Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6004)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

Brandon Jones and the No. 51 Chigo/Menards team rebounded from an early spin to earn a top-five finish in the Digital Ally 250 at Kansas Speedway. It was Jones' second start with the 51 team this season, following a 13th-place finish last weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The 22-year-old driver posted the 15th and 12th-fastest speeds respectively in two early practice sessions on Friday morning, then qualified the Chigo Tundra 21st in one round of single vehicle qualifying. On lap 26, Jones lost control of his Tundra and spun with a flat left rear tire, but was able to keep the damage minimal. Crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 crew quickly made repairs and changed tires, then worked on adjustments to improve the handling for the rest of the night. Jones went one lap down, but was able to get back on the lead lap at the end of the first stage. Then he slowly moved toward the front of the field, working into the top 10, and over the course of several late race cautions as the leaders encountered trouble, he made his way into the top five.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • Qualifying for the event consisted of one round of single truck qualifying, and Jones earned the 21st starting position.
  • Just after halfway in the first stage, Jones spun on the track and had a flat left rear tire. Fugle called him to pit road for tires and repairs, and while the young driver did go one lap down, he was able to regain the lead lap at the stage end.
  • Jones reported his Tundra was too free in the turns, but he was able to finish the stage in the 17th position, the first truck one lap down.
  • At the stage conclusion, Fugle opted to stay out and put the No. 51 back on the lead lap. 
Stage Two Recap:
  • Jones began the second stage in 17th, and several laps later, the caution flag flew again and Fugle called him to pit road for more repairs and adjustments.
  • During the second stage, Jones was able to maintain a position in the top 15
  • Fugle called him to pit road following the end of the stage for four more Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel. 
Stage Three Recap:
  • The Georgia driver began the final stage in the seventh position after a quick four-tire pit stop between stages.
  • Jones maintained a top-10 position despite fighting a free handling condition in the center and exit of the corners.
  • During green flag pit stops with 40 laps to go, Fugle brought Jones to pit road for the final time for four tires, fuel and adjustments, and as stops cycled through, he returned to the top 10.
  • As several of the leaders encountered problems in the final laps, Jones was able to take advantage and take the checkered flag in the fifth position.

KBM PR

In his first start at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 JBL/SiriusXM team earned their first top-five finish of the season with a third-place finish in the Digital Ally 250. Gilliland earned the fifth starting position in one round of single-vehicle qualifying, after posting the X and X speeds in practice respectively. The teenager fired off with a loose handling Tundra, and reported that his right-front tire felt glazed over and needed grip, so crew chief Marcus Richmond and the No. 4 team went to work making adjustments and soon had the machine adjusted more to his liking. The young driver marched his way into the top five and began posting lap times faster than the leaders, but several late race cautions prevented him from capitalizing and he brought home a third-place finish.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • In one round of single-truck qualifying, Gilliland put his No. 4 Tundra in the fifth starting position.
  • During the first stage of the Digital Ally 250, Gilliland fell back in the top-10.
  • Gilliland was able to give feedback on his Tundra during the first caution on lap 26 for teammate Brandon Jones, and reported that his Tundra was loose, and his right front tire felt glazed over.
  • When the caution flag flew for the conclusion of the stage Richmond made the call to bring the No. 4 to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
  • Gilliland finished the first stage in the seventh position.
Stage Two Recap:
  • Gilliland restarted the second stage in the X position after several competitors took only two tires.
  • The young driver reported that his Tundra was handling much better, but the tires were spinning in first gear.
  • By lap 63 the No. 4 was scored within the top 10 and Gilliland finished the second stage in seventh.
  • Richmond called the No. 4 to pit road for four tires and fuel following the second stage.
Stage Three Recap:
  • Gilliland began the final stage in the seventh position, and soon Richmond reported that he was the fastest truck on the track.
  • By lap 109, Gilliland was back within the top five.
  • On lap 129, the No. 4 JBL/SiriusXM team pit for the final time for four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel.
  • When the caution flag flew on lap 140, Gilliland had worked his way into the third position. He battled for the lead, but fell back on the final two restarts.
  • The second-generation driver took the checkered flag in the third position in his first start at Kansas Speedway, earning his first top-five finish of the season.

KBM PR

Harrison Burton battled an ill-handling Safelite AutoGlass Tundra throughout the Digital Ally 250 at Kansas Speedway, but in the end was able to earn a 10th-place finish. After qualifying third for the 167-lap event, Burton went a lap down at one point during a long-green flag run in the Final Stage of the race, but after fighting to remain in the Lucky Dog position got back on the lead lap when a late caution occurred and when the checkered flag had waved had worked his way to his second consecutive and fourth top-10 finish of 2019.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Burton started the 200-lap event from the third spot and on the initial start of the race made a bold three-wide maneuver into Turn 1 in an effort to take the lead. The 18-year-old driver's momentum got stalled while trying to execute the pass and he fell back to the sixth position, where he ran for the majority of the stage.
  • As the young driver communicated that his Safelite AutoGlass Tundra was "too tight," he fell back to the ninth position to complete Stage One. 
Stage Two Recap: 
  • Burton communicated to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that his Safelite Tundra was "chattering the tires" before hitting pit road for four fresh tires and fuel with a trackbar adjustment if an effort to improve the handling.
  • The Safelite Tundra lined up 10th when Stage Two went green on lap 47 and remained there until a one-truck accident brought out the third caution of the event on lap 54.
  • The talented teenager communicated to Hillman Jr. that his Toyota was still tight. He fell back one position to 11th at the completion Stage Two.
Final Stage Recap: 
  • Hillman Jr. ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with major adjustments to try and improve the handling of the Safelite Tundra. Burton returned to the track scored in the ninth position when the Final Stage went green on lap 87.
  • The handling continued to plague Burton as he fell back to the 13th position before having to make a green-flag pit stop for four tires and fuel on lap 127.
  • When pit stops cycled through, the No. 18 team found themselves scored in the 11th spot but had fallen a lap down to the leader.
  • Burton fought hard to stay in the lucky dog position and was rewarded when a two-truck accident slowed the field for the fifth time with 27 laps remaining.
  • The No. 18 team had already used their final set of sticker tires, but when pit road opened Burton came to the attention of his over-the-wall crew who made both trackbar and wedge adjustments in a final attempt to improve the handling of his Toyota.
  • The second-generation driver restarted 10th when the field went back green on lap 143. He fell back one spot before the final caution of the night slowed the field with 18 laps remaining.
  • Burton reported that he still was "lacking overall grip," during the caution period. With one truck in front of him in the running order hitting pit road, he moved up to 10th for the restart on lap 151 and was able to hold that position when the field crossed the stripe to complete the race on lap 167.

