2020 Truck Series preview: Charlotte

Photo by Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the first time in three months and five days, the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series hits the track. Tuesday night, it will be Charlotte Motor Speedway will be the host for the NC Education Lottery 200.

Tonight’s race will feature 40 trucks for the first time since the Las Vegas Motor Speedway finale in 1998. It is just the sixth time in history that the series will feature 40 trucks.

This is, in part, due to the Kyle Busch bounty that was formulated by Kevin Harvick back at Las Vegas in February.

Due to the global circumstances, the $50,000 bounty will now be donated to the driver’s COVID-19 relief effort of their choice.

The Cup drivers that are eligible for the bounty and competing tonight are Chase Elliott, Brennan Poole and John Hunter Nemechek. Look for Elliott to be pushing hard for a victory Tuesday night after being wrecked by Busch at Darlington last Wednesday, and for finishing runner-up in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 after pitting from the lead during a late-race caution.

Other non-points eligible drivers competing tonight are Ross Chastain, Garrett Smithley and Jesse Little.

Busch (eight), Johnny Sauter (one) and Matt Crafton (two) are the only truck drivers competing Tuesday with wins at Charlotte. Busch has only finished outside the top 10 in one of the 13 truck races he has competed in at the track.

There is not much to go off of for Tuesday’s race because Vegas was the only intermediate track raced on before the season was suspended. The drivers that have ran at Charlotte in the Cup or Xfinity races in the previous two days (Busch, Elliott, Chastain, Poole, Austin Hill, Brett Moffitt, Smithley, Timmy Hill, Little, Nemechek) will have a serious advantage over those that have not been on track in the last three months.

Busch should be the favorite going into Tuesday after winning the Xfinity race Monday night. Look for Elliott and Chastain to give Busch fits early on, but once Busch is able to get clean air like Monday, he will be able to cruise to victory. It will have to take mistakes from the three aforementioned drivers or a late-race caution for one of the sole truck drivers to pull off the win.

Cameron’s pick: Kyle Busch

Dark horse: Tyler Ankrum

The truck race will air on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Starting lineup: https://www.jayski.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/05/24/2020-03ngrots-lineup.pdf

Note: Bayley Curry replaces Ray Ciccarelli in the 49 truck

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