Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6201)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced today that 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Labonte will serve as Honorary Starter and 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ron Hornaday Jr. will serve as Grand Marshal at this year's NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 26. 

“We are honored to have 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ron Hornaday Jr. as Grand Marshal and 2020 inductee Bobby Labonte as Honorary Starter at the first NASCAR Hall of Fame 200,” said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “Ron is the series’ only four-time champion. As the 2000 premier series champion and 1992 Xfinity champion, Bobby is one of only 31 drivers who has won races in all three NASCAR national series with his lone truck series win coming at Martinsville.”

Both Hornaday Jr. and Labonte are truck series champions. Hornaday Jr. is a four-time truck series champion and 51-time truck series winner and Labonte earned his only NASCAR truck series win at Martinsville Speedway In 2005. 

“We appreciate the NASCAR Hall of Fame making it possible to have two great NASCAR champions available to meet our fans Saturday morning before the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “Having Ron and Bobby be a part of our race weekend is special for everyone at Martinsville Speedway.”

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is offering several one-of-a-kind experiences for fans at this year's races including:

Complimentary Autograph Sessions - Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27
The NASCAR Hall of Fame will have Hall of Famers stopping by its merchandise tent located by the main ticket office all weekend long for complimentary autograph sessions, including Ron Hornaday Jr. and Bobby Labonte on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10:30 - 11:15 a.m. and Leonard Wood on Sunday, Oct. 27 from 10:30 - 11:15 a.m. 

Racing Insiders Tour Road Trip - Martinsville - Sunday, Oct. 27
This perk-filled package ($299 per person) plots an unforgettable race day experience from start to finish. Fans can watch the first race of the Round of 8 playoffs from the comfort of the NASCAR Hall of Fame speedway suite with race day catering, private restrooms and a television featuring the live track feed. This package also includes access to pre-race activities including driver introductions, a Q&A with special suite guests – including NASCAR Hall of Famers Jack Roush, Richard Childress and Leonard Wood – and a pre-race pit pass. Get tickets here.Transportation to and from the track is not provided.

Complimentary Grandstand Tickets- Sunday, Oct. 27 
The NASCAR Hall of Fame has a limited amount of tickets for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 race at Martinsville Speedway for fans that give a charitable donation of $50 or more to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Foundation or purchase a $50 NASCAR Hall of Fame gift certificate online or on site at the NASCAR Hall of Fame box office. 

The NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 will be the second race in the NASCAR Playoffs’ “Round of 6” for the Gander Trucks, with six drivers still in championship contention coming into the historic half-mile oval.

Following the Martinsville weekend, the Gander Trucks will race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. Post-Phoenix, the list of contenders will be reduced to an elite four, going into the season finale on Nov. 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 will preface the Oct. 27 First Data 500 at Martinsville, the first of three “round of 8” playoff races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Tickets to the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200, the First Data 500 and all Martinsville Speedway events can be purchased online at martinsvillespeedway.com or by calling 877.RACE.TIX.

NHOF PR

Fresh off the first win of his NASCAR career, Spencer Boyd is proud to announce a new partnership with ORORO ® Heated Apparel.  ORORO’s mission is to empower everyone to never again let the weather dictate their outfits with quality and affordable heated apparel.
 
“It was a crazy week,” reflects Boyd.  “There were a lot of media appearances and just as many sponsorship calls.  One of those calls was with Mark from ORORO and we were able to put a primary sponsorship at Martinsville together.  With fall finally here and winter around the corner, I could think of no better sponsor than the most trusted heated apparel brand in the USA.”
 
‘Don’t let your life be dictated by a thermometer’ - ORORO wants to enable everybody to ‘Challenge the Climate’ with ORORO® battery heated apparel line for both men and women. ORORO’s 2019-20 product line-up includes heated vests, fleeces, jackets, hoodies, parka and gloves. With built-in safe carbon fiber heating elements powered by Lithium-ion batteries for up to 10 hours of working hours, ORORO® Heated Apparel is perfect for staying toasty without the layers in any season.
 
