Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6158)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

Past NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races on the historical and scenic Canadian Tire Motorsport Park road course have ended in hot tempers and dramatic last lap passes.

By comparison, Brett Moffitt’s 5.160-second victory in Sunday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 looked like a drive in the Park. The current series championship leader earned his second playoff win in as many 2019 playoff races with the largest Margin of Victory in the race’s seven-year history over one of the very best road course racers in the world – Canadian Alex Tagliani.

Ben Rhodes finished third followed by Sheldon Creed. Austin Hill and Johnny Sauter got around another Canadian, fellow truck series playoff driver Stewart Friesen, on the last lap to round out the top-six. Friesen still had a solid day, an impressive rally from last place on the starting grid to seventh at the checkered flag – forced to conserve fuel down the homestretch.

Four of the first six series races at the track were decided on the final lap. This year for Moffitt’s strong No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet team, it was instead a matter of making a strong statement – earning a convincing win and extending his playoff win streak to two with the final race of this opening playoff round set for Sept. 13 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Going back to the 2018 season – the defending series champion Moffitt has won four consecutive playoff races.

“As far as the team goes, I just feel like everyone at GMS all the way back from the fab shop on up has been doing a better job,’’ Moffitt said. “Our team personally has been communicating a lot better and just knowing what my words mean and what I need to find in the truck, I’d say we’re hitting our stride at the right time.

“It took a while to get here but before it was like we were missing a little bit everywhere and now we’re hitting on all cylinders.’’ Moffitt led 45 of the 64 laps.

Playoff driver Ross Chastain finished eighth and his nine laps led was the most by any driver other than Moffitt. Among the other playoff drivers - Tyler Ankrum finished ninth, Matt Crafton was 11th and regular season champion Grant Enfinger was 13th.

There were only three caution flags on the afternoon - two for stage endings.

As has often been the case in this seven-year old event, again the action intensified in the final laps. This year it was behind the leader.

Harrison Burton lost a motor while running in the top-five with two laps remaining, but was able to get off the track without bringing out a caution flag. The driver racing him hardest at the time, Friesen had to back off himself to conserve fuel on the final lap.

“It was a battle for sure,’’ Friesen said. “I screwed up in practice and wrecked the primary [truck]. But we were able to battle up through there and almost had a top-five but started running out of fuel at the end.

“We gave up a couple positions at the end but still got out of here with some points.’’

Two of the eight drivers will be eliminated from championship contention following the final playoff race of this round at Las Vegas in two weeks. With his two victories, Moffitt has an automatic berth in the next round. Chastain is second in the championship points standings, with a 22-point advantage on third-place Friesen.

Crafton is fourth in the championship standings, followed by Hill and Enfinger. Only four points separate Friesen, Crafton, Hill and Enfinger, however.

Two-time series champion Johnny Sauter sits a mere two-points behind his ThorSport Racing teammate Enfinger just outside the playoff bubble and 18-year old Ankrum is 14 points below the cutoff.

“You go into Vegas with a must-win mentality, that’s what I know I’ll do.’’ Sauter said.

With an uptick in their summer performance in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS), AM Racing driver Austin Wayne Self and his team head North of the Border for Sunday afternoon’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 looking to keep their recent momentum alive in the series’ lone road course race at the famed Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

It being one of Self’s favorite events of the year, the Austin, Texas native is ready to turn left and right this weekend with an eye on his fourth top-10 finish of the year.

With the addition of crew chief Eddie Troconis to call the shots for Self, the two have steadily and methodically become contenders in the ultra-competitive NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. And although in the early stages of the post-season Playoffs, the Mooresville, N.C.-based team is ready to make their own noise with just six races remaining in 2019.

“I’ve been ready to go to Canada for a while,” offered Self. “It’s one of my favorite races of the year. I don’t really consider myself a road course driver, but I’ve quickly become accustomed to that form of racing and seem to have a knack for it.

“Eddie and the AM Racing guys have worked hard on this road course truck over the last month or so and I’m eager to get back to Canada and see what we can put together.”

Knowing that Sunday’s race is usually packed full of excitement and even drama, Self isn’t hiding away from the fact that strategy could play hugely into the race and set the potential for the ultimate David vs. Goliath scenario that could propel Self to his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory.

“You just don’t know what to expect when it comes to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park,” Self-explained. “The action is always fierce, and the race very well could play out to a fuel mileage race. There’s a good group of trucks that are touting for that championship spotlight, but there are some pretty good teams not in the Playoffs that are trying to make their own statement and I feel like we’re one of those teams.

