Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6062)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

Christian Eckes made his second NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the season and sixth career series' start at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and contended for the win before being taken out on the final lap and consigned to a 14th place finish. First practice and qualifying were washed out on Saturday, but Eckes posted the third fastest lap in final practice on Saturday afternoon. As per the NASCAR Rule Book, the field was set by owners' points, so Eckes began the 160-lap event from the pole.
 
Just moments after finishing second in the ARCA Racing Series race just prior to the Gander Trucks event, Eckes led the field to the green flag. Eckes dropped back to the third position, but he took the lead in the final stage and led twice for a total of 57 laps. Crew chief Rudy Fugle opted for a two-tire strategy throughout the night, putting the young driver near the front of the field on the final lap. In a fierce battle for the win, the No. 52 machine made contact with the SiriusXM Tundra, sending Eckes spinning and relegating him to a 14th-place finish.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • Inclement weather throughout the morning and afternoon washed out qualifying, so Eckes started on the pole for the CarShield 200 as the field was set per the NASCAR Rule Book by owners' points standings.
  • Eckes fell back on the start but remained in the top-five and reported that his Tundra was free into the turns and tight off.
  • At the stage conclusion, Eckes was fifth.
  • Fugle called the young driver to pit road following the first stage and chose to change the two right-side tires and fuel the truck.
 
Stage Two Recap:
  • Eckes began the second stage in the third position and reported that his Tundra was good through the center of the corner, but he couldn't get back to the throttle the way that he wanted.
  • At the conclusion of Stage 2, Eckes was fourth on the track.
  • Fugle brought him to pit road following the 35-lap stage for two left-side tires and fuel.
 
Stage Three Recap:
  • By virtue of a quick two-tire stop and an advantageous pit stall at the end of pit road, Eckes began the final stage in the lead.
  • Eckes led 57 laps in the final stage, until the final green flag pit stop.
  • Fugle called the No. 51 to pit road with 28 laps to go in the event and the team quickly changed two right-side tires and fueled the machine, but the No. 45 of Ross Chastain only took fuel and when stops cycled around, he inherited the lead, while Eckes was in second.
  • After a restart with seven laps to go, Eckes battled for the lead, but on the final lap teammate Todd Gilliland worked around him, leaving him vulnerable to the No. 52 of Stewart Friesen, who ran into him, spinning him out. Eckes was able to keep the 51 machine from any significant damage and continue, making it across the line in 14th.

KBM PR

After a rainy start to NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race day at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team put together a solid race to earn Gilliland's best finish of the season with a second-place finish in the CarShield 200. The young driver posted the second-fastest lap in one practice on Saturday afternoon, after both first practice and qualifying were washed out. The field was set by owners' points standings as per the NASCAR Rule Book, so Gilliland rolled off from the 11th position.
 
The CarShield 200 began as scheduled despite inclement weather through the early afternoon. Gilliland began the race near the back of the top-10, but crew chief Michael Shelton made adjustments to the Mobil 1Toyota Tundra and the driver was able to work his way toward the front, eventually powering his way to the second position in the closing laps.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • Qualifying was rained out and Gilliland began the race in the 11th position.
  • Gilliland reported that his Tundra was free into the corner and tight off the corner.
  • Interim crew chief Michael Shelton brought Gilliland to pit road after the completion of the first stage for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
  • Many teams opted for only two tires, so Gilliland lost several spots on pit road.
  • Gilliland finished the first stage in 11th.
Stage Two Recap:
  • Gilliland started the second stage in 15th after taking four tires between stages.
  • The four fresh tires enabled him to climb into the top-10 within three laps, where he reported that his Tundra was free and feeling "edgy."
  • The young driver finished the second stage in seventh.
  • Following the second stage, Shelton brought Gilliland to pit road for two left side tires and fuel.  
Stage Three Recap
  • The No. 4 began the final stage in fourth after the two-tire pit stop, and was as high as third before the final green-flag pit stop.
  • Gilliland quietly and persistently worked through traffic in the top-10 and Shelton brought him to pit road with 30 laps to go for two right-side tires and fuel under green flag conditions.
  • After stops cycled through, Gilliland was again in the top-five.
  • On lap 149, Gilliland restarted in in fourth, and quickly jumped to third at the green flag, threatening teammate Christian Eckes for second.
  • On the final lap, Gilliland got by his teammate for second and the No. 51 was spun out by the fourth-place vehicle.
  • Gilliland took the checkered flag in second-place, equaling his career-best finish in last year's event at Gateway. This is his second top-five finish of the season and sixth top-10.

