Picks for the NC Education Lottery 200 –Truck Series (2022)
Last week’s Truck Series race at Texas featured a pair of sleepers battling for the win. Stewart Friesen led a race-high 60 laps, but he was second to Christian Eckes on the final restart. Friesen passed Eckes on the final lap to score his first victory since 2019.
It was tough for my betting picks because we had Eckes at (+1400). This week, the Truck Series will head to another 1.5-mile track. Charlotte Motor Speedway will be the site of the NC Education Lottery 200.
Here are my top picks for Friday night’s race.
Kyle Busch (-110)
Kyle Busch will return to the Truck Series for his fourth start of 2022. Busch has led 31 laps in two starts, but he’s yet to find victory lane. That’s surprising for Busch in the Truck Series, but there’s a strong chance that ends at Charlotte.
Busch is great everywhere in the Truck Series, but I don’t think anything can match his Charlotte numbers.
- 14 starts
- 8 wins
- 12 top-five finishes
- 13 top 10 finishes
- 789 laps led
- 2.5 average finish
Busch made his first Truck Series start at Charlotte as a 20-year-old in 2005. He led 77 of 136 laps en route to the victory. That was the start of a historic run at Charlotte for Busch.
He won twice in his first five starts, but that changed when he began driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Busch has six wins and three second-place finishes in nine starts with his own team.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know those numbers are good. Busch has flat-out dominated Charlotte in his Truck Series career. It doesn’t matter what his price is on the top NASCAR betting sites. Busch should be one of your top picks.
Ben Rhodes (+1800)
Ben Rhodes has cooled off after a great start to the 2022 season. The 2021 Truck Series Champion had five top-five finishes in his first six races, but he has finished 10th or worse in three straight races.
We know Rhodes is capable of turning things around. It wouldn’t surprise me if that happened at Charlotte. He hasn’t won at Charlotte in his Truck Series career, but Rhodes has been consistent.
- 2017: 8th
- 2018: 5th
- 2019: 4th
- 2020: 10th
- 2021: 3rd
Rhodes has steadily improved at Charlotte. It’s surprising that his worst finish in that stretch was in 2020 because he started on the pole in that race. He only led two laps before finishing 10th.
There wasn’t much to like about his performance at Texas, but Rhodes has been strong on 1.5-mile tracks in 2022. He won both stages at Las Vegas, but a crash left him with a disappointing finish. He followed that with a runner-up finish at Atlanta.
It’s only a matter of time before Rhodes breaks out of his cold streak. Charlotte seems like an optimal place to do it. Hopefully, we’ll see him in contention on Friday night.
Stewart Friesen (+2000)
Before last week, I probably wouldn’t have considered putting Stewart Friesen in my top picks for Charlotte. Friesen had a great performance earlier this season at Atlanta, but he entered Texas with four straight finishes outside the top 10.
It didn’t take long for us to realize Friesen would be a top contender in that Texas race. Check out his performance.
- Starting Position: 3rd
- Stage 1 Finish: 2nd
- Stage 2 Finish: 2nd
- Race Finish: 1st
- Laps Led: 60 of 149
- Driver Rating: 143.9 (1st)
It looked like Friesen would come up short, but a late caution gave him a chance. He passed Christian Eckes on the final lap to win the 2022 SpeedyCash.com 220.
That victory should give Friesen plenty of momentum for Charlotte. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he has good numbers in five starts at the track.
Friesen has finished sixth or better in three of his five starts at Charlotte. Last season, he scored a fourth-place finish. Combine that with last week’s victory, and Friesen should have high hopes for Charlotte.
Can he make it two straight victories? It’d be a long shot, but we’ve already seen him surprise us this season.
Carson Hocevar (+2500)
It’s never easy to capture your first career Truck Series victory. Carson Hocevar is learning that the hard way. Hocevar has been in contention to win multiple races in 2022.
He didn’t have the best start to the season, finishing outside the top 10 in three of his first five races. However, we’ve seen a different driver lately. Check out his finishes in the last four Truck Series races.
- Bristol Dirt: 2nd
- Darlington: 2nd
- Kansas: 15th
- Texas: 4th
Hocevar led 55 laps in the Bristol Dirt race. He was in a strong position to win, but a rash of late-race cautions allowed Ben Rhodes to snag the lead. Hocevar was in contention at Darlington but couldn’t overcome a dominant John Hunter Nemechek.
Unfortunately, it was a similar story in last year’s Truck Series race at Charlotte. Nemechek led 71 laps en route to the victory. Hocevar finished second in his lone start at the track.
It’s only a matter of time before Hocevar visits victory lane. His odds present too much value for a driver with three top-five finishes in his last four starts. I wouldn’t mind backing him for Charlotte.
Who Will Win the 2022 NC Education Lottery 200?
Did you expect anyone else? Kyle Busch will never give you value in a Truck Series race, but it’s hard to pick against him. It’s nearly impossible when he races at Charlotte.
Busch hasn’t finished worse than second in nine starts with Kyle Busch Motorsports at Charlotte. If that stays true, he has a 50/50 chance of winning the NC Education Lottery 200. I have much confidence in his ability to score another victory.
The Truck Series race at Charlotte is Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1. Please visit Bovada to wager on the action.