“Just have to keep our No. 22 GO TEXAN | AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet on-track and see what the checkered flag will bring.”

To aid in Self’s return to CTMP, the 23-year-old has been trying to familiarize with road course racing again with participation in road course schools and even non-stock car road course events.

In three prior starts at the Bowmanville, Ontario road course, Self has earned a track-best ninth in 2017, while qualifying a career-best 18th last August.

“Anything helps,” Self added. “If you get yourself tuned into road course mode, it just helps makes the transition seamless for our No. 22 GO TEXAN | AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet team.”

GO TEXAN, celebrating its 20th Birthday this year, represents Texas agri-business on state, national and international levels by building recognition with the GO TEXAN mark will continue its primary role with AM Racing this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Along with its signature mark in the shape of Texas, GO TEXAN celebrates, promotes and supports the business savvy and plainspoken grit Texas agriculture is known for throughout the world.

AM Technical Solutions, Don’t mess with Texas, CForce Bottling Company, Flying Circle and Kreuz Market will serve as associate partners in the 18th race of the year.

In 78 NGOTS races, the 2014 ARCA Menards Series Rookie of the Year has two top-fives (second at Daytona 2017, fifth at Michigan 2019) and seven top-10 finishes. The Texan maintains an average finish of 17.9 during his three years of competition.

The Austin, Texas native is nestled 14th in the championship standings with six races remaining.

For more on Austin Wayne Self, please visit awsracing.com, like his Facebook page (Austin Wayne Self) or follow him on Twitter @AustinWSelf.

For more on AM Racing, please visit AMRacingteam.com, like their Facebook page (AM Racing) or follow them on Twitter @AMRacingNASCAR. 

For more information on Don’t mess with Texas and how you can become involved in the program, visit dontmesswithtexas.org. 

Visit AM Technical Solutions (AMTS) online at amts.com.

For more on Flying Circle, please visit flyingcirclegear.com, like them on Facebook (FlyingCircleGear) and follow them on Instagram (@flyingcirclegear) and Twitter (@flyingcircle_). Also connect with Flying Circle on Pinterest and YouTube.

For additional information on CForce premium artesian water, please visit cforce.com.

For more on Kreuz Market, please visit kreuzmarket.com. like them on Facebook (KreuzMarketLockhart) and follow them on Twitter (@kreuzmarket).

The Chevrolet Silverado 250 (64 laps | 157.37 miles) is the 18th of 23 races on the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series schedule. Practice begins on Sat., Aug. 24 from 9:35 a.m. – 10:25 a.m., while final practice is set for 11:35 a.m. – 12:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Sun., Aug. 25 beginning at 9:35 a.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 2:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).

AM Racing PR

Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team survived a caution-filled UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway relatively unscathed to earn his 10th top-10 finish of the season. In two NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice sessions on Thursday morning, Gilliland posted the 13th-fastest lap in the first practice and was 18th-fastest in final practice. In one round of single-truck qualifying on Thursday afternoon, Gilliland earned the 17th starting spot on a slick track under sunny skies.
 
Under the lights at Thunder Valley, Gilliland struggled throughout the first stage, but crew chief Wes Ward and the No. 4 team made significant adjustments to work on the handling of the Mobil 1 Tundra and he was able to take advantage of the high rate of attrition and gain positions to finish in the top 10.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • On Thursday afternoon, Gilliland earned the 17th starting spot at the World's Fastest Half-Mile.
  • Under the lights on Thursday night, Gilliland struggled with the handling of his Mobil 1 Tundra, reporting that it was free on entry and exit of the corner but tight in the middle.
  • Gilliland finished the first stage in 18th and Ward brought him to pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and a multitude of adjustments.
Stage Two Recap:
  • The No. 4 began the second stage in 18th, after a pit stop for adjustments and this time began to work toward the front of the field in the second 55-lap segment, finishing in 12th.
  • He reported to Ward that the handling of the Mobil 1 Tundra had improved, but still needed work.
  • Following the second stage, Ward again brought Gilliland to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and more significant adjustments.
Stage Three Recap
  • Gilliland started the chaotic final stage in 11th and navigated his way through seven caution flags without major incident, remaining on the lead lap.
  • Ward opted to bring Gilliland to pit road under caution on lap 154 for four tires, fuel and additional adjustments.
  • Gilliland survived several late-race cautions and ultimately finished ninth, earning his 10th top-10 finish of the season.

TSC PR

Chandler Smith continued to make an impression in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in just his third series start. On Thursday morning, Smith was 11th-fastest in both Gander Trucks practices. Under the hot sun on Thursday afternoon, Smith earned the seventh starting spot in one round of single-truck qualifying on the legendary, high-banked half-mile.
 
