2019 NASCAR Truck Series playoff grid set

by Justin Nguyen

Eight drivers will compete for the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship. After Austin Hill took his second win of the year in Saturday’s Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway, he and seven other drivers became playoff drivers after a sixteen-race regular season.

Reigning series champion Brett Moffitt was second in the standings, but playoff seeding will make him the leader with 2,022 points. In his first season with GMS Racing, he recorded two wins at Iowa Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway, nine top-five finishes, eleven top tens, and a pole.

Despite not winning a race, Grant Enfinger became the regular season points champion with a campaign that saw seven top fives, top tens in all but three races, and two poles. His best finish is second in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. He will have 2,019 points entering the playoffs.

Stewart Friesen won his first career Truck Series event in the penultimate regular season race at Eldora Speedway to lock himself into the playoffs. The Canadian also had nine top fives, eleven top tens, and a pole. He has 2,014 points.

Hill and Ross Chastain are tied with 2,012 points. In his first year with Hattori Racing Enterprises as Moffitt’s replacement, Hill had a two-win campaign with four top fives, eight top tens, and two poles.

Chastain began the season racing in the Xfinity Series standings before switching to Truck points, figuring the decision would give him a better chance to win a title. With two more victories to add to a three-win year (excluding a disqualification after winning at Iowa) and top tens in all but three events, Chastain worked into playoff eligibility.

Former series champions and ThorSport Racing team-mates Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter tail with 2,012 and 2,011 points, respectively. Crafton, who has not won a race since 2017, has enjoyed consistency with a series-best fourteen top tens. Sauter was suspended one race for an incident at Iowa with Hill, but a win at Dover International Speedway guaranteed him a spot in the playoffs; he has three top fives and seven top tens in his first season back with ThorSport.

2,005-point driver Tyler Ankrum is the youngest member of the playoff grid at 18 years of age. After missing the first three races due to age restrictions, he experienced a tumultuous regular season with DGR-Crosley that saw him start-and-park for two races with NEMCO Motorsports in order to maintain playoff eligibility. A win at Kentucky Speedway secured him a ticket to the playoffs.

The 2019 Truck playoffs will begin with the Round of 8 consisting of races at Bristol Motor Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Talladega Superspeedway, Martinsville Speedway, and ISM Raceway comprise the Round of 6, while Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the Championship Round for the final time.

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