They may have a different driver behind the wheel, but when final practice ended at Daytona on Thursday, Hattori Racing Enterprises were right where they ended 2018: 1st. Due to sponsorship struggles, 2018 champion Brett Moffit left the #16 Toyota Tundra and moved over to GMS Racing. Filling the big shoes is Austin Hill, who finished 11th in points in his first full Truck season in 2018. It’s way too early to know for sure how the 24 year old will fare with the defending champion race team, but topping the speed charts in just the 2nd practice together is sure to be a confidence boost.
Christian Eckes enters the weekend looking for his 4th Top-10 finish in 5 tries in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. The 3-time ARCA Menards Series winner finished 3rd last weekend in ARCA competition, leading the first 9 laps of the race at Daytona. He joins Kyle Busch Motorsports for a part-time Truck Series schedule in 2019 while running for an ARCA championship with Venturini Motorsports. He was 2nd fastest in final practice.
Finishing 2nd in last weekend’s ARCA race at Daytona was Todd Gilliland, and he was 3rd fastest in final Truck practice. 2019 will be Gilliland’s first full-time season in the Truck Series. He ran all but 4 races in 2018, but that was due to his age as you need to be over 18 years old to race at certain tracks. Despite missing those 4 races, the KBM star finished 10th in the final point standings, just 2 spots out of the playoffs.
The winner of the ARCA race at Daytona did not show speed in final practice. He almost didn’t show up in final practice at all. Harrison Burton felt a vibration at the end of the first practice and the team was able to diagnose it as an engine issue. They spent nearly the entire final practice session changing the engine of the #18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. When they were finally able to get Burton on the track, the Toyota did not sound to have a healthy engine and it resulted in posting the 2nd slowest speed.
Todd Gilliland’s father, David, was 4th fastest in practice while Rookie of the Year contender Gus Dean was 5th fastest.
The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series qualifies at 4:40pm ET on Friday, and races at 7:30pm in the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona.
Full Practice Speeds:
(i) – ineligible for series points
|13||22||Austin Wayne Self||Chevy||48.075||187.207|
|18||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevy||48.332||186.212|
|21||45||Ross Chastain (i)||Chevy||48.742||184.646|
|33||42||Robby Lyons II||Chevy||49.888||180.404|