will be making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in the No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chervolet Silverado. With Tyler Young not entered in this week’s race, he will no longer be eligible to make the Chase. Young was 18 points behind the Chase cut-off.
- Ben Kennedy will also be in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race this weekend, will the extra seat time in practice before the race pay off?
- Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender William Byron looks to increase his 46 point lead on teammate Christopher Bell. Meanwhile, Cole Custer, Ben Rhodes, and Rico Abreu continue to try to gain ground on the rookie point leaders.
- Points leader Matt Crafton is looking to extend his championship points lead even further over Timothy Peters.