You get a playoff spot, and you get a playoff spot, and you get a playoff spot.
NASCAR announced Tuesday the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoff field would expand from 8 teams to 10 teams in 2020. The series will stick with the traditional three races per round with two drivers being eliminated after the first round, four after the second round, leaving four drivers to battle at Phoenix.
The expansion from 8 to 10 in 2020 could have been directly affected by what happened during the 2019 season. Kyle Busch Motorsports saw both of their full-time drivers miss the playoffs. Tyler Ankrum won at Kentucky thrusting himself into the playoffs after having to start and park with NEMCO a few races prior. Combine that with Illmor’s issues at Las Vegas with Thorsport and the argument for 10 within the NASCAR offices made sense.
The Truck Series field picked up a few new full-time teams for 2020 which also could have influenced the expansion to 10. GMS Racing will field 4 full-time teams in 2020, up from 2 last season. Bill McAnally’s team joins full time with help from HRE. Front Row Motorsports joins the series in a partnership with DGR-Crosley to field a truck for Todd Gilliland. The biggest issue here is will NASCAR condense the playoff field if there are only 11 competitive full-time teams in 2021? A precedent has been set for expansion during competitive years.
Allowing more than half the competitive field into the playoffs is certainly a sell for sponsors. Instead of a 50% chance of making the playoffs you know have a 62% chance. In some public schools that might be a passing grade. Regardless of the reasoning behind the expansion boomers will be out in full force bashing participation trophies.
Field expansion should have been put on hold until NASCAR figures out how to start all three series’ playoffs on the same weekend. That’s the biggest issue.
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