Mark H., Co-Founder of ORORO commented, “We grew up in the Midwest just like Spencer.  The weather is always changing there so we wanted to create something that made staying warm and comfortable easier.  We saw Spencer’s win and thought he would be a great spokesperson for our brand.  Plus, didn’t it snow at a Martinsville race recently?  I invite all NASCAR fans to leave the layers at home and use BOYD20 for 20% off ORORO heated clothing at www.ororowear.com for a more comfortable race weekend.”
 
The 24 year old race winner is looking to take the momentum from Talladega and turn it into redemption at Martinsville.  The No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado was plagued by engine issues at the spring race at the famed paperclip earlier this year.  “I like this race track a lot,” says Boyd.  “I grew up racing on short tracks.  I’ve got a new sponsor.  There’s a win sticker on my truck.  It’s going to a great weekend in Martinsville, VA.”
 
The NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday October 26, 2019 will mark the first appearance in NASCAR for ORORO ® Heated Apparel.  The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race can be seem live on FS1 or heard on the Motor Racing Network or Sirius XM Radio Channel 90 beginning at 12:30pm ET.

Spencer Boyd PR

DGR-Crosley announced today that Tanner Gray will make his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut for the team driving the No. 15 Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Toyota Tundra at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on October 26. Gray will follow-up his debut by making starts at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. and Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway to close out the 2019 season.
Gray, a 20-year-old NHRA Pro Stock Champion, made the transition to oval track racing in 2019, where he competed full time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series as well as picking up select ARCA Menards Series races. In his rookie K&N season, Gray closed out the year with a second-place finish at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, moving him up to third in the K&N Pro Series East Championship point standings. With combined results between his 15 K&N Pro Series East and West starts, Gray collected one win, nine top-five, and twelve top-10 finishes. He also collected three Pole awards throughout the season. 
“I’m excited to make the step up to the Truck Series,” said Gray. “I think it’s going to be challenging, but I’m ready to take the next step with my DGR-Crosley guys. We’ve been preparing for this all season, and I think the best way to learn is to go out and do it. Between testing and spending time in the Toyota simulator, I think I have a good feel for Martinsville and will be able to adapt quickly. We will have three practice sessions to get acclimated and get the truck where it needs to be. We just need to keep our nose clean in the race and have a solid day on pit road.”
Gray’s K&N Pro Series team will make the transition to the Truck Series with him for the remainder of the season. Seth Smith will cover crew chief duties as veteran Cup Series spotter Eddie D’Hondt guides the young driver from the spotter stand. 
“I'm really looking forward to Tanner's Truck debut after the building season that he's had,” said crew chief Seth Smith. "He's learned a lot from where he started at the beginning of the season to where he's at now. We tested at Martinsville and I feel like we had a really successful test session. I'm looking forward to racing there, as well as Phoenix and Homestead to finish out the year."
Gray will take to Martinsville Speedway for the first time on Friday, October 25, for practice before the series qualifies and races on Saturday, October 26. 
DGR Crosley PR

Jeb Burton will make his second start with Niece Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 26.

“I’m excited to get back behind the wheel of one of these Niece Motorsports Chevrolets again,” said Burton.  “Martinsville is certainly a very special track to me, and a place that I have a lot of experience, so I’m confident that we can turn that into a strong result.”

Burton’s debut with Niece Motorsports came earlier this season at Kentucky Speedway, behind the wheel of the No. 44 Alsco/State Water Heaters Chevrolet Silverado.  In his 54th NGOTS start, Burton was able to earn his 20th top-10 in the series after starting 28th and finishing ninth.

The Virginia-native is no stranger to Martinsville; growing up racing late models at the ‘paper clip’.  In addition, Burton has four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts, and seven NGOTS starts at Martinsville.

In his seven NGOTS starts at the half-mile track, Burton has earned one pole, which came in 2013.  At a track where passing is tough and track position is paramount, Burton has qualified in the top-10 on four occasions. His best finish at the track is two third-place results, both coming in 2013.

