Kansas 200 (Truck Series) – Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Ross Chastain isn’t running for the series championship, but he’ll fight hard to defend his Kansas victory from last year.
- Two Truck Series races on the same weekend could help veterans outside the Playoff cut line—Johnny Sauter and Stewart Friesen certainly hope so.
- With his team owner off the race track, rookie Christian Eckes has a legitimate shot to secure his first victory.
|What||Kansas 200 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race|
|When||Friday, July 24, 7 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||FS1|
Friday’s Kansas 200 is the first of back-to-back NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races on successive days. The two start times at Kansas Speedway are a mere 18½ hours apart, and drivers must use the same truck in both races—unless the vehicles are damaged so severely that a backup is required, with NASCAR’s approval and with relegation to the rear of the field for the second event.
As a consequence, the Kansas 200 is likely to take on a conservative tone as drivers strive to preserve their equipment for Saturday’s Kansas Speedway 250. Arguing against that scenario is the need for drivers below the current Playoff cutline to score as many points as they can in both events.
Friday’s race will be contested at 134 laps (201 miles), with stage breaks at 30 and 60 laps. Ross Chastain was the winner of the only Truck Series race held at Kansas Speedway last year. Though he’s competing for the NASCAR Xfinity Series title this year, he’ll be racing in both Truck Series events this weekend.
NASCAR Truck Series at Kansas July 24 Odds
The odds for the Kansas 200 are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
|Any Other Driver||+3300|
Not in Truck Title Hunt, Ross Chastain Still Has Turf to Protect
In Friday night’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway, Ross Chastain can compete with more abandon than the drivers trying to secure berths in the series Playoffs. Yes, Chastain was the winner of the only Kansas Truck race last year, but his Playoff hopes lie in the Xfinity Series this season.
And though Chastain is running both Truck races this weekend, in addition to Saturday’s Xfinity Series nightcap, the Florida watermelon farmer is not constrained by the necessity to accumulate points. That gives him more strategic options than are available to Truck Series regulars fighting for stage points as well as strong overall finishes.
Chastain, however, faces one important challenge: he will start 11th in Friday night’s race. In 19 previous Truck Series races at Kansas, no eventual winner has come from a starting position deeper in the field than 10th, and nine winners have come from the front row.
With Time Running Out, Veteran Drivers Hope to Capitalize on Doubleheader
Johnny Sauter is a perennial Playoff contender who won the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship in 2016. After an engine failure and a 33rd-place finish last Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, however, Sauter is 12th in the series standings, 22 points behind reigning champion Matt Crafton in the 10th and final Playoff-eligible position.
Stewart Friesen, who won two races last year and finished fourth in the final standings, is in the exact same position (22 points out of the Playoffs) after running fourth at Texas—his first top-five result of the season. Through eight races this season, Friesen has led 13 laps, far off the pace to reach the 256 laps he led in 23 races last year.
There are events races left before the playoffs start, and two of them are crammed into a 24-hour period starting Friday night at Kansas. Both Sauter and Friesen need strong showings in the tandem races to preserve realistic hopes of fighting for the title again this year. Three-time series champion Crafton likewise can use two good outings to establish some breathing room.
With Team Owner Kyle Busch on Track, Christian Eckes Has a Shot
Last Saturday at Texas, owner/driver Kyle Busch finished off his on-track participation in the Truck Series this season by winning for the third time in five 2020 starts. Trailing his boss to the finish line was rookie Christian Eckes, whom Busch hired to drive the No. 18 Toyota Tundra this year.
In fact, Eckes led 52 of the 167 laps at Texas—second to Busch’s 72—and finished a mere .777 seconds behind his team owner after a 10-lap green-flag run to the finish. With Busch unable to compete in any more Truck Series races, according to NASCAR rules, Eckes has ascended to the top of the favorites’ list for Friday night’s race at Kansas.
That’s heady stuff for a rookie who has never won a race in the series, but Eckes has shown steady progress throughout the current campaign. All four of his top-10 results have come in the last five races. The runner-up finish to Busch in his most recent outing was a career-best.
Ross Chastain (+900)—This was a tough call, but given a choice between Chastain, last year’s winner, at +900 versus Christian Eckes at +400, we’ll take the experienced driver with the bigger payday—even though Eckes, by the luck of the draw, will start on the pole.
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Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association.