KBM PR

Austin Hill matched his best finish at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on Saturday night with an 11th-place result in his third appearance at the 1.25-mile oval. The driver of the No. 16 ARCO National Construction Toyota remains seventh in the championship standings after 11 of 23 races.
For the second-consecutive week, weather forced the cancellation of qualifying and awarded Hill the ninth starting position before a single abbreviated practice session on Saturday afternoon. From the initial green flag, Hill had a battle on his hands trying to corral his Toyota Tundra with a loose handling condition. Hill radioed crew chief Scott Zipadelli during the opening 35-lap stage and informed the team that he was severely lacking lateral grip on the exit of Turn 4. Hill stayed in contention for a top-10 position and ran 13th at the stage caution on lap 35.
Hill’s balance of the ARCO National Construction Toyota remained on the loose side in stage 2 after a two-tire stop and a track bar adjustment. He maintained his 10th position for the duration of the stage 2 until the caution on lap 70. Zipadelli and company serviced Hill for four tires with a quick stop that gave him the ninth position for the restart on lap 78.
Despite a wedge change on the pit stop, and adjusting the brake bias in the cockpit, Hill continued to fight the balance as the loose condition persisted. Hill ran on the fringe of the top-10 until green flag pit stops began to cycle on lap 122. Zipadelli brought Hill to pit road for a fuel only stop on lap 139 and picked up one position to 11th during the exchange. A late caution on lap 147 allowed Hill to pit for his last set of tires under the caution and restarted 12th on lap 154. He managed to pick up one position during the final seven lap run to take the checkered flag in 11th position.
Austin Hill Quote:
“That was a really difficult race. It was really hard to pass tonight. The pace never really fell off and you really fought dirty air back in traffic. Track position meant a lot and we fought real hard to get the balance right all night but never could get it where we wanted. We were just way too loose on the short run and just took way too long to come in. After about 25-30 laps our truck was really good. We’ll go back and see what we can do to find a little short run speed and be a little better firing off. We’ll go back, work on it, and see what we can do next week at Chicago.”
HRE PR
After qualifying was washed out on Saturday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway, Chandler Smith was left with the 25th-starting position based on the Owner's points position of the No. 46 team, which runs a limited schedule. Smith would make his way into the top 10 for the majority of his second career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start and finished in the fourth spot, four spots better than his debut a week ago at Iowa Speedway in Newton.
 