The No. 44 Chevrolet will carry the Alsco, State Water Heaters and Puryear Tank Lines colors at Martinsville.

Alsco was the first to offer linen and uniform rental services when founder, George A. Steiner, transformed a Lincoln, Nebraska, towel delivery route into a thriving commercial linen business, now headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Alsco has been an industry pioneer since 1889, blazing the trail for the laundering and delivery of ready-to-wear uniforms, starting with aprons and then moving on to every type of workwear application imaginable. Alsco also invented the continuous roll towel dispenser and pioneered the use of on-site garment lockers.

Neice Motorsports PR

Natalie Decker was in action Saturday, October 12th at Talladega Superspeedway, wheeling her No. 54 N29 Technologies LLC Toyota Tundra for DGR-Crosley.

After a full day of practice on Friday, Saturday's action kicked off with qualifying in the morning. Decker clocked in a 53.946, putting her in the 19th position to start the race.

In the first stages, Decker gained her comfortability from the back of the lead pack with it being her first Dega run in the truck. Additionally, when you consider her misfortune back in the season opener at Daytona on lap one, she considered this her first Superspeedway race in the truck.

"I was so excited to technically do my first superspeedway race in the truck series!" said Decker, "I love Talladega, and it was a great race!"

In the final stage they planned to pit with a few other trucks which would help to catch back up to the pack after pitting however as those trucks decided to peel off Decker was unable to pump up the brakes enough to slow the truck down and exit onto pit road forcing her to make another lap before pitting. Decker exited single car and with no help which ended up putting her a lap down.

With Talladega, comes the forward notion that carnage is always inevitable. Saturday was no different in that fact, with five cautions due to incidents and seven if you include the stage ends. Natalie was able to keep her truck clean and out of trouble through all of these incidents.

"The whole team worked really well together, and we missed a lot of wrecks," explained Decker.

There were two in particular that could have easily caused her trouble. The first one was on lap 10 as Harrison Burton in the No. 18 went for a spin in the tri-oval on the high side.

Decker went low on the apron, exiting the tri-oval to avoid this one.

Later near the end of the race, Ross Chastain in the No. 45 sparked the "Big One" of the race on lap 89, which involved 10 total trucks.  Decker was doing her best to get slowed down as Chastain and Timothy Peters in the No. 87 continued to collide in front of her blocking her from taking the high line. She was able to slow the truck down, as it slid off the track, following the path of Chastain.

However, despite ending up in the grass in turn four, Decker was able to stop her No. 54 machine and avoid any contact with others, coming to rest just inches away from Chastain's No. 45 machine. She fired back up, backed up, to get back on track and into the pits for tires.

The field was then frozen with a red flag as crews cleaned up the remnants of the carnage. Once they got back under yellow, Decker went back out, but had to start at the tail end of the field for pitting too early, one of four trucks that served this infraction after that wreck.

There was one final incident that happened on the track, with the No. 12 of Gus Dean getting spun while running in 3rd. This sent him nose-first into the inside wall hard. Dean was able to get out and checkout clear from the infield care center.

The final restart was a clean one as the field wrapped up the Sugarlands Shine 250, with Natalie crossing the finish line in 16th, just one lap down. It marks her 4th top 16 finish of the season. She will now take a week off from the track before heading the Martinsville Speedway for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 on Saturday, October 26th.

"Wish we could've had a better finish than 16th." says Decker, "However, we will definitely take it and have good momentum going into Martinsville!"

