Photo via Daytona International Speedway
Pinch yourself. Blink twice. Do whatever you want to do. That is correct, Christmas Eve turns into Christmas Day for NASCAR fans. The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series kicks off the NASCAR regular season tonight at Daytona International Speedway.
Last season, Austin Hill, driver of the #16 truck, controlled stage 1 and would lead the field in most laps led. He would be the eventual winner of the race and take home the 2019 Daytona trophy. Hill’s manufacturer in Toyota (via Hattori Racing Enterprises) would control the season last year, with Toyota’s 12 wins surpassing that of Chevrolet (10) and Ford (1).
Despite this, it would be the Ford hat would take home the Truck Series title last season via Matt Crafton in the #88, whose 4,035 total points last season would slightly edge out #45 Ross Chastain of Chevrolet.
Looking at this upcoming race, and more importantly, this season, both Chevrolet and Toyota teams will be looking for blood as they look to win the championship through wins and points.
The Toyota’s look to start off the season strong, similarly, to last season where Hill won. Hill’s win was one of four wins last season, with the others coming at Michigan International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hill’s four wins led the entire field for the season. However, right with Hill was the Chevrolet #23 Brett Moffitt of GMS Racing. His four wins last season was also impressive within the field. His four wins all came after week nine, with the victories coming at Iowa Speedway, Chicagoland, Bristol Motor Speedway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The latter two victories came in consecutive weeks and in the first two rounds of the Playoffs.
While Moffitt led the series in victories, in addition to leading laps and fastest laps (Moffitt’s 452 laps led and 363 fastest laps run both ranked first last season), Moffitt’s last three finishes at Daytona have been 22nd, 26th and 26th. Meanwhile, Hill’s last two finishes have been 11th and first. While Moffitt brings the speed and Hill brings the pedigree, Crafton brings the point potential. And, of course, Chastain brings the revenge for losing out on the championship last season. Other drivers, including #13 Johnny Sauter (whose truck ran the fastest in the second and last leg in the final practice session), 18-year-old Derek Kraus (who was fourth fastest during the practice session) and Grant Enfinger (who finished runner-up to Hill in the same race last season) look to shake up the field.
With numerous drivers with championship aspirations (Hill, Moffitt) in addition to drivers on the doorstep (Kraus), the field looks to be deep and explosive as they all look to make the necessary moves for their teams.
With the steep embankments of Daytona, the trucks will look to make quick moves early and will attempt to utilize aggressive, but not reckless play in what looks to be an explosive start to the NASCAR regular season.
The flags will be waved, and the trucks roll off the NASCAR regular season for 2020.
You can watch the race on FS1 with coverage beginning at 7:30 P.M. EST.
Stages end at Laps 20-40-100.