The green flag for the UNOH 200 flew under the lights on Thursday evening, and Smith began the race in seventh. Within 26 laps, the talented teenager had moved into the top five, where he remained, only falling back momentarily following a four-tire pit stop. Smith aggressively pursued the lead in the closing laps through several caution periods and restarts, but came up just short to eventual winner Brett Moffitt.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • Smith, in his first Gander Trucks qualifying attempt at Bristol Motor Speedway, earned the seventh starting spot in one round of single-truck qualifying on Thursday afternoon.
  • The young driver quickly moved into the top-five, and reported that his Tundra had a slight loose handling condition.
  • He ultimately finished the first stage in fifth.
  • Following the first stage, crew chief Rudy Fugle kept the No. 51 iBUYPOWER machine on the track to maintain track position.
 
Stage Two Recap:
  • Smith began the second stage in third and remained there for most of the 55-lap segment.
  • He reported that the No. 51 Tundra was perfect and he finished the stage in third.
  • Following the second stage, Fugle brought him to pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and a very slight air pressure adjustment.
 
Stage Three Recap:
  • In the final 90-lap stage, Smith started sixth and fell back slightly, reporting that his Tundra had transitioned to a snug handling condition, meaning that it did not want to turn well in the corners.
  • Nevertheless, the 17-year-old, Georgia-native, worked his way back to the front of the field, avoiding the chaos of seven caution flags that marred the final stage.
  • In the closing laps, Smith used several restarts to try and work around the No. 24 machine in the lead, then despite significant contact from the No. 45 in an attempt to pass, easily held him off and earned his first runner-up finish in the Gander Trucks Series, crossing the stripe .743 seconds behind Moffitt.
  • In three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts, Smith has finished eighth, fourth and second with an average finish of 4.7. He is scheduled to return to a Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra in November at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz.

KBM PR

Harrison Burton and the Safelite AutoGlass team experienced a parts failure just before the end of Stage Two in Thursday night's UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway and were forced to remain on pit road for several laps to address the issue. Burton would return to the track scored seven laps down in the 27th position. Attrition would allow the No. 18 team to gain spots in the closing laps of the race and end the night with a 23rd-place finish.
Stage One Recap:  
  • Burton earned the 10th starting position for the 200-lap event, but fell back one spot to 11th once the green flag waved.
  • The Safelite Tundra restarted 11th for a lap-10 restart and by the time the field crossed the stripe at lap 55 to complete the opening stage had fallen back to 13th as he battled handling issues. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • Veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with a major trackbar adjustment in an effort to improve the handling of the No. 18 Toyota.
  • Burton was scored in the 12h position when Stage Two went green on lap 67. He maintained the 12th spot during two early cautions in Stage Two.
  • On lap 90 he had fallen back one spot to 13th when he communicated that something weird was going on with his Safelite Tundra.
  • Hillman Jr. communicated to his young driver that there was an issue with the left-rear shock and to try to take care of the truck until the end of Stage Two in an effort to keep from going a lap down.
  • Burton was able to maintain his position on the lead lap and crossed the stripe 18th when the stage came to a close on lap 110.
Final Stage Recap:  
  • After lengthy repairs under caution, Burton returned to the track scored 27th, seven laps down, as the field took the green to start the Final Stage on lap 123.
  • Over the course of the seven cautions in the Final Stage, the Safelite Tundra was able to slowly move up the running order as other competitors went to the garage and ended the night scored in the 23rd position. 