NDR PR

Austin Hill earned his best-career finish at Talladega Superspeedway with a sixth-place result on Saturday afternoon. Hill opened the Round of 6 with his fourth-consecutive top-10 of the playoffs and sits third in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series playoff standings, 12 points above the cut line.
Hill and the No. 16 United Rentals team paced the field in Friday’s opening practice session and took the green flag from the 13th position on Saturday afternoon. During the race’s opening 20-lap stage, Hill exercised a great deal of patience navigating his way through the chaotic lead draft and entered the top-10 on a lap 15 restart. A series of thrifty maneuvers in the draft netted him the seventh position and four points at the end of Stage 1 on lap 20.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli elected to take fuel only under the lap 21 caution to maintain as much track position as possible. Hill immediately climbed his way into contention, despite limited green-flag laps in Stage 2, and took the lead on lap 36. Hill held the lead briefly before a lack of drafting help shuffled him outside the top 10 at the stage break.
Zipadelli bolted on two tires and added fuel under the lap 41 caution for Hill to continue to run in contention during the race’s second half. The three-time race winner ran inside the top-10 before making his last pit stop for fuel only on lap 67. He cycled out to run in seventh place in a small, controlled lead draft of nine trucks that were positioned to settle the win among themselves. However, a caution on lap 83 of 94 bunched the field together to set up a chaotic finish.
While running seventh on lap 88, a multi-truck crash erupted in front of Hill, which he miraculously escaped without incident. The final caution on lap 93 sent the race into overtime where Hill restarted eighth and made a strong bid for a top-five position but took the checkered flag seventh. Following the race, the leader was black flagged for forcing a competitor below the out-of-bounds yellow line and gave Hill a sixth-place finish in the official results.
Austin Hill Quote:
“To get a sixth-place finish is pretty crazy to me, because any time I would pick a different lane, or go somewhere else, nobody really seemed to want to work with me or push me – a select few. We’ll go back and talk about it, look at it. We’re not really happy with that. We felt like we should have had a shot at winning the race. We were leading Stage 2 with two to go and the Chevy train on the outside was coming really hard. I thought about going to block and try to get up there. But I figured I’d get wrecked. I had two Toyotas stacked up behind me anyways, so I stayed down low…Just a really frustrating day. I’ve just been frustrated ever since lap 1 really. We’ll go back and talk about it, look it over, but I wasn’t really happy with how it ended.”

HRE PR

Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team earned a top-five finish at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday in the Sugarlands Shine 250 in his second start at the famed Alabama track. On Friday, Gilliland was 18th-fastest and second-fastest in two practice sessions. In one round of single-truck qualifying on a cool Saturday morning, Gilliland earned the sixth starting spot.
 
Gilliland began the race in sixth, but quickly jumped to the front of the pack, then dropped back through several early caution periods and red flag. For the remainder of the race, Gilliland was consistently near the front of the pack in the Mobil 1 Tundra, leading once again in the final stage. Ultimately, after a late race caution and the disqualification of the first-place truck, Gilliland claimed the runner-up finish.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • In one round of single vehicle qualifying, Gilliland set a lap of 53.233 seconds and 179.922 mph, earning the sixth starting position.
  • The young driver immediately jumped to the front of the field, leading Lap 2.
  • Although he was shuffled back in the pack, Gilliland remained in the top-10, reporting that his Tundra was battling a tight handling condition and lacked front grip.
  • After a lengthy red flag for fluid cleanup, Gilliland restarted in 11th, fell back to 19th, and then surged forward to finish the stage in ninth.
  • Following the conclusion of the first stage, crew chief Wes Ward called Gilliland to pit road for left side tires and fuel.
Stage Two Recap:
  • After a quick pit stop between stages, Gilliland began the second stage in ninth.
  • Under caution on lap 30, Gilliland reported that his Tundra was "plowing tight."
  • The 19-year-old finished the second stage in ninth and Ward once again brought him to pit road for two tires and fuel.
Stage Three Recap
  • Gilliland began the final stage in eighth.
  • He quickly piloted his No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra to the lead, leading six laps before getting shuffled out of the lead.
  • Under green flag conditions, Ward called him to pit road on lap 64 for a scheduled fuel-only pit stop.
  • Once stops cycled through, Gilliland was again in the top-five.
  • Gilliland survived a late race wreck and restart in overtime to cross the line in third, but the apparent winner, Johnny Sauter, was disqualified after NASCAR reviewed the finish, and Gilliland gained one spot to finish second, his fifth top-five of 2019.