Stage One Recap: 
  • Smith started the 160-lap event from the 25th spot after Saturday's qualifying session was cancelled due to rain and the field was set based on Gander Trucks owner's points. The talented teenager had also competed in Saturday's ARCA Menards Series race at the 1.25-mile oval, which ended about 20 minutes before driver introductions started for the Gander Trucks race.
  • By the time the first caution of the race occurred on lap four he had moved up four spots. On lap 10, the 16-year-old driver was scored in the 19th position and had moved up to the 14th spot when Stage One came to a completion on 35.
  • Smith reported that the iBUYPOWER/828 Logistics Tundra had "fired off snug and then balanced out.". 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • Veteran crew chief Marcus Richmond called for a right-side tires and fuel stop with a trackbar adjustment in an effort to try to improve track position for his young driver.
  • The move worked, as the No. 46 Toyota was scored in the seventh position when Stage Two went green on lap 43. The Georgia native fell back to the 10th position on lap 57, as he tried to learn as much as he could in just his second career Truck Series start.
  • Around lap 65, Smith appeared to have found something, as he began turning lap times as fast as the top trucks. On the final lap of Stage Two he was able to move up one position to ninth.
  • He reported that he was "aero tight in traffic," before hitting pit road between stages and that he may have brushed the wall in the closing laps of the stage. 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • Richmond ordered up four-tire and fuel stop with adjustments in an effort to improve the handling for his young driver. The iBUYPOWER/828 Logistics Tundra would be scored in the 13th position when the Final Stage went green on lap 77.
  • When a two-truck accident slowed the field for the fourth time on lap79, he had fallen back one spot to the 14th position.
  • On the lap-85 restart Smith surged two spots to 12th, three laps later he returned to the top 10 and on lap 89 he gained another two spots. On lap 91 he captured the seventh spot, where he would remain for the several laps as a long-green flag run had ensued.
  • With 55 laps remaining he maneuvered past Grant Enfinger for the sixth spot, but found over a two-second gap to teammate Todd Gilliland for the fifth position.
  • Over the next 20 laps he reeled in Gilliland and completed the pass for fifth. With 30 laps remaining, teams began hitting pit road for their final scheduled stop. With 28 laps remaining, Richmond ordered up a two-tire stop with just enough fuel to make it to the end of the race.
  • When pit stops cycled through with just under 20 laps remaining, the No. 46 Toyota was scored in the eighth position. On lap 147, his KBM teammate Harrison Burton got tangled up with Sheldon Creed and Smith was able to dive to the bottom of both of them and come out in the sixth position when the caution flew.
  • Smith was scored sixth for the restart with seven laps remaining and gained one position by the time the field came back to the stripe the first time and moved into the top five with five laps remaining.
  • With two laps remaining a battled ensued in front of him for the second position and his teammate Christian Eckes went spinning. Smith would cross the stripe in the fourth position, earning his first Gander Trucks top-five finish in just his second career start. 

KBM PR

For the third time this season Ross Chastain visited Victory Lane with Niece Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS).  This time, the win at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway counted towards Chastain’s bid to make the playoffs.

“This win means the world,” said Chastain.  “This team had a chip on their shoulder after last week.  We knew we needed to come here and win, and we were able to do that.  We didn’t have the fastest truck, but man we wanted it.  I’m so grateful to CarShield for coming on board this week; it feels great to bring them to victory lane.  A big thank you to our boss man Al Niece for allowing us the opportunity to do what we love.”

With clean air proving to be of utmost importance, Chastain and crew chief Phil Gould took a gamble late in the race, opting for a fuel-only pit stop.  The bold strategy call proved successful, ultimately moving Chastain to the lead as green flag pit stops cycled through.

The watermelon farmer from Alva, Florida was able to hold on to the lead, even through a late race restart with seven laps remaining.  The trucks behind Chastain had fresher tires, but the 26-year-old would not be denied.

“I’m so proud of this team,” said team owner Al Niece.  “Instead of letting what happened last week tear them apart, it only made them stronger and more determined to win.  Ross is a tremendous talent – this team has proven what they are capable of.”

Chastain’s push to make the playoffs to contend for the championship became a lot easier after Saturday night’s victory.  Coming into last night’s race, Chastain had six races to earn a win and move into the top-20 in NGOTS points to be eligible to compete for the championship.  After the victory, Chastain is 26th in points, just 38 points outside of the top-20.

The win comes on the heels of a tough week for the organization.  Chastain and team found Victory Lane last week at Iowa Speedway, only to have the win taken away following post-race inspection.

The team’s luck began to turn around when CarShield opted to hop on board and sponsor the No. 45 Chevrolet. 