KBM PR

Austin Hill opened his first-career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoff run with a 10th-place finish on Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). Hill muscled the No. 16 Toyota Tsusho Toyota Tundra to his best finish at “The World’s Fastest Half Mile” in four starts. After one event in the opening round of the Gander Trucks playoffs, Hill sits seventh in the standings, three points below the cut line.
Hill’s evening began from the eighth position, which was a track-best qualifying effort for him at BMS. During the opening 55-lap stage, Hill wrestled with a handling condition on the entry and exit of both corners on the high-banked half mile. Hill managed to stay inside the top 10 and ran 10th at the end of Stage 1 to earn one point.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli called Hill to pit road for four tires under the lap 57 caution for four tires and a chassis adjustment to alleviate his handling issues. After restarting 13th on lap 67, Hill raced in and around the top 10 and finished 11th in Stage 2 on lap 110. Hill received four fresh tires from the Toyota Tsusho team under caution on lap 117 and restarted the final stage in 13th.
The final segment to the finish was littered with seven caution flags which produced as many restarts. Hill was forced to restart on the ill-preferred outside lane on numerous restarts but managed to maintain position inside the top 15. Zipadelli elected to play offense and pitted Hill under caution on lap 170 for cooler "scuffed" tires and to make an adjustment. Over the final 27 laps, Hill took full advantage of the tires and adjustments to advance from 17th to finish 10th. The result was Hill’s ninth top-10 finish of the season, and his first consecutive top-10 finishes since June. 
Austin Hill Quote:
“I actually told my guys in here that out of all the seven races on the Playoff schedule, this is my weakest one. It’s a 10th-place finish, I’ll take it and run. Man, we fought all night. We made a gutsy call there at the end of the race to take four tires and make a big chassis adjustment. I just fought tight all night long, but was able to get back through there and get to a top 10 and that’s kind of really all we were asking for was to get a nice top 10 out of here, especially knowing how this race goes. We knew that a few of the other Playoff guys were having a little bit of issues, so the number one goal was to finish in front of a few of them and we did. We’ll take our Toyota Tsusho Tundra to the Canadian Tire road course and go have some fun there.”

HRE PR

Making his third and final NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the season for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), Raphael Lessard had the No. 46 Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra in position for a top-five finish late in the UNOH 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but contact from the No. 45 truck sent him spinning with 25 laps remaining. After getting his Toyota going in the right direction, Lessard was forced to hit pit road for a set of scuffed tires under caution. The talented Canadian teenager restarted 19th with 22 laps remaining, but was able to maneuver his way forward in the closing laps and ended the night with a 12th-place finish.
 
Stage One Recap: 
  • Lessard started the 200-lap event from the 16th position after experiencing a loose handling Tundra in Thursday afternoon's qualifying session.
  • In the early stages of the race, the young driver continued to report that his No. 46 Toyota was "too loose" and fell back to the 19th position on lap 20. As the field began to spread out, his truck came to life and he began to make his way back forward. When the field crossed the stripe to end Stage One on lap 55, he was scored in the 15th position. 
Stage Two Recap: 
  • In an effort to improve track position for his young driver, veteran crew chief Marcus Richmond elected not to pit between stages.
  • The Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra was scored in the eighth position when Stage Two went green on lap 67. With the inside lane being preferred, Lessard got shuffled back to the 10th position before a quick caution slowed the field.
  • On the ensuing restart, the Canadian driver was able to gain one spot before a two-truck accident slowed the field for the fourth time just two laps later.
  • With one truck ahead of him hitting pit road, the Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra moved up one position to eighth for the lap-79 restart.
  • Lessard was able to maintain the eighth position and would remain there when Stage Two came to completion on lap 110. 
Final Stage Recap: 
  • Lessard communicated that his Toyota was still "loose off," before hitting pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. The No. 46 Toyota was scored in the 11th position when the Final Stage went green on lap 121.
  • After a strong restart, the talented teenager was able to make maneuver his way up to seventh, where he was scored when the field was slowed for the sixth time on lap 130.
  • Lessard maintained the seventh spot on the ensuing restart, before another caution occurred, and then gained three positions on the lap-142 restart. He had maintained the fourth position when a two-truck accident occurred with 50 laps remaining.
  • The No. 46 Toyota lost a spot to his teammate, Chandler Smith, on the next restart and then got a bump from the No. 45 truck for the first time. Lessard maintained the fifth position until the next caution occurred with 33 laps remaining.
  • Shortly after the race went back green with 27 laps remaining, Lessard got turned by the No. 46 truck and came to rest at the bottom of Turn 3. He quickly got spun back in the right direction and when pit road opened came to the attention of his over-the-wall crew ,who put on a set of scuffed tires.
  • The Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra would regain the field scored in 19th for the restart with 22 laps remaining. Over the course of two more cautions, Lessard was able to make his way back up to the 12th position before the field took the checkered flag on lap 200.

KBM PR

Top-seeded Brett Moffitt held off determined 17-year-old Chandler Smith after a restart with three laps left and took home the trophy in Thursday night’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

With the victory in the first event of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs, Moffitt, the defending series champion, gained an automatic berth in the Round of 6, as other Playoff contenders either overcame adversity or succumbed to it.

“It was tough,” Moffitt said in Victory Lane. “Our (No. 24) Silverado was strong on long runs, but it was hard to get fired off. So it was really tough just getting the first couple of laps under our belt after a restart.

