Todd Gilliland became the second winner in as many Round of 6 races to capture his first NASCAR national series win and play the spoiler – preventing a Playoff driver from locking themselves into the Championship 4 by visiting Victory Lane.
A week earlier, it was Spencer Boyd who upset the field and took the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway.
Since the elimination-style postseason format was introduced in the Gander Trucks in 2016, there hasn’t been a round of three races completed without at least one Playoff driver earning a win. That would all change if one of the six remaining Playoff contenders doesn’t win at ISM Raceway next weekend.
And it’s entirely possible that a spoiler will prevail again in the desert. Brett Moffitt is the lone Playoff contender who has won at the one-mile circuit. And Johnny Sauter is the only other 2019 regular racer who has won there.
If a third straight driver captures their first career Gander Trucks win at ISM Raceway, they would be the sixth driver to do so at that track:
Mike Skinner – 1995
Jack Sprague – 1996
Kevin Harvick – 2002
Erik Jones – 2013
Daniel Suarez – 2016
If it happens, look for a driver out of the Toyota camp to do so.
Kyle Busch Motorsports and DGR-Crosley will yield six drivers between them who are running the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on a part-time basis this season – and the drivers combine for three total previous starts at ISM Raceway. The drivers are listed below in numerical order by truck number.
Dylan Lupton – No. 5 DGR-Crosley Toyota: The 25-year-old driver will be making his sixth start of the season – and is scheduled to finish out the season in this truck at Miami, as well. He’s recorded a top five (Kentucky) and three top 10s in his five starts this year. Lupton has one start at ISM Raceway – recording a 19th-place finish in 2016.
Tanner Gray – No. 7 DGR-Crosley Toyota: The 2018 NHRA Pro Stock champion made his NASCAR national series debut two races ago at Martinsville – spending a chunk of the race in the top 10 before being collected in a last-lap incident that left him with a 20th-place finish. Of note – the No. 7 will be making its debut on a DGR-Crosley truck as the team fields five entries this weekend. Gray will, however, be working with the same crew chief (Seth Smith) and team he had behind him at Martinsville while driving the No. 15.
Anthony Alfredo – No. 15 DGR-Crosley Toyota: Alfredo has made 11 starts this year, posting a pair of top-10 finishes at Charlotte (eighth) and Chicago (ninth). His last race was Talladega, where he finished 15th. The 20-year-old has one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win to his credit – last year at South Boston. This weekend will be his first trip to ISM Raceway.
Chandler Smith – No. 46 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota: If you’ve been following the ARCA Menards Series the past two seasons, you know the name Chandler Smith. The 17-year-old has been limited in race opportunities due to age restrictions, but he has been a shining star when he makes it onto the track. In 20 total ARCA starts he has seven wins – including five in 11 starts this season. He also has 14 top fives and 19 top 10s in those 20 appearances. This season he’s made three Gander Trucks starts – finishing eighth (Iowa), fourth (World Wide Technology Raceway) and second (Bristol).
Brandon Jones – No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota: Jones, a NASCAR Xfinity Series regular with Joe Gibbs Racing who made the Playoffs this season but was knocked out of the opening round, will be making his fifth Gander Trucks start of the season. In four races this season he has a pair of top fives, including a runner-up at Chicago. He has a pair of previous starts at ISM Raceway, with a best finish of 12th in 2014.
Natalie Decker – No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota: Decker will be making her track debut at ISM Raceway this Friday. She has the most races under her belt this season of the above group, with 17 starts, but has had a rough go of it – exiting nine races early due to a crash or mechanical issue. In the other eight races, she has an average finish of 17.4 and has a best finish of 13th at Las Vegas in the spring.