Out of the three premiere series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has the slowest start to the season with just four races in the first three months of the schedule. It can beneficial to some of the smaller teams in allowing them to get organized, but doesn’t favor for creating early momentum.
That said, those races were some of the most exciting that we’ve seen on-track all season and as the trucks get set to return on May 4 at Dover International Speedway, here are four things we learned from the first four races.
Best Shows in NASCAR
They may be the lowest run of the top three series on the ladder, but let’s face it – most of the time they put on the best shows the sport sees.
During the Atlanta Motor Speedway race weekend, the Active Pest Control 200 was one of the most competitive events, with trucks spending multiple laps battling for position, even going three-wide at times, throughout the entire field. From challenges for the lead, to three drivers vying for a top-five spot at once, the race had everything mixed into one. Now combine that with a dramatic ending with an overtime finish and the strategy of taking two or four tires equally four-wide jostling for the lead, and you have the perfect package for a race put together.
However, they backed it up with the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway that produced even more close quarter exciting racing, including a couple attempts at three-wide on the half-mile.
Everybody talks about the need to shorten races at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level, and certainly the trucks put in a good argument for how well that works. With less time to get the job done, you have the drivers up on the wheel more. Combine that with a good aerodynamic package and you have a recipe for success.
Four races are in the books, and four different teams have won with four different drivers. Where do you see that happen? Johnny Sauter won Daytona for GMS Racing, followed by Brett Moffitt at Atlanta for Hattori Racing Enterprises, Kyle Busch at Las Vegas for his own team, and lastly John Hunter Nemechek for the family-backed Nemco Motorsports team at Martinsville.
This is a trend that could also continue beyond Dover as well, given the talent showcased by the likes of Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Noah Gragson, and others in the first four races. It just means that the fight for the playoffs could become interesting in only taking eight drivers as what happens if you have nine winners eligible?
It also proves that budget and size of team isn’t as dependent as other series, with single-truck organizations like Hattori and Nemco being highly successful.
Cody Coughlin Looking for Momentum
While some drivers have had great starts to the season, Coughlin isn’t among those. Making the move to GMS Racing over the off-season after spending 2017 at ThorSport Racing, he only scored one top-10 in the first four races, with a pair of finishes of 20th or worse.
Currently ranked 13th in the standings, that is where he completed last season with three top-10’s total on the year. Given the success of his teammates thus far, it is clear that GMS has the equipment. Now it’s just about seeing if he can get the job done.
Sauter is still King
Surrounded by youth and new faces, everybody wants to talk about the up-and-coming stars that are making their names known. However, the veteran presence of Johnny Sauter still rules the series.
After winning the championship in 2016, he is currently leading the standings with three top-fives in four races. He easily could’ve made it four top-fives if not for battery issues at Martinsville Speedway.
Expect the success to continue when the series returns at Dover as he won there last year, and has scored a top-10 in each of his last five starts.
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