The NASCAR Truck Series Playoff Opener Upsets the Leaderboard

Grant Enfinger

Getty Grant Enfinger disrupted the playoff leaderboard with a win.

The Camping World Truck Series playoffs are only one race deep, but the leaderboard has already taken a surprising turn. Grant Enfinger won at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park and shook up the standings.

The GMS Racing driver used fresh tires in overtime to jump from fourth overall to the front of the pack. He dove to the inside of regular-season champion Zane Smith, took the lead, and he held it for the final two laps. Enfinger captured his first win of the year, and he automatically secured a spot in the Round of Eight.

The intriguing part is that Enfinger entered the race weekend below the elimination line. He and Matt Crafton were the final two drivers to secure spots in the playoffs, and they faced a disadvantage in the points standings. Now, however, Enfinger is the only driver in the playoffs with a win.

This win was Enfinger’s first since the 2020 season, the last time he partnered with crew chief Jeff Hensley. That season featured him winning four races and securing a spot in the championship four. However, Enfinger went 38 weeks without a win until he snapped the streak at IRP.

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2 ThorSport Drivers Have Ground To Make Up

Christian Eckes

GettyChristian Eckes (front) dropped below the playoff cutline.

Now that Enfinger is locked into the next round of the playoffs, another driver has taken his place below the cutline. This driver is ThorSport Racing’s Christian Eckes, who is back on a full-time schedule for the first time since 2020.

Eckes is now 10th in the playoff standings after the first race. He is seven points back of Carson Hocevar, and he is in a tie with teammate Matt Crafton. Though the three-time champion sits just ahead of him on the leaderboard.

Eckes and Crafton now have two more races to fight for a spot in the Round of Eight. They will be back in action on August 13 at Richmond Raceway. They will then battle in the Round of 10 elimination race on September 9 at Kansas Speedway. Neither Crafton nor Eckes has a Truck Series win at Richmond, but Crafton has three trips to Victory Lane at Kansas.

Ben Rhodes Quietly Took Care of Business

Ben Rhodes

GettyBen Rhodes secured some crucial points at IRP.

The 2022 season has not been the strongest for Ben Rhodes. The defending Truck Series champion won at Bristol Motor Speedway, but he only added four top-10 finishes in the 10 races before the playoffs.

Rhodes entered the Indianapolis weekend third in the Truck Series standings. He was 15 points above the cutline while behind both Chandler Smith (+20) and regular-season champion Zane Smith (+35). Now he has overtaken the defending Rookie of the Year after a second-place finish at IRP.

Rhodes had an early setback at the short track. He sped on pit road and had to drop to the rear of the field. However, he worked his way back up to sixth by the end of Stage 1. Rhodes then ended Stage 2 in the third position, which helped him secure some crucial points.

Rhodes leaves IRP in a strong position. He is 36 points above the cutline and only behind Zane in terms of points. There are five drivers between Rhodes and the cutline, which adds to the likelihood that he will move on to the Round of Eight.

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