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Over the past few days, we’ve started to break down the season. Thus far, we’ve gone through the back runners and some of the smaller teams, which can be found here:
Best of the Rest: https://dfsheadquarters.com/2020-nascar-preview-best-of-the-rest/
Front Row Motorsports: https://dfsheadquarters.com/2020-nascar-preview-front-row-motorsports/
JTG Daugherty Racing: https://dfsheadquarters.com/2020-nascar-dfs-preview-jtg-daugherty-racing/
This is certainly going to be a longer read, as we are going to be breaking down the Truck series. There is still a considerable amount up in the air regarding this series, as a lot of the teams have not fully committed to the season, but we are going to do our best to go through and list who we think will be in these trucks coming up this season, on a number by number basis.
Yeah, this is the least popular of the three series, but it almost without a shadow of a doubt has the best racing.
Tyler Dippel – 02 Young Motorsports Chevy
This is an unconfirmed situation at the time of this writing, but if this truck runs, this is the likely driver. Dippel was a guy who actually had some pretty stellar runs in 2019, and was always priced in that mid-range that was very valuable for DFS purposed. Another year in a series is always a good thing as you can not only get used to your truck but how others around you are driving theirs. He probably has to do a lot to make the playoffs, but it is a situation that could be a possibility given the variance in this series.
Sheldon Creed – 2 GMS Racing Chevy
Sheldon Creed looks a lot to me like Ricky Stenhouse Jr: a guy who is very aggressive but it almost always results in him either doing serious damage or wrecking his vehicle. Nonetheless, he is a guy I am expecting to take a big second year leap. Sure, there is not much changing at the top of the series, but he is in good equipment and is young enough that the more experience he gains, the better he should be. In 2019, he was a very easy book to read. If he qualified top ten, you could fade. If he qualified further than that, he was in play. That might need some adjusting in 2020, but my general take is that this is where we will land in 2020.
Jordan Anderson – 3 Jordan Anderson Racing Chevy
Owner/operator Jordan Anderson is one of those lower range mid-pack drivers who can come in useful depending on where he qualifies. While for the most part that is a blanket statement, we’ve seen races frequently where he qualified post 25 and has the ability to crack top 15 finishes. In truth, that is likely the ceiling for a driver like Anderson, but nonetheless on all tracks outside of the restrictor plates, he can definitely be a guy that we can use as a source of salary relief and place differential.
Raphael Lessard – 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota
Lessard drove the 46 for Kyle Busch Motorsports (one time for DGR in the 17) and managed to finish in the top 15 all 5 times, usually while having a cheap salary. The issue there is that he often times started in the top ten, so he had negative place differential points. While this is a more stake in confidence for Lessard driving one of the top KBM vehicles, I fear that he could fall into 2019 Sheldon Creed territory without the wrecks. I think he looks to be a guy I believe will be competitive but may not be the best guy in fantasy circles. Time will tell, and these trucks can win races, so I might be a little bearish on him.
Joe Nemechek – 8 Nemco Motorsports Chevy
Nemechek was mostly a start and park driver in 2019, and nothing would indicate that things will change in 2020. A lot of times you were just battling to see which of these back runners stayed on the track the most. In truth, Norm Benning would out stay almost all of them, so there was almost no point in playing a guy like Joe Nemechek. I can understand the appeal at Daytona, but pretty much everywhere else, there is no point to play a guy who might only run for 8 laps.
Jennifer Jo Cobb – 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Chevy
Another owner operator, but this one has not confirmed for 2020. Cobb was the type who would usually qualify close to last and have some upside at her price to flirt with me, er, um I mean a top 22. She has virtually no top 15 upside in normal races, but she is usually priced cheap enough that if she qualifies this poorly she makes a ton of sense to just drop into your lineups and take the 25-30 points. A lot of times that is enough in the truck series, especially if Kyle Busch is on the card.
Gus Dean – 12 Young’s Motorsports Chevy
Dean is another one of those mid-pack drivers who was ALWAYS under owned in 2019. He would routinely qualify where he finished, which typically doesn’t offer much upside, but where his price was at, often times 2-3 places was enough to really get the job done. He’s unsure to be competing in 2020, but if he does return, he is another one of the guys on that list of play as long as he qualifies 18th or worse.
Johnny Sauter – 13 Thorsport Racing Ford
It was certainly not a great year for an often-dominant driver. It started off well, even winning at Dover, but after that, it seemed as if things just fell downhill fast. He really just never seemed to have speed, or when he did, he found his way into trouble. He even got suspended for a race for an altercation with Austin Hill, but nothing really got things going. His last three races were not bad, so hopefully things keep going that direction, but otherwise, with the series highly competitive, it doesn’t give me warm feelings about his year.
Austin Hill – 16 Hattori Motorsports Toyota
Hill was certainly a surprise in 2019, making it to the Championship 4 and really making a push to win it. I have no reason to believe that 2020 won’t look much the same, and he has to be an early favorite to be right back in the championship hunt. There really aren’t many tracks you can’t play him on but I will say I believe I noticed a lot of time when he had speed in practice it did not translate into the race. It’s a weird correlation and I need to go back to confirm that, but I believe it happened a lot.
Christian Eckes – 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota
Eckes takes over the 18 KBM truck while Harrison Burton moves on to Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY series. This team underperformed in a major way outside of the 51 truck last year, so there is going to be a lot expected from Eckes. He managed to win the pole 3 times while earning as many top 5 finishes. He is going to be someone I think we can play regularly, as I think it is only a matter of time before he crosses the finish line.
