2020 NASCAR Truck Series preview: Bristol

We have finally arrived at the playoffs for the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, the second of the three major NASCAR series to start their postseason. The first race will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway Thursday night as the round of 10 begins.

Last week at Richmond, Grant Enfinger outlasted his ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton for the win after a close battle in the final stage. Enfinger has three victories on the season and one stage win while Crafton won at Kansas but is without a stage win in 2020. Enfinger has two top-five finishes at Bristol in four starts while Crafton has four top-fives in 18 starts, including second place in 2009 and 2017. Enfinger will start on the pole and Crafton will start fourth.

Sheldon Creed leads the field in playoff points, although Austin Hill won the regular-season championship, earning 15 bonus points. Creed is tied for first with Zane Smith and Brett Moffitt for most stage wins on the season and has three victories in 2020. Hill only has one victory on the season but leads all drivers with 14 top-10 finishes and has the most top-five finishes along with Crafton. Both drivers have struggled at Bristol as Creed finished 24th in his one start while Hill has one top-10 finish in five starts. Hill will start fifth while Creed will start eighth.

Rounding out the top five is Smith and Moffitt. Moffitt is the top driver in points without a victory this season. Smith has two victories on the season (Michigan and Dover) along with five stage wins. Moffitt has 11 top-10 finishes and seven top-five finishes. Thursday’s race at Bristol will be Smith’s first while Moffitt returns after winning the 2019 race. Moffitt will start second and Smith will start sixth.

Christian Eckes will make his debut at Bristol while Ben Rhodes makes his fifth start. Rhodes, the sixth-ranked driver in the playoff standings, has finished in the top five in each of his last three races at Bristol. Rhodes starts third and Eckes starts 10th.

Rounding out the playoff field are the top drivers below the cutline for the round of eight in Todd Gilliland and Tyler Ankrum. Gilliland makes his fourth start at Bristol (has a top-five and top-10 finish) while Ankrum makes his second start after finishing 20th in 2019.

Coverage for the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway will begin at 7:30 p.m. EST. The stages will end on lap 55, lap 110 and the finish on lap 200. You can catch the race on Fox Sports 1 and the Motor Racing Network.

Starting lineup:

Pit stall assignments:

Goodyear tire notes: https://www.jayski.com/2020/09/16/goodyear-fast-facts-bristol-4/

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