Throughout this summer, many races have taken place in weird times on the schedule compared to previous seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This weekend, signs of normalcy are starting to resurface as for the 10th year in a row, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan will host a truck series race in August.
Last year, Austin Hill outlasted Sheldon Creed after a late caution to pick up the victory by a margin of .125 seconds. Hill is considered the favorite in this year’s race at Michigan once again and based on the season he is having, it easy to see why.
Two weeks ago, the truck series raced its first-ever doubleheader at Kansas Speedway and Hill won the first race, cementing his spot in the playoffs. Adding to that, Hill is the overall points leader with five top-five finishes. In the 10 races run this season, he has only finished outside the top 10 once (wrecked at Texas). Hill is looking to go back-to-back at Michigan as he will start fifth.
The other winner of the Kansas doubleheader was defending truck series champion Matt Crafton, who picked up his first win since 2017. His victory was substantial as he also locked himself into a playoff spot, only the fourth truck driver to do so. Considering that the “Triple Truck Challenge” is returning next week and former stars may come out of retirement or the Cup Series to participate, winning any race with only full-time truck drivers is a big opportunity. Crafton will start fourth.
The playoffs are approaching and the margin of error will continue to lessen as September approaches. There are six races left and six playoff spots are still up for grabs. At the cutline, Todd Gilliland sits 22 points above Tyler Ankrum and 53 points above Johnny Sauter. This is a huge race to get a leg up in points before next week’s Daytona road course causes potential chaos. Gilliland will start 19th, Ankrum will start 14th and Sauter will start 13th.
The pole starter is Chandler Smith, an ARCA Menards series driver with two victories in the division and one start this season in the truck series (Kentucky). Brett Moffitt and Christian Eckes will start second and third, two drivers in the top 10 hoping to solidify a playoff spot.
Coverage for the Henry Ford Health System 200 will begin at 6:00 p.m. EST. The stages end on lap 20, lap 40 and the finish on lap 100. You can catch the race on Fox Sports 1 and the Motor Racing Network.
Pit stall assignments:
Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2020/08/04/goodyear-fast-facts-michigan-and-road-america/