“There’s no more important win than right now for the season, getting into the Round of 6, so we’ll take this and move on with it. We’re playing with house money now. We still want to go get points and ultimately win races and get Playoff points to set ourselves up with a little safety net for the next round.  But now we’ll just go and race to win, and the pressure’s off.”

In his third start in the Truck Series, Smith held his own to the inside of Moffitt for one lap after the final restart, but Moffitt cleared Smith’s No. 51 Toyota on lap 199 and pulled away to win by .743 seconds. Playoff driver Ross Chastain overcame a violation for an uncontrolled tire to run third, muscling his way through the field and drawing ire from competitors along the way.

Stewart Friesen recovered from a spin off the nose of Matt Crafton’s Toyota, as the two Playoff drivers raced in close quarters around the truck of Tyler Dippel. Regular-season champion Grant Enfinger, the only driver other than Moffitt and Chastain to lead laps, ran fifth.

Sheldon Creed, Crafton, Ben Rhodes, Todd Gilliland and Playoff driver Austin Hill completed the top 10, though the latter two lost considerable ground to the Playoff leaders.

After an action-filled race that produced 12 cautions for 73 laps, Chastain was unapologetic for the aggressive style that carried him to a third-place finish.

“We put ourselves in a hole there with that one pit stop,” Chastain said. “Yeah, I hate that, but the fastest truck didn’t win tonight. Congrats to Brett… But it’s one lane—it’s the old Bristol. They took the top (of the concrete track) and ground it without telling us, or they didn’t tell me.

“So it was one lane around the bottom. That’s what built this place. You come through this tunnel, and there’s talk about rattling cages, there’s helmets thrown. If we’re going to fill these places up, the CarShield Chevy’s going to be the one that adds to the excitement.”

After the race, several crew chiefs approached Chastain to express their displeasure.

“I think the crew chiefs come down here and puff their chests out—they’re old washed-up race car drivers,” Chastain said. “I love Marcus (Richmond) and Rudy (Fugle), but, my goodness, let your drivers come handle it. And one at a time, line ‘em up, and let’s race. And let’s handle it after, outside the race car.

“Obviously, I’m no stranger to this.”

Bad luck continued to follow Playoff driver Johnny Sauter who suffered hard contact from John Hunter Nemechek’s truck on Lap 75—after Sauter turned Nemechek. After a litany of subsequent incidents, Sauter drove his battered No. 13 Ford to an 11th-place finish and is clinging to the sixth spot in the standings by three points over Hill.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Tyler Ankrum fared worst of all. His No. 17 Toyota developed electric problems, relegating the 18-year-old to a 20th-place result, six laps down. Ankrum heads to the Aug. 25 race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last in the Playoff standings and 13 points behind Sauter.

If the race had plenty of contact in the heat of battle, it also had a moment of comic relief. After a wreck on Lap 182 caused the 11th caution, a wrecker attempting to push Natalie Decker’s No. 54 Toyota spun the truck instead. Decker retired from the race in 25th place.

But Moffitt finished where he started—from the pole and in the Playoff lead. He now holds a 16-point lead over Chastain in second and a free pass to the next round of the Playoffs.

Brett Moffitt took home the checkered flag on Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway after holding off Chandler Smith on a restart with three laps to go. Moffitt, piloting the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet, started on the pole and led 65 of the 200 circuits.

The driver from Iowa will leave the 0.533-mile concrete oval with his third victory of the season and clinching a spot into round two of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs.

The reigning series champion will head to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Canada with 10 top five and 12 top 10 finishes.

Chandler Smith will leave the Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday with the runner-up spot. Smith, piloting the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, started the night in seventh and finished stage one in fifth and stage two in third.

The Georgia native, holding four wins in the ARCA Menards Series in 2019, made his third career start in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on Thursday. Smith earned his second top five finish – besting his fourth-place finish at Gateway Motorsports Park in June.

Ross Chastain had an up and down night behind the wheel of his No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet. The winner of stage one was popped for a safety violation while pitting in the middle of Thursday’s UNOH 200 and had to restart at the tail of the field.

The Florida native battled eventual race winner Brett Moffitt for the stage two victory – which Moffitt just barely got around Chastain for the spot on lap 110. The championship favorite led 78 of the 200 laps and will leave the track with a third-place finish.

Stewart Friesen and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top five.

Sheldon Creed, Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes, Todd Gilliland and Austin Hill rounded out the top 10 finishers.

Race winner Brett Moffitt leads the Playoff points by 16 points over Ross Chastain. Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter, Austin Hill and Tyler Ankrum are the top eight in the Playoff standings.

The series will travel north of the border to the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for the Chevrolet Silverado 250 on August 25th. The event will air live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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