Headquartered close to Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway, in nearby Saint Peters, Mo., CarShield offers vehicle service contracts designed to pick up where automobile owners’ existing warranty drops off and to fill gaps in coverage. CarShield was founded in 2005 by principals Nick Hamilton, Mark Travis, and Rick Brettelle and specializes in shielding its members from the high cost of automobile repairs by offering a wide range of flexible vehicle service plans.

Chastain’s victory in the CarShield 200 presented by CK Power, is officially the team’s second win of the season.  Last month, Chastain and team visited Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway.

The NGOTS will return to action in the Camping World 225 on Friday, June 28 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Niece Motorsports PR

Harrison Burton was running third when the final round of pit stops took place in Saturday night's CarShield 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event at World Wide Technology Raceway. After the top two trucks pitted, Burton assumed the lead for two laps before being summoned to pit road for a left-side tire and fuel stop with 25 laps remaining.
 
After stops cycled through Burton was running in the fifth position and as he raced side-by-side with Sheldon Creed, got the air taken off his truck and snapped loose. As Burton corrected his path and appeared to make a great save, he got clipped in the right rear and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra went sliding up into the outside wall. After coming to pit road for repairs and four fresh tires, the 18-year-old driver was forced to limp home to a 16th-place finish.
 
Stage One Recap:  
  • Burton started the 160-lap event from the 8th spot after Saturday's qualifying session was cancelled due to rain and the field was set based on Gander Trucks owner's points. He had advanced to the fifth spot by lap eight and on lap 24 moved into the fourth spot, where he would end the stage.
  • The talented teenager communicated that his Safelite Tundra was "free on entry, tight center and loose off," in the closing laps of Stage One. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned Burton to pit road for four fresh tires and a full load of fuel.
  • With many teams electing to take just two tires, the No. 18 Toyota was scored in the 11th position when Stage Two went green on lap 43.
  • Burton finished Stage Two in the 13th position as he reported that his Tundra was still "loose entry and exit and tighter center." 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • Hillman Jr. ordered up a right-tire and fuel stop with adjustments in an effort to improve the handling for his young driver. Burton exited the pits second and was lined up beside his KBM teammate Christian Eckes went the Final Stage went green on lap 77.
  • When the field went green, Burton got stuck three-wide middle into Turns 1 and 2 and would fall back to the fourth spot by the time a quick caution occurred on lap 80.
  • This time around, the talented teenager gained a spot on the restart and would settle into the third spot as a long-green flag run ensued.
  • With 45 laps remaining Burton closed to the bumper of Ross Chastain, who was running second and was two-truck lengths behind the leader, Christian Eckes. Burton made a move for the second position pulling side-by-side with Chastain but was unable to complete the pass and settled back into the third spot.
  • Eckes hit pit road for a two-tire and fuel stop with 29 laps remaining and Chastain would pit for fuel only with 28 laps remaining. Burton would lead for two laps before hitting pit road for fresh left-side tires and fuel with 25 laps remaining.
  • After stops cycled through, Burton was running fifth, in position for his third consecutive top-five finish. Unfortunately, the incident with Creed caused severe damage to the Safelite Tundra and he would be forced to limp home to a 16th-place finish. 

KBM PR

A week after having their NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win stripped due to a post-race technical inspection failure at Iowa Speedway, Ross Chastain and his Niece Motorsports rebutted the disqualification with a thrilling victory in Saturday night’s CarShield 200 presented by CK Power at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

While a contender for the win throughout the event’s third stage, it was a gutsy fuel only call by crew chief Phil Gould on Lap 133 that allowed Chastain to gain the track position ahead of former leader Christian Eckes.

But when the caution flag flew with 13 laps remaining for Harrison Burton, Chastain’s nearly one-second lead had been evaporated and put Eckes, Stewart Friesen and Todd Gilliland all with fresher tires in the footprints of Chastain’s No. 45 CarShield Chevrolet Silverado.