Derek Kraus – 19 McNally-Hilgemann Racing Toyota
This is in alliance with Hattori Racing, who has shown well in both the Trucks and limited XFINITY series appearances. It’s somewhat hard to get a read on a guy who only raced four times, and had issues half of those times. He did manage a top 10 finish in one of the two races he finished, and both were on the lead lap. Again, this is probably a value guy we can rely on early in the season who may be in equipment that will allow him to stay competitive.
Spencer Boyd – 20 Young’s Motorsport Toyota
We haven’t seen confirmation yet that Boyd will be driving this truck in 2020, but assuming he does, we know what we are getting out of him. He is a driver that finishes 17-22 on a routine basis, even though he did get a victory at Talladega this year when Sauter went below the yellow line to pass. That is surely an outlier and anything goes on those tracks. Anytime he is starting after 25th, he will be someone we will be considering.
Zane Smith – 21 GMS Racing Chevy
We only saw Zane Smith once in 2019 in the truck series; he spent most of it off and on in the XFINITY series. In his lone start, he finished 5th after starting 10th. Sure, I’ll take more of that. I think he is very talented, and he is very likely to find himself in the playoffs. It’s a tough read to know how DraftKings will price him since he is relatively unproven in this series, but he is someone I will be using frequently.
Austin Wayne Self – 22 Niece Motorsports Chevy
Nothing has been said on his status in 2020, after a solid 2019, despite being suspended for a short period due to NASCAR’s Wellness Program. He often finished in that 15-20 range, making him an excellent play if he started any point further back than that. Again, this would be roughless the same range I think you will see him in this year.
Brett Moffitt – 23 GMS Racing Chevy
Moffitt changes from 24 to 23 this year, but that is about the only thing that changes. He is amongst the true elite in the Truck Series and I would be fully expectant for that to remain the same in 2020. Nothing more really needs to be said, but it will. He will be a dominator we consider on just about every track so get ready to read a lot about him.
Sam Mayer/David Gravel – 24 GMS Racing Chevy
These two will split the ride in 2020. Mayer was a stud at Martinsville where he had a rocketship. I think he will be someone that we can play when it looks like he has a fast car. The team is one of the best too, which is always a plus. Gravel is no slouch in his own right, and both of these guys will be worth our time when they are on the slate.
Tyler Ankrum – 26 GMS Racing Chevy
A playoff driver in 2019 with DGR-Crosley, Ankrum moves over to GMS Management. I can’t say I blame him; DGR replaced him due to sponsorship issues, and only committed once he picked up his win. It’s a business, but Ankrum made a business decision to move to GMS. He should still be a fringe playoff driver with win equity to his name.
Josh Reaume – 33 Reaume Brothers Racing Chevy
Reaume was a guy who lived in the 20-25 range and was one of those cheap drivers who you really just wanted to see qualify poorly or not at all so we can take him for place differential upside. He had a 14th place finish in Texas in a crazy race, but for the most part, he is just a low salary driver that does not offer much DFS upside.
Todd Gilliland – 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford
It was clear that Gilliland was not going back to KBM after making stupid comments about Kyle Busch after finally winning. He did have to get his daddy, though, to form an alliance with a third rate NASCAR Cup Series team in order to keep him going. I don’t think he’s without talent, but this is definitely a step down. Perhaps winning opened things up for him, so I will just wait to see where he is priced and how the season starts before really making any judgements.
Natalie Decker – 44 Niece Motorsports Chevy
Decker the Wrecker is what I liked to refer to her as. She seemed to do it quite a bit. She is in good enough equipment, so she falls into that needs to qualify poorly group in order to really get this going right. She had a host of top 20 finishes this year, but she is potentially the most tilt worthy driver to roster on a week to week basis.
Ty Majeski – 45 Niece Motorsports Chevy
This is the truck that Ross Chastain took to the Championship 4 last year, and while Majeski is not the driver Chastain is, I’m not sure that the gap is that significant. He’s shown the ability in ARCA and the XFINITY series when given the chance, so if he comes in cheap to start the year, he is someone I am more than willing to buy in to.
Stewart Friesen – 51 Hallmar Racing Toyota
Biggest thing coming this offseason is that the team will move over to the Toyota banner and get their cars from Kyle Busch Motorsports. This was already one of the best teams and now has to be considered a front runner for the championship. Friesen got the win monkey off his back, and I would expect more to follow in 2020. He’s my odds on favorite to win the championship this year.
Matt Crafton – 88 Thorsport Racing Ford
Crafton is the reigning and defender paper champion of the Gander Outdoor Truck Series. I call him that because he was able to do so without winning anything during the year. One might think that winning be a prerequisite, but I digress. Crafton has only been able to notch multiple wins in a season three times in a 20 year career where he averages less than .75 wins a season, so win equity is super low here. I do believe he was a guy that did not end up on a lot of optimals through the season, and basically he is a guy I am looking at only when his qualifying position suggests equity in playing him.
Grant Enfinger – 98 Thorsport Racing Ford
The one thing you can say about Enfinger is that we’ve seen him improve each year of his full time career. He’s only managed 2 wins in 83 races, but he also had top fives in almost half of the races last year and finished top 10 in 18/23. That is pretty amazing considering 2 races were ended as a result of mechanical issues or crashes. He is one of the most reliable cash game plays most weeks, and he carries some dominator equity.
Ben Rhodes – 99 Thorsport Racing Ford
Rhodes was a bit of a conundrum in 2019. He surely wasn’t a bad driver, but his results feel like they. Left a lot to be desired. He did lead in some races, but for the most part, I felt as if he was playing catchup for issues he got himself into, which is never a great thing to say about your driver. I think there was often times meat left on the bone, and I believe we will see Rhodes back in the winner’s circle in 2020.