Sunoco 159 at Daytona Road Course (Truck Series) Predictions, Odds & Picks
- String of new winners has helped to solidify NASCAR Truck Series Playoff picture.
- Austin Hill goes digital in preparation for debut visit to Daytona Road Course.
- Still recuperating from motocross accident, Brett Moffitt looks for first 2020 victory
NASCAR Truck Series at Daytona Road Course Odds
|Austin Wayne Self||+20000|
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Sunoco 159 Predictions and Picks
Unlike the NASCAR Cup Series, where most competitors have elevated their road racing skills to an elite level, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series offers an opportunity for a ringer to pick up a victory. That’s exactly what road course ace Alex Tagliani will do on Sunday.
“Tags” is familiar with the Daytona Road Course, having raced in the Rolex 24 Hours. Though he’ll start 21st, he won’t stay mid-pack for long.
Alex Tagliani +300
How to Watch the Daytona Road Course Truck Race
|Sunoco 159 Information|
|What||Sunoco 159 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race|
|Where||Daytona International Speedway Road Course|
|When||Sunday, August 16, 12 noon EST|
|How to Watch||FS1|
The Sunoco 159 marks the first visit of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series to the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, a 3.57-mile, 14-turn circuit that has been modified with a chicane near the exit of Turn 4 on the traditional Daytona oval.
Truck Series regulars have no experience at the Daytona Road Course. In fact, there are drivers in the field who have no experience on road courses whatsoever. The race will be contested at 44 laps (158.85 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 12 and 25 laps.
Given the inexperience of the drivers, the first turn on Sunday could be explosive.
Recent New Winners Have Solidified Truck Series Playoff Picture
As of July 10, only two Truck Series regulars had locked up spots in the Playoffs with race wins. Over the past few weeks, that has changed dramatically, with Austin Hill and Matt Crafton winning at Kansas during the doubleheader weekend and Zane Smith taking the checkered flag Aug. 7 at Michigan.
Accordingly, five of the 10 Playoff berths are locked up, with Grant Enfinger and Sheldon Creed have claimed the first two with earlier victories. That leaves a free-for-all for the other five spots, with any series regular in the field able to claim a berth with a victory before the start of the postseason on Sept. 17 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
That may be the only avenue for 2016 champion Johnny Sauter, who languishes in 13th place in the standings, 72 points behind 10th-place Todd Gilliland, the last driver currently in a Playoff-eligible position. But for any driver outside the top 10, a win cures all ills, as far as qualifying for the postseason is concerned.
Austin Hill Goes Digital to Counteract Lack of On-Track Experience
Like most of his Truck Series competitors, Austin Hill has never raced on the Daytona Road Course, but he’s using all the media at his command to prepare for Sunday’s Sunoco 159. Given that drivers will take the green flag on Sunday without the benefit of practice or qualifying, Hill has been viewing “game films” and spending considerable time trying to anticipate the experience in the virtual world.
But there’s no substitute for racing on pavement, and Hill, the series leader, can’t wait to get his No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota on the asphalt.
“I’m very excited to get out there and hit the race track,” Hill says. “It’s going to be interesting, with really nobody ever being around that place and having no practice. That’s going to be pretty wild. I’ve gone back and watched a lot of YouTube videos, a lot of IMSA races, stuff like that, just trying to look at, basically, the race track and how it’s laid out and just try to figure out how I want to enter each corner.
“I really looked at the map a lot. I’ve done some stuff on iRacing and some Toyota sim stuff. I’m doing basically all I can do without us having practice, just really trying to focus on the map and just trying to put in my mind how each turn is, so I know exactly how to approach each turn.”
Still Recovering from Motocross Accident, Brett Moffitt Looks for 2020 Win
Less than a week after the coronavirus pandemic shut down NASCAR racing, Brett Moffitt broke both his legs in a motocross accident. His surgery included cutting the tendons in both knees and the insertion of plates to support them while the bones healed.
The 10-week hiatus because of the pandemic allowed Moffitt to time to recover, but he still feels pain when his knees take a jarring impact, and he can’t run, a training activity he enjoyed before the accident. Moffitt, however, can drive without pain, and he’s looking forward to the new experience of racing on the Daytona Road Course.
“Obviously, it’s something new for everybody, but I’m excited about it,” says the 2018 series champion, who hasn’t recorded a win in 2020 but is comfortably inside the Playoff bubble. “It’s hard to tell exactly what we’re going to have, this being the first time we go there. Crew chiefs don’t exactly know what (setup) to put in, so we kind of went with a blend of our Canada road course setup and then a few changes that we put in from the simulator.”
Moffitt has been installed as the favorite to win Sunday’s race, but he’ll have his hands full with Canadian road course ace Alex Tagliani, who is making a rare Truck Series appearance in the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
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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.