When the green flag waved with seven laps remaining, despite spinning his tires, Chastain was able to fend off a charge from Eckes and eventually pulled away from his challengers to earn his second Gander Trucks win of the season.

On the last lap, Gilliland battled his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Eckes for second, but Eckes saw an impressive performance end up in the Turn 2 wall after contact with Friesen for the second consecutive season at Gateway.

Chastain finished 0.704 seconds ahead of Gilliland and picked up a $50,000 bonus in the final race of the Gander Outdoors Trip Truck Challenge.

“These Niece guys went home, and we were mad, felt like we had one taken from us,” said a jubilant Chastain. “Phil Gould, Lonnie Rush they believed in me. I didn’t want to take tires and then it was up to me to freakin hold them off, I don’t know how.

“I’m going to take that money home and they’re not taking it from us this time.”

Chastain admitted he was nervous when the final caution waved as he knew it would face hungry challengers on the restart.

“Of course, scared to death, that’s the last thing I wanted to see,” Chastain said of the Lap 146 caution. “Buzzed my tires like crazy on the restart and got to thank Todd (Gilliland) for pushing me and not wrecking me. Execution on these guys. We didn’t have the fastest truck today, but we executed, and we believed in each other. Man, that feels really good.”

Eckes who led twice for a race-high 57 laps was forced to settle for 14th in his second Gander Trucks start of the season.

“I made a mistake down in (Turns) 3 and 4 and we lost some track position and the 4 (Gilliland) got by me and I was looking to make the crossover move and got wrecked by the No. 52 (Friesen) again. Man, it’s unfortunate, these SiriusXM guys work too hard for this. We had a great run tonight, I felt like we honestly had the best truck there at the end, I need to work on myself a little bit as far as the aero aspect of it and move on to Pocono.”

Friesen finished third, ahead of Toyota Racing Development driver Chandler Smith and Iowa winner Brett Moffit to complete the top-five.

Points leader Grant Enfinger finished sixth after dominating the first two stages, Sheldon Creed, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton and Myatt Snider filling in for the suspended Johnny Sauter comprised the top-10.

With his second Gander Trucks win in his 153rd series start, Chastain becomes Playoff eligible once he enters the top-20 in the championship driver standings. With five races remaining in the regular season, Chastain sits 26th overall.

Next up the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series stops at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway for the running of the Overton’s 225 on Jun. 28.

Ross Chastain redeemed himself on Saturday at World Wide Technology Raceway after being stripped of the win last Sunday at Iowa Speedway due to failing post-race tech. Chastain led 21 of the 160 circuits to score his second Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory of the year.

The win did not come easy for the Florida native as he battled a late race restart inside 10 laps to go. After taking fuel only on a pit stop earlier in the race, Chastain did not have fresh tires on his No. 45 Chevrolet and had to hold off second-place driver Christian Eckes.

Eckes challenged Chastain for the lead inside five laps to go but was spun after taking the white flag. The driver of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, who spun because of contact from third-place finisher Stewart Friesen, finished 14th and led the most laps of 57.

Race winner Ross Chastain leaves World Wide Technology Raceway with four top five and 10 top 10 finishes through 11 completed races.

Todd Gilliland will leave the 1.25-mile St. Louis track as the runner-up finisher. Gilliland, who started the night 11th on the leaderboard, captured his best finish of the year in his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra and sat 11th in stage one and seventh in stage two.

Gilliland holds two top five and six top 10 finishes through 11 events.

Stewart Friesen rounded out the top three finishers on Saturday night at Gateway. The driver from Canada started fourth on the board and saw the lead twice throughout the 160-lap event. Friesen leaves with six top five and seven top 10s in 2019.

Chandler Smith and Brett Moffitt rounded out the top five.

Grant Enfinger, Sheldon Creed, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton and Myatt Snider rounded out the top 10.