KBM PR

At Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, Riley Herbst earned his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series top-five finish in just his seventh start, and the fourth top-three finish in a row for the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra. Since Bristol in August, four different drivers have earned second or third place finishes in the No. 51. On Friday, Herbst was 15th-fastest and fourth-fastest in two Gander Trucks practice sessions. On Saturday morning in one round of single vehicle qualifying, the No. 51 Monster Energy/Advance Auto Parts team earned the seventh starting spot.
 
In his first start at Talladega in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Herbst fell back momentarily as he got used to pack racing in the Truck Series. Once he got the hang of it, he was quiet on the radio for most of the event, continuing to run near the front of the field. In the closing laps, while battling for the lead, the No. 51 was forced below the "out-of-bounds" yellow line by the No. 13 who was eventually stripped of the win. Herbst was able to bring the No. 51 Monster Energy/Advance Auto Parts machine home in third.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • Herbst qualified the No. 51 Monster Energy/Advance Auto Parts Tundra in the seventh position in one round of single-vehicle qualifying.
  • The Las Vegas-native remained in the lead pack for the first stage, with crew chief Rudy Fugle bringing him to pit road for fuel only under caution on lap 10.
  • Herbst finished the first stage in sixth.  
  • Fugle made the call to stay out after the conclusion of the first stage.
 
Stage Two Recap:
  • Because he stayed out, Herbst began the second stage in the second position.
  • The young driver spent most of the second stage in the top-five, but was shuffled back to the 11th position as the stage ended.
  • Herbst reported that he had no handling issues with his Tundra and that it was a fast truck.
  • Following the second stage, Fugle brought him to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel.
 
Stage Three Recap:
  • Herbst began the final stage in 16th after making the four-tire stop.
  • Under green flag conditions on lap 65, Fugle brought him to pit road for a scheduled pit stop for fuel only.
  • The talented teenager was soon back in the top-five, where he remained through the late-race mayhem, challenging for the lead in the final laps before being forced below the yellow "out-of-bounds" line by Johnny Sauter, and ultimately relegated to a third-place finish after Sauter was stripped of the win.
  • This was Herbst's first top-five finish in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in his seventh start, and the fourth top-three finish for the No. 51 team in the last four races, with four different drivers behind the wheel.

KBM PR

Harrison Burton had an eventful race in his first start in any series at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Burton started third, but brought out the first caution of the event when things in front of him got bottled up on lap 10 and he spun while trying to avoid making contact with another competitor.
 
The talented teenager was able to avoid contact with the wall, but flat spotted all four tires and was forced to limp back to pit road. After getting four fresh tires on the Safelite Tundra, he returned to the track one lap down. When Stage One ended Burton received the Lucky Dog and would spend most of the remainder of the race running inside the top five.
 
Burton would get caught up in the "Big One" with seven laps remaining when Ross Chastain made an aggressive move while leading and clipped Grant Enfinger, who was directly in front of Burton. Once again, Burton was forced to pit road for four fresh tires and repairs to the nose and left side of the No. 18 Toyota.
 
The Safelite Tundra would restart 14th when the field took the green with three laps to go, but rocketed up the middle lane and one lap later when the caution flew was in the fourth spot. Burton was scored third when the field took the white flag, but got shuffled back on the final lap and crossed the stripe 11th.
 
