Jacksonville Sports Day

NASCAR: Chastain Removes Playoff Doubt with Pocono Victory

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By virtue of scoring his second Playoff-eligible win this past weekend at Pocono, Ross Chastain brought a little more focus to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series postseason picture by ensuring he can’t get knocked off the grid by new winners.

Chastain won a third race earlier in the season at Kansas, but the win didn’t count towards Playoff eligibility because he had not yet declared for points in the Gander Trucks.

Five different drivers (Chastain, Brett Moffitt, Johnny Sauter, Austin Hill, Tyler Ankrum) have all won their way into the Playoffs, leaving three open spots with two races to go (Eldora, Michigan) before the postseason kicks off at Bristol.

Points leader Grant Enfinger has a 34-point lead on Brett Moffitt and would be ensured a spot in the Playoffs were he to capture the regular season championship, even without a win. The remaining two spots based on points are currently held by Matt Crafton and Stewart Friesen.

But a win by a new Playoff-eligible driver would knock Crafton or Friesen out…as could a couple bad points days. And no one knows better than Friesen what a bad points day can do to a driver’s Playoff chances.

Following a second-place finish at Kentucky two races ago, Friesen’s postseason prospects looked strong as he was second in points – and was 16 points up on Crafton and, more importantly, 60 points ahead of Burton.

After crashing on the first turn at Pocono and finishing 32nd while Burton placed third and Crafton was sixth, Friesen dropped to fourth in the points and now trails Crafton by 16 points and leads Burton by only 13…putting Friesen out of the Playoffs if a new driver wins or bringing Burton within striking distance if the final spot is decided on points.

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