Grant Enfinger led the second most laps of the evening and claimed both stages of the CarShield 200. Enfinger started the night sitting second on the leaderboard.

Two of the five caution flags involved multiple trucks. The first yellow flag came out on lap four for the No. 0 of Gregory Rayl. The next two stoppages involved stage breaks until lap 80 when Natalie Decker and Jesse Little collided in turn one. Decker was done for the night and left with a 27th place finish while Little finished 21st and two laps down.

Harrison Burton and Sheldon Creed brought out the final caution with 13 to go in turn four. Both drivers continued as Burton finished 16th while Creed finished seventh on the scoring monitor.

The series will be back in action on Friday June 28, 2019 at Chicagoland Speedway for the Camping World 225. The event will air live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 9:00 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series inaugural Triple Truck Challenge concludes its three-race run Saturday night at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (10 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and if this final event holds true to its two-race lead-in there will be no shortage of drama and big news.

Brett Moffitt and his GMS Racing team stand to pick up an extra $150,000 bonus should the defending series champion win for the second consecutive week. The runner-up at Iowa, Moffitt was awarded the victory after the apparent winner Ross Chastain’s truck was deemed illegal in post-race inspection. And that verdict was upheld again on appeal this week.

Moffitt acknowledged he didn’t lead a lap in his win – the first by a disqualification in the history of the series – but welcomed the victory nonetheless, posting photos on social media of his team celebrating.

“This is a big change of emotions," Moffitt said after being called to speak to the press following Chastain’s disqualification.

“As a race car driver, I got beat on track and that’s not how you want to do it. … but I’ll take a win any way I can get it.

“It is what it is," he continued, “We finally got a win that we needed and we’ll take it."

And, he reminded, the big money from the Triple Truck Challenge was a nice companion to his first trophy of the season.

Saturday night’s CarShield 200 presented by CK Power is a sort of re-set for everyone with another huge paycheck on the line. If someone other than Moffitt wins, that driver still earns a $50,000 bonus as part of the Triple Truck Challenge incentive.

And with the Playoffs looming, it’s go-time for multiple reasons. The big incentive from series sponsor Gander Outdoors is icing on the cake.

Chastain, for example, now needs to win again and break into the top-20 in the standings to make the Playoffs. He only declared himself Gander Trucks championship eligible two races ago (before Texas) and sits 69 points behind the 20th place cutoff. A victory this week would be a strong statement from his Niece Motorsports team.

Looking especially strong in recent weeks is Matt Crafton, a two-time Gander Trucks champion, who moved into second in the series driver standings last week at Iowa. He trails championship leader Grant Enfinger by 47 points and holds a slim two-point edge over third place Stewart Friesen.

Crafton drove the No. 88 ThorSport Ford to back-to-back pole positions at Kansas and Charlotte earlier this season. He has nine top-10 finishes in the season’s opening 10 races; including the last seven consecutively. He was a season best runner-up in Texas in the Triple Truck Challenge opening race two weeks ago, but he’s had only one top five in the last five races at Gateway – including three DNFs.

In two previous starts at Gateway, NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver standings leader Grant Enfinger won the pole position last year and scored a best showing of fifth place in 2017. He’s finished top-10 in nine of 10 races this season – his worst finish is 11th at Vegas.  He was runner-up at the Daytona season-opener and has finished fourth in the opening two races of the Triple Truck Challenge.

There is plenty of motivation across the Gander Trucks field. Moffitt is the only driver ranked among the top-six in the championship standings with a victory. There are no former Gateway race winners entered this week, however, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Todd Gilliland finished second last year and is still looking for his first series victory.

As far as Moffitt’s concerned, being awarded the victory last week following a competitor’s disqualification is not the same thing as taking the checkered flag after beating the field. So he remains as driven as ever – perhaps more so.

“It’s a place I like and GMS Racing has proven its strong there," Moffitt said. “We’re looking forward to it and winning that 150 grand.”

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