It’s a bit of a different weekend coming up in NASCAR, as we will be seeing a pair of different locations in play. The Cup and Xfinity Series will be in Michigan, while the Truck Series drivers will be in Illinois at the Gateway track for their race on Friday night. The Gateway 200 is the biggest race of the season in the Truck Series to this point, as it will serve as the start of the playoffs. There are 10 drivers heading into the playoffs, with the field set to be cut to 8 after 3 races. There is zero margin for error now, as one poor performance can be the difference between moving on and missing out on a shot at the championship. With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at 4 drivers to keep an eye on this Friday night for the Gateway 200 so you can bet against their NASCAR Truck Series odds.
NASCAR World Truck Series Betting Preview for the Gateway 200 Race presented by CK Power
John H. Nemechek
While finishing atop the driver standings at the end of the regular season is indeed a fantastic accomplishment, it is no guarantee of playoff success. After all, we all remember what happened to Kevin Harvick in the Cup Series last season. Still, John H. Nemechek has to be viewed as one of the favorites to win it all, as he has been nothing short of fantastic in the 2021 season. He has already picked up 5 win and has a total of 9 top 5 finishes from 15 races. He won at Gateway in the Truck Series in 2017, so a definite danger here.
If you look at the 10 drivers heading into the playoffs, it would be easy to simply write off Zane Smith without giving it too much thought. After all, he is coming into the opening round of the postseason without picking up a single win and has only been in the top 5 once. That said, he has been consistent and has cracked the top 10 in 10 out if 15 races. When you are routinely in that position, you have a shot at winning. At Gateway, Smith has never finished worse than 7th, so do not write him off this weekend.
The defending Truck Series champion is once again among the 10 drivers heading into the playoffs. Creed closed out the regular season down in 5th in the driver standings, which is sure to be seen as disappointing by many NASCAR fans. He also only has 1 win on the season, but Creed is also a driver who has experience in handling the playoff pressure just as he did in 2020. Add that to the fact that he won at Gateway last season, and you have a couple of good reasons for taking a chance on him on Friday night.
You always want to head into the playoffs on a high, which is definitely what Austin Hill is doing after winning the final race of the regular season. That was the 2nd win of the season for Hill and one that puts him right in the thick of the chase for the championship. Hill has the chance to make a statement in the opening week of the playoffs by winning again. He came close at Gateway last season, finishing 3rd in that race.
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