The 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series playoffs are set. With the conclusion of Thursday night’s Richmond Raceway event came the end of the regular season. Over the next seven races, ten drivers will fight for the title.
Unlike previous years, the Truck playoff grid was expanded to ten drivers for 2020 from eight.
Under a traditional points system, Sheldon Creed would hypothetically be fifth. Under the NASCAR playoff system, he is the points leader. It has been a strong sophomore year for the two-time Stadium Super Trucks champion and 2018 ARCA title winner as he scored his maiden NASCAR victory in a lightning-shortened event at Kentucky in July. Two more wins came on the inaugural Daytona road course race a month later, followed by a third triumph at Gateway a few weeks later. Creed heads into the playoffs with three wins, five top fives, eight top tens. After barely missing out on the 2019 playoffs, he enters 2020 with 2,026 points.
Creed’s GMS Racing team-mate Zane Smith is enjoying a solid rookie season with wins at Michigan and Dover. Smith, who also dabbled in SST with Creed the day after his maiden Truck win at Michigan in August, has four top fives and nine top tens. He is four points behind Creed after reseeding.
Austin Hill, in his third full season of Truck racing and second with Hattori Racing Enterprises, carries the season-long momentum into the playoffs. With a win at Kansas 1 in July to go with series bests in top fives (eight) and top tens (fourteen), he enters the postseason as the regular season champion and the third seed, tied with Smith with 2,022 points. He finished fifth in his first playoffs in 2019.
Last year, regular season champion Grant Enfinger‘s playoff literally went up ib smoke when he was eliminated after the first round with an engine failure. For 2020, he bounced back with three wins in the opener at Daytona, Atlanta, and the finale at Richmond for his first trips to Victory Lane since 2018. Enfinger enters the playoffs with six top fives , nine top tens, and 2,019 points.
2018 series champion Brett Moffitt was unable to score a race win in the regular season, but consistency secured him seven top fives, eleven top tens, and a best finish of second on three occasions (Kansas, Daytona RC, Gateway). Although he gets reseeded to fifth with 2,015 points, he was second in points during the regular season. It had been an unusual season for all of NASCAR, but Moffitt in particular had a bizarre spring, breaking his legs in a motocross accident during the season pause by COVID-19 before returning in time for the restart in May without missing a race.
Last Sunday, Ben Rhodes won his first race since 2018 after holding on to the lead in overtime at Darlington. Interestingly, his top tens and fives mirror Moffitt’s with eleven and seven, respectively. His points entering the playoffs are just one behind Moffitt at 2,014. After falling short in 2019, Rhodes will compete in his third postseason.
Three-time and defending champion Matt Crafton finally broke through for his first win since 2017 when he scored the victory at Kansas 2. After spending the first half of the regular season in the teens, he climbed into the top ten and ends the stretch with nine top tens and eight top fives. He will have 2,009 points.
Rookie Christian Eckes is the lone playoff representative for Kyle Busch Motorsports after making it on points. Despite a slow start to the season, he recorded seven top tens and five top fives with a trio of runner-up finishes (Texas, Kansas 2, Michigan). Eckes begins the playoffs with 2,005 points.
Todd Gilliland, in his first season with Front Row Motorsports, missed the 2019 playoffs but rebounded with a nine-top ten, four-top five campaign. He enters the playoffs with 2,003 points.
The tenth and final playoff seed went to Tyler Ankrum, who is two-for-two in playoff appearances after edging out rookie Derek Kraus. A year removed from being an 18-year-old playoff driver who was too young to even start the 2019 season due to age restrictions, the new GMS Racing driver racked up seven top tens and three top fives to break into the postseason. He will have 2,003 points.