The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series visited Martinsville Speedway last Friday night for their second to last race of the 2020 season and the final event before the Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway.
Two playoff spots were up for grabs as only two drivers (Sheldon Creed and Brett Moffitt) were already locked in based on their wins in the Round of 8. The two final positions were changing with a different driver almost every single lap. At different points during the race, Matt Crafton held one of the spots while Austin Hill was in too. Unfortunately for both drivers, they would miss the Championship 4 due to problems.
Grant Enfinger, in a must-win situation, took the checkered flag after the 200 laps were completed. Enfinger is one of the Championship 4 participants and Zane Smith collected the last spot based on points.
As the focus is normally the playoff drivers this time of the year, we’ll take a look at some other stories we may have missed during the Truck Series race at Martinsville last Friday night.
- Austin Hill Returns For 2021 Campaign – It was announced during the FOX Sports 1 prerace show on Friday night that Austin Hill would return to the No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota Tundra for the 2021 season. Hill has had great success with HRE Racing by capturing six career wins including his first at Daytona last year. The Georgian has been close to advancing to the final four many times but hasn’t found that lucky moment to get him over the hump. Unfortunately, Friday’s announcement wouldn’t be lucky for Hill, as he was out of the race early with an engine problem, prematurely ending his bid for a Championship 4 spot.
- Stewart Friesen’s Respectable Performance – 2020 has been a strange year for Stewart Friesen and the No. 52 Halmar Racing team. The Canadian has yet to win any races this season and unless something major happens, that drought will continue into 2021. However, Friesen showed some promise on Friday night by winning his first stage victory of the year. The last time he won a stage before Martinsville was last year at Talladega when he won the second stage in the Surglands Shine 250 last October. When all was said and done Friday night, Friesen finished sixth and gained his 11th Top 10 of the year.
- Wrecks, Wrecks and More Wrecks – While wrecks were to be expected in a typical Martinsville Truck Series race, there seemed to be more than usual Friday night. The cause of it? No one will really ever know but championship contender Zane Smith compared the race to a “Bowman Gray like atmosphere.” There were 11 cautions for 82 laps which equals to 41% of the race running under caution and only an average of 9.8 green-flag runs. This year’s number of cautions nearly matches the 2019 fall race where 12 cautions for 80 laps were seen. Perhaps Martinsville being the final elimination race of the season had something to do with the craziness we saw Friday night.
- Danny Bohn Earns First Career Top 10 Finish – Danny Bohn is normally a name that continues to fly under the radar in the Truck Series. Bohn, the former NASCAR Whelen Modified star, has been competing in the Truck Series on a part-time basis this season with just nine starts to his credit. Before Martinsville, Bohn originally had a best finish of 16th at Gateway earlier in the summer. Come last Friday, the New Jersey native finished seventh for the first-ever Top 10 finish in his career. But the finish shouldn’t be too surprising since Bohn has competed on short tracks across the country in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Series.