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NASCAR announced Tuesday (Jan. 21) that it will expand the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series playoff field from eight to 10 beginning with the 2020 season.
The series will still follow its seven-race elimination-style playoff format. The Round of 10 will feature three races (Gateway, Canadian Tire and Bristol) where two drivers are eliminated from championship contention. Four more drivers will be eliminated at the end of the three races making up the Round of 8 (Las Vegas, Talladega and Martinsville) to culminate in the Championship 4 who will compete in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway for the title.
“The way the format was structured in the Gander Truck Series with the Round of 8, Round of 6, Round of 4, we were leaving some excitement on the table,” Truck Series managing director Brad Moran said. “Maybe three or four years ago, not so much, but certainly the last couple of years with the series strengthening to the position it’s in right now, we really felt putting 10 teams into the playoffs for a Round of 10 is just going to make it that much more exciting and interesting, and will put a lot of emphasis on winning races, which is what we try to do.”
The Truck Series began running its playoff format in 2016, and each season, it has featured the best eight drivers whittled down to six and then four for the final race.
“It seemed like the right number,” Moran continued. “We only start 32 trucks, we have a great group of owners, and we did not want to water down our playoffs, but the two additional trucks kind of changes the whole layout. It changes the whole ecosystem of the playoffs. People are going to be that much more aggressive to get one of those 10 spots, and it does marry up with the other two series when we get to the Round of 8.”
Moran also stated the change to add two more drivers to the playoffs was already in the works heading into the 2019 season but that NASCAR “just didn’t want to jump the gun doing it.”
The Truck Series kicks off its 2020 season at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Feb. 14.