Stage One Recap: 
  • Burton earned the third starting position in Saturday morning's qualifying session.
  • The 19-year-old rookie experienced his first setback of the event after spinning on lap 10.
  • After bringing his Tundra to the attention of his pit crew, Burton restarted one lap down in the 30th position.
  • At the completion of Stage One, he was awarded the Lucky Dog and returned to the lead lap. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • The Safelite Tundra visited pit road for four fresh tires and a full load of fuel between stages. Burton was scored in the 30th position when Stage Two went green on lap 26.
  • After the third caution of the event occurred on lap 30, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his driver to pit road for a fuel-only stop.
  • Burton took the lap-34 restart from the 22nd position, but over the final six laps of the stage was able to maneuver his way up to 12th. 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • The Safelite Tundra visited pit road between stages to top off with fuel and Burton returned to the track scored in the third position when the Final Stage went green on lap 47.
  • On lap 67, Hillman Jr. was inside his pit window and ordered up another fuel-only stop.
  • On lap 74, when pit stops had cycled through, the Safelite Tundra was scored in the third position, one of just 14 trucks on the lead lap.
  • Burton was running third, one of nine trucks that had broke away from the second pack, when a one-truck spin brought out the caution for the fifth time in the event.
  • Shortly after the ensuing restart, Chastain tried blocking Sheldon Creed and caused a 10-truck accident that included Burton.
  • After a visit to pit road for minor damage repair and four fresh tires, Burton lined up 14th for the restart with three laps remaining.
  • After catapulting up the middle, the No. 18 Toyota was scored in the fourth spot when another caution occurred just before the field took the white flag and set up NASCAR overtime.
  • Burton was scored third when the field took the white flag, but got shuffled back on the final lap and crossed the stripe 11th. 

KBM PR

As many anticipated it would be, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Sugarlands Shine 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway Saturday afternoon was full of drama, excitement and this weekend, a big impact on the 2019 championship outlook.

Spencer Boyd was named the winner shortly after Johnny Sauter took the checkered flag at the track. Race officials ruled Sauter illegally dropped below the boundary line 200 yards before the flag stand while leading the race. So instead, the 24-year-old Boyd hoisted his first ever NASCAR national series trophy.

The challenge for championship position was equally dramatic. Five of the six championship-eligible drivers finished fourth through eighth in the race standings. Reigning series champion Brett Moffitt’s fourth place finish kept him atop the standings – 23 points up on fifth place finisher and fellow Playoff contender Stewart Friesen.

Austin Hill was sixth, 18-year-old Tyler Ankrum was seventh and two-time series champion Matt Crafton was eighth. Fan favorite Ross Chastain finished 22nd after being in an accident while leading the race on Lap 87.

Races at Martinsville, Va. on Oct. 26 and Phoenix’s ISM Raceway on Nov. 8 will set the four-driver championship field for the Nov. 15 finale. Beyond Moffitt and Friesen, Austin Hill is now third in the championship standings, 33 points below Moffitt and Crafton is fourth, 44 points behind. With two races remaining to set the Championship 4, Ankrum and Chastain are ranked fifth and sixth. Ankrum is a single point behind Crafton in the cutoff position. And Chastain is two points behind Crafton.

Although Moffitt didn’t help decide the victory today, it was a huge effort for the championship leader, who along with Friesen was penalized mid-race for locking bumpers in front of the field. Friesen was leading Moffitt at the time. But both drivers had to drop off the track and serve a stop-and-go penalty. They returned to competition in 25th and 26th place and spent the rest of the race in a highly-determined rally-mode.

Both Moffitt and Friesen were still shaking their heads at the penalty after the race.

“I don’t really know what to say about anything,’’ Friesen said, smiling. “I didn’t see it. I have no idea, no clue.

“But we were fortunate to get back to the lead lap and get a fifth out of it.’’

Moffitt, a series best four-time winner this season, was more insistent that they weren’t breaking any rules and sure that he may have pushed but did not lock bumpers.

“I would love to see It, love to see where we locked bumpers because I was very conscious of it and staying off him, giving him a bubble,’’ Moffitt said. “I would love to see proof. Everyone’s pushing the limit.’’

NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller addressed the officiating call after the race.

“So those are tough calls and I think there were several instances where we were all looking at each other, ‘Is that too much? Is that too much?’ Miller said.

“So there was really no other choice but to make that call.’’

