The stage has been set for the Gander Outdoor NASCAR Truck Series playoffs.
With Austin Hillâs second victory of the season, and first since the opening round at Daytona International Speedway, the “Round of 8”Â has been confirmed. In fact, the same eight drivers who occupied playoff spots entering the raceÂ left with them.
But it wasnât for a lack of drama: Sheldon Creed, Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland and Ben Rhodes all threatened to win the race in the closing stages, a hypothetical victory that would have bumped Matt Crafton from the field instead.
Alas, none of the would-be contenders was able to close out on the last-ditch effort.
Worth noting is that Brett Moffitt returns as the regular season champion as the highest seeded contender but with a new team: GMS Racing instead of Hattori. Hill’s victory with Hattori places that team in position to go back-to-back with returning crew chief Scott Zipadelli.
Ross Chastain makes the playoffs despite switching points accumulation from the Xfinity Series to the Truck Series in June. And then there is DGR-Crosley’s Tyler Ankrum, who is short on funding and needed to start-and-park in two races with NEMCO Motorsports just to retain his playoff eligibility before breaking through win a win at Kentucky.
That doesn’t even include that Ankrum missed three of the first four races due to an age restriction at Daytona, Atlanta and Las Vegas.
This is how the playoffs will look once the second season begins:
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Brett Moffitt Ldr.
2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Grant Enfinger -3
3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Stewart Friesen -8
4.Â Â Â Â Â Â Ross Chastain -10
5.Â Â Â Â Â Â Austin Hill -10
6.Â Â Â Â Â Â Matt Crafton -11
7.Â Â Â Â Â Â Johnny Sauter -13
8.Â Â Â Â Â Â Tyler Ankrum -17
The field was reset based on number of playoff points accumulated during the regular season. Those playoff points carry over from round to round, plus any playoff points accumulated during the previous round.
The first round takes place at Bristol, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Las Vegas and will eliminate the two lowest drivers in points without a win. The same goes for the second round at Talladega, Martinsville and Phoenix.
The final round is at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the championship-eligible driver with the highest finish will be declared the champion.