Five things to watch for in Saturday's NASCAR Truck race at Talladega
The first round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs draws to a close with Saturday’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Christopher Bell and Ben Rhodes have locked themselves into Round 2 with their respective wins at New Hampshire and Las Vegas. The remaining four positions remain up for grabs.
Here are 5 things to watch for in Saturday’s cutoff race:
- In the series’ only other superspeedway race this season, Kaz Grala won both the pole and the race in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, a win that locked him into the playoffs. Grala’s GMS Racing team is bringing the same truck to Talladega and he could definitely use the win as he’s currently eight points behind the cutoff line to transfer to Round 2.
- Like Grala, John Hunter Nemechek finds himself on the outside looking in entering the Talladega cutoff race. Due to mechanical trouble in the opening race of the playoffs, Nemechek is 14 points below the cutoff line. He has two career Truck Series starts at Talladega – he finished 32nd last year with engine problems and 11th in 2015.
- Despite several issues during the playoffs’ first two races, reigning series champion Johnny Sauter remains in a strong position to advance. He was ninth at New Hampshire and struggled greatly at Las Vegas but still came away with a 10th-place finish. Sauter won this race in 2013 and finished seventh the last two seasons.
- Rookie of the year contender Grant Enfinger won his first series race at Talladega one year ago. He is one of three rookies – Austin Cindric and Cody Coughlin are the others – with previous experience at the track. Six rookies – Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson, Grala and Justin Haley – will be making their first Talladega Truck start.
- Two current NASCAR broadcasters in Parker Kligerman (NBC Sports) and Regan Smith (Fox Sports) are entered in the race. Kligerman won at Talladega in 2012 – becoming the youngest winner at Talladega in series history. Smith has one career Truck Series start at Talladega and finished ninth in 2007.
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Johnny Sauter to test spec engine at Talladega this weekend