Earlier This Week, Great Lakes Post interviewed Phil Parsons of Fox NASCAR who will be on the call with Vince Welch and Michael Waltrip for Saturday’s Corrigan Oil 200 which is at 1 PM on FS1. It is also the last race of the regular season for the Trucks as the playoffs start next week at Bristol.
How Exciting is it for the Trucks to come to Michigan?
Parsons: It’s always exciting to come to Michigan. The Trucks put on such a good show, especially now with so much on the line. This is where we see who make the playoffs. We know most of the drivers who will make the playoffs, but one spot is still up for grabs. Matt Crafton has the spot, but if any of the other drivers below the cut line wins, then Crafton would be out. So there is undoubtedly a lot on the line. Also, when you are in the Detroit Area, the manufacturers have a huge presence here and want to do well in all divisions.
Does it surprise you that Kyle Busch Motorsports is on the outside of the playoffs?
Parsons: It’s very surprising. If someone would have told you at the beginning of the year that KBM would be winless and outside of the playoffs, no one would have believed you. It is what is. It’s a very competitive series, and both Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliand have had outstanding runs but haven’t gotten through to get that win. It would not surprise me if either of them won this weekend
Did you expect Ross Chastain’s success this year?
Parsons: No, but did I think it was possible? Indeed because when he jumped in Ganassi’s Xfinity Car and ran for Niece Motorsports late in the year, he ran well. So I’m surprised with what he has been able to do this season, but Niece Motorsports has stepped up as well — getting Phil Gould as the crew chief has been good for the team. Cody Efaw has done an excellent job managing that team and Al Niece has given them the tools to succeed. I think it’s more of a surprise that the team has stepped up and have become one of the top teams in the Truck Series.
How Do You Think GMS Racing Has done this year?
Parsons: I think Brett Moffitt is the favorite coming into this weekend at MIS. He’s won twice at Michigan with two different teams so he’s certainly a contender this weekend and will be every weekend and also contend for the championship. With Stewart Friesen, I think the flood gates might open for him after getting the big win at Eldora, and he may reel off two or three more wins before the years up and Sheldon Creed has been fast all season long. Creed has a win in the ARCA Menards Series.
How do you think Thorsport Racing is doing this year?
Parsons: I think Thorsport is better than they were last year and had a couple of wins last year. Overall, I believe they have been better than they were last year. They have only won one time this year, but there is plenty of time to get wins between now and the end of the year. Matt Crafton has done better this year and has the best average finish this year. Grant Enfinger has done a terrific job point-wise and has 40 more stage points then he had last year. Even though they may not have the wins, I think Thorsport has been very strong this year, and it will be a matter of time before they all get to victory lane.
How do you think Hattori and DGR Crosley have done this year?
Parsons: It does not surprise me that Austin Hill is doing well. He’s on a championship team but has had some bad luck the last few weeks. They got that win at Daytona, so all they have to do is peak at the right time. I think the team and Austin are capable of doing that. I think the other surprise besides the performance of Niece Motorsports is DGR-Crosley with the drivers they have, especially with Tyler Ankrum. Ankrum brought some excellent credentials winning the K&N East Championship last year, and so we knew he could get it done on the short tracks. No one had any idea if he was going to have speed on the speedways until he got that third place at Texas right after he turned 18. Everyone said this is a kid to keep an eye on. He then goes and wins at Kentucky and backs it up with a 2nd place finish at Pocono. I think the surprise of the year is Tyler Ankrum and the job that he has done. It doesn’t surprise me that DGR Crosley is running well; they are a great team with great people. However, what has surprised me is how Ankrum has stepped up this season.
Who do you think is the favorite this weekend at MIS?
Parsons: I think there are about 8 or 10 guys that have a really good chance of winning this weekend. But if I had to pick one, I would have to say, Brett Moffitt. He’s coming in with multiple wins at the track with two different teams so I’ll say Moffitt, but I think it’s anyone’s race especially with a lot the line regarding the playoffs.