Friday night’s Overton’s 225 at Chicagoland Speedway marked the 11th race of the season. It also marked the halfway point of the season for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Here are four takeaways from the Overton’s 225 race.
- Close, but no cigar for Nemechek – John Hunter Nemechek was on pace for his second win of the season. However, a miscalculated pit stop early in the race, cost Nemechek a chance at the win as he ran out of gas on the backstretch on the last lap. This misfortune set him back to a disappointing seventh-place finish. All was not lost though, as Nemechek led 64 laps and finished first and third, respectively, in Stages 1 and 2. Unfortunately, this does not mean anything, as he selected to earn NASCAR Xfinity Series points for this season.
- Brett Moffitt There To Capitalize – When someone has a misfortune, normally someone is there to capitalize on it. This certain someone just happened to be Iowa and Atlanta winner, Brett Moffitt. Moffitt and Nemechek swapped the lead with each other eight times in the last remaining laps. It was Moffitt who came out on top and earned his third win of the season. However, sponsorship still remains uncertain for the team in the remaining races of 2018.
- Can anyone stop Johnny Sauter? Sauter has been the most dominant driver in 2018. He has amassed four wins, an average start of 5.5 and an average finish of 4.0, along with 324 laps led. Can anyone stop him? If sponsorship continues for the Hattori Racing team, they could certainly be in the Championship 4 spot at Homestead. Noah Gragson, who has been strong this year, won at Kansas and has been close many times to multiple victories. It’s just a matter of a time before he breaks through and wins more. Stewart Friesen is another driver to keep an eye on for the remaining half of the season. 2018 has been a strong season for Friesen, who has three top fives and six top-10 finishes, along with 105 laps led. His best finish of the season was second at Fort Worth, a track in the Playoffs. One last driver who could surprise and quietly make his way to the Championship 4 is Sauter’s teammate, Justin Haley. Haley fended off Sauter on a late race restart at Gateway to earn his first Truck Series career win. Other stats include four top fives and seven top-10 finishes.
- Will Crafton Win? The 2018 Truck Series season has been so-so for the two-time champion Matt Crafton. There’s no question that Crafton has the talent and skills to win. But this is a sport that focuses on, what have you done for me lately? Crafton has only earned three top fives and four top-10 finishes, along with 35 laps led and an average start of 6.2 and an average finish of 13.5. His best finish of the season was at Dover finishing second, but only after Noah Gragson had a late race incident with Johnny Sauter. Crafton’s top fives and top-10 finishes are the lowest of his career since 2007 when he earned one top five and 10 top-10 finishes. Eldora will mark one year since the No. 88 ThorSport driver has won a race in the series, uncharacteristic-like to say the least. He sits seventh in the points currently but will have to win soon and start winning stages if they want to advance further in the Playoffs. If anyone can do it, it’s the experienced veteran and two-time champion. It is interesting to note that if Crafton doesn’t win this season, it will be the first time since 2012 that he hasn’t won a race in a season.