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Pickup Throwdown Truck Series Preview: What’s Going Down at Bristol

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What’s Happening?

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series makes its 2024 short track debut this Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is an important race for the Truckers as they will revisit Bristol in September for the middle race of the First Round of the Playoffs. What are some of the biggest storylines to watch out for?

  • Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most historic tracks in NASCAR. Built in 1961, the track has evolved into a high-speed half-mile with 24-28 degrees of banking.
  • The Truck Series has been at the track for nearly the entire history of the series. Aside from a 3 season stretch between 2000 and 2002, the Truck Series has held at least one race every season.
  • Fans are always excited for Bristol. The high banks and short length create one of the most action-packed, close-quarters races of the season.

The Favorites

Spire Motorsports continued their dominant start to the season at Las Vegas. Rajah Caruth took home his first career win at Las Vegas, giving the team their third straight victory to start the season. Nick Sanchez stormed from 35th starting spot to finish 9th at Bristol last August.

Tyler Ankrum is currently the series points leader. He has finished no worse than 11th in his first three races to start the season. While he struggled at Bristol in 2023, his teammate had the opposite race.

Christian Eckes was passed late after leading 150 of 200 laps last August at Bristol. That loss is still fresh on his mind, but, Eckes has plans for redemption. Can he bring the same dominance to Bristol this weekend?

Who Needs a Boost

Ty Dillon and Rackley W.A.R. have had an abysmal start to 2024. A DNF and no finish better than 14th is not the way to start a season, but, Rackley W.A.R. should find some success at Bristol. They finished in the top 10 at the track in 2023.

Bayley Currey spun out early at Las Vegas, which set him behind the 8-ball. He ultimately finished in 28th, 5 laps down, which marks 2 consecutive races with finishes of 28th or worse. Niece as a race team has only one top-10 finish to show for the first 3 races of the season.

Chase Purdy has lagged behind his Spire Motorsports teammates with no top-10s in the first 3 races. However, he qualified 3rd and finished 8th at Bristol in 2023. He knows how to get around this place, and this may be the perfect place to start a comeback.

Rookie Watch

Connor Jones took the Rooke points after a quiet 14th-place finish at Las Vegas. That is his best career finish to date, and his previous career best happened to come at Bristol in 2023. This track has been good to Jones, so, watch out for him to surprise this weekend.

Thad Moffitt sits 7 points behind Jones in 2nd. Moffitt enjoyed a clean race at Las Vegas, where he came home in 25th. His last race at Bristol came in the ARCA Menards Series in 2021, where he finished 25th.

Layne Riggs is back in 3rd place 8 points back in the rookie standngs. He had a clean race at Las Vegas, but, he finished a disappointing 22nd, one lap down, with 0 stage points. Things are getting concerning for Front Row Motorsports, who is typically competing for wins and Championships.

Defending Winner

Corey Heim got the best of Christian Eckes in the closing laps at Bristol last September. With six laps to go, Heim used lapped traffic to his advantage to get by the dominant #19 truck.

While Heim has not seen victory lane yet this season, he has 3 top-5 finishes. He’s going to win at some point, and this is where that can happen.

Cup Series Drivers Watch

Kyle Busch returns for his 3rd of 5 races in the Spire Motorsports #7 Truck. Being the all-time winningest driver in series history, Busch has, of course, made Bristol his playground. He has 5 career wins in 11 races at Bristol, including his most recent start there in 2017.

Zane Smith will pilot the #91 Truck for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing. Given how dominant Christian Eckes was for the team in 2023 at Bristol, Smith is absolutely a threat to win on Saturday night. Smith has a career-best finish of 2nd at Bristol in 2022.

Tune in to the Weather Guard Truck Race this Saturday at 8 PM ET on FS1. Will any of these drivers conquer Bristol?

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