Five things to watch for in Saturday's Martinsville Truck race



After nearly a month off since its last race, the Camping World NASCAR Truck Series returns to action Saturday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Here are five things to watch in the series’ third race of the season:

1. If Johnny Sauter captures the win on Saturday he would become the all-time leader in victories in track history with four. He captured his third win at Martinsville last fall which allowed him to qualify for the Championship 4 title race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sauter went on to win the series championship.

Sauter has posted top-10 finishes in seven of his last eight Truck races at Martinsville, including two wins (fall 2016 and spring 2013).

2. Keep an eye on two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars in Saturday’s race – Chase Elliott and Ty Dillon. This will be Elliott’s second consecutive Truck start of 2017. He started ninth at Atlanta and finished fifth. Elliott’s last series came in 2013 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Dillon was a late addition to the lineup this week and will run the No. 99 Chevrolet for Ranier Racing with Mathew Miller. Ty’s older brother, Austin, ran in the No. 99 at Atlanta and finished seventh.  Dillon’s last appearance in the series came in 2015.

3. Harrison Burton makes his season debut in the series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Burton, the 16-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Jeff Burton, will compete in the No. 51 Toyota in just his second series start.

The younger Burton, who also competes fulltime in the K&N Pro Series East, made his series debut last fall at Martinsville, starting 16th and finished 22nd.

4. Burton’s KBM teammate, Christopher Bell, will attempt to win consecutive series win for the first time in his young career. Bell picked up his first win of the 2017 season at Atlanta, which locked him into the playoffs and sent him atop the series point standings.

In two previous starts at Martinsville, Bell finished 19th last April and fourth last fall. He holds a seven-point lead over Sauter in the series standings.

5. Starting on the pole has translated into victory in both Truck series races so far in 2017. Kaz Grala won from the pole in the season opener at Daytona and Bell accomplished the same feat at Atlanta.

Since 2010, the driver who has started on the pole at Martinsville has gone on to win the race five times.