Although frustrated at the time of the penalty, Moffitt conceded that he and his team kept composure and focused on the bigger goal – leading for the championship.

“It fires you up, but it’s Talladega you know,’’ Moffitt said. “You got to slow back down. Now had that played out like Daytona where we (went to) the back and ended up in a wreck I’d be a little more upset about it.

“But the fact we had really good Chevrolets here today and were able to rebound – all three of us – it’s frustrating but ultimately we did our job and out-pointed everyone in the playoffs. Now we have what I’d call a more comfortable buffer going into the next two races moving forward.’’

One of Moffitt’s toughest championship contenders Ross Chastain had a tougher Talladega day. Also while leading the race, he misjudged a run from Sheldon Creed and the two trucks collided resulting in the day’s only “Talladega Big One” as the multi-car crashes are known. Ten cars were involved and Chastain’s day ended early.

“I’m glad more people weren’t caught up,’’ said Chastain, who drives the No. 45 NEICE Racing Chevrolet. “Poor execution on my part. Sheldon [Creed] looked like he had position there and I turned left trying to keep him on my rear bumper and I just made a mistake.

“We’ll go on to Martinsville, Phoenix and Homestead and I’ll try to do a better job of executing.’’

The three-race winner insisted his strategy will not change even though he’s dropped to last place among the six Playoff drivers.

“Absolutely not,’’ he said. “We’ll try to win practice, try to win qualifying and the race. We will try to win and execute. That was just a poor judgement call on my part. We had a truck capable of winning.’’

Johnny Sauter did a celebratory burnout. He collected the checkered flag from the flag stand at Talladega Superspeedway.

But Sauter didn’t win Saturday’s Sugarland Shine 250 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoff race at the 2.66-mile track. A penalty for blocking Riley Herbst below the yellow line in the final 200 yards of the event cost Sauter the victory and made an unlikely winner of Spencer Boyd.

“It’s Talladega,” the driver of the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet exulted in Victory Lane. “Man, I don’t drink beer, but it may happen tonight.”

Boyd, whose previous best finish in the series was a fourth in the 2019 season opener at Daytona, crossed the finish line .132 seconds behind Sauter, who started his celebration. But NASCAR informed the teams that the finish was under review and subsequently awarded the victory to Boyd.

“I was sitting there, and I’m like, man, second is amazing for us,” Boyd said. “We’re happy. We finished fourth at Daytona in this truck, and then one of my crew guys was like, ‘You just won!’ I can’t believe this. Two weeks ago I wasn’t running this race.

“We put this together late with Alabama Roofing Professionals… You dream of winning a NASCAR race. Four years ago, I was selling cars with my dad at Hendrick Automotive Group. A lot of people believed in me to get me to this point.”

Gus Dean’s hard crash into the inside wall off Turn 2 sent the race to overtime, and Sauter led the field to green on Lap 97. Sauter lost and regained the top spot in traffic and moved below the yellow line approaching the checkered flag as Herbst made a move to the inside.

After the review, NASCAR placed Sauter 14th at the finish as the last driver on the lead lap.

“I went down to put a little block on him,” Sauter said, “but then when I did, I got hooked sideways, but that’s just plate racing. You know, I didn’t block his advance or anything like that… I just hate it for my guys. They deserve better than that.”

Todd Gilliland finished second, with Herbst coming home third. Brett Moffitt in fourth and Stewart Friesen in fifth were the highest finishing Playoff drivers in the first race of the Round of 6. Fellow Playoff drivers Austin Hill, Tyler Ankrum and Matt Crafton (the pole winner) followed in sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.

Playoff driver Ross Chastain was leading with six laps left, but a late attempt to block Sheldon Creed ignited a 10-car crash that ended with Chastain out of the race and in the infield care center. Chastain dropped to sixth in the Playoff standings, 46 points behind Moffitt, the series leader, but only two behind Crafton in fourth place.

The Playoff field will be cut from six drivers to four after the Nov. 8 event at ISM Raceway at Phoenix.

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