KBM PR

Ross Chastain earned his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) victory Friday night at Kansas Speedway.

This is what sports is all about,” said Chastain.  “We had the world by the tail last fall, and everything got taken away from us.  We didn’t quit, though.  I’m going to celebrate this one a lot more than I did the last one.  I thought, after the last one (in Las Vegas), they were going to come a lot more easy.  But it’s not easy … I hate to see Stewie lose one like that.  I know he’s been trying to win, but, yes — we got it!”

I’ve been called an underdog my entire career, and I’m tired of that.  I’m so sick of it.  I know they mean well, but I just want to win!”

Chastain was able to capitalize and take over the lead when the first-place truck ran out of fuel with three laps to go.

The No. 45 TruNorth/Paul Jr. Designs Chevrolet Silverado was strong all night, finding the lead for the first time during the second stage of the 167-lap race.

“When we started this team a few years ago, I could have never imagined that we’d be standing in victory lane tonight,” said team owner Al Niece.  “I’m so proud of the hard work by everyone at this organization, and grateful to Ross for being a part of the team.  His talent is incredible, and I truly feel that the sky is the limit for this team.”

The win is the first for the veteran-owned team Niece Motorsports, in just its third fulltime season of competition.  Chastain and crew chief Phil Gould have had a strong start to the 2019 season.  Chastain is the only driver to finish in the top-10 in each of the first seven NGOTS races of the season.

“We dedicate this win to Officer Jordan Sheldon of the Mooresville Police Department,” said General Manager Cody Efaw.  “This was a total team effort.  I’m proud of every single member of this team.  We are a small organization, so I can honestly say that every person contributed to this win.  When I started working for Al three years ago, I never could have imagined we’d be here today.  It’s taken a lot of hard work and a lot of long nights, so we’re certainly going to enjoy this one.”

The NGOTS returns to action Friday, May 17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Niece Motorsports PR

Elation and heartbreak were barely more than a lap apart when Ross Chastain took the checkered flag to win Friday night’s Digital Ally 250 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway.

Chastain took the lead on Lap 165 of 167 after Stewart Friesen ran out of fuel—the result of a miscommunication between the driver and crew chief Trip Bruce. Chastain crossed the finish line .483 seconds ahead of runner-up Ben Rhodes to secure his first victory in the series in his 66th start and the first for Niece Motorsports and owner Al Niece.

Friesen, on the other hand, rolled home in 15th, a lap down and a study in frustration as a first victory in the Truck series continued to elude him.

For Chastain, the victory was a welcome vindication after his rags-to-riches-to-rags story of 2018. With superb performances in limited NASCAR Xfinity Series action with Chip Ganassi Racing last year—including a victory at Las Vegas—Chastain earned a full-time ride in Ganassi’s No. 42 Chevrolet for 2019, only to lose it when the team’s sponsorship collapsed.

“Aw, man, this is what sports is all about,” Chastain said, barely able to contain his emotions. “We had the world by the tail last fall, and everything got taken away from us. We didn’t quit, though … I’m going to celebrate this one a lot more than I did the last one.

“I thought, after the last one (in Las Vegas), they were going to come a lot more easy. But it’s not easy … I hate to see Stewie lose one like that. I know he’s been trying to win, but, yes—we got it!”

Friesen came to pit road for his final stop under green on Lap 126 but left his stall after taking right-side tires only on a planned four-tire stop. Though Friesen had a lead of more than five seconds over Grant Enfinger when he got back up to speed, the shortness of the pit stop didn’t allow the crew to fill the fuel cell.

Friesen’s chances looked better when the third-place truck of Brett Moffitt got loose under Enfinger’s Ford and cut Enfinger’s right rear tire, forcing both trucks to pit road for unscheduled stops. And when the No. 33 Chevrolet of Josh Reaume stopped on the track on Lap 146 to cause the sixth and final caution, Bruce figured Friesen had enough fuel to finish the race.

Within three laps of the checkered flag, however, Friesen ran out.

“It’s been a dream to race at this level and thanks to all the car owners that have given me a chance after all these years,” Friesen said. “I came with nothing but a helmet bag. Just a little miscommunication that we need to work on.

“We just can’t close it. I figured I’d screw up a restart at the end, rather than run out of fuel. They said that we were to the good. I didn’t know we were taking four (tires). I thought for sure we were taking two. Just a lot of silence on the radio. That’s it.”

Notes: With the victory, Chastain extended his streak of top-10 finishes to start the season to seven, all with Niece Motorsports …Toyota drivers Todd Gilliland, Austin Hill and Brandon Jones finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively … Pole winner Matt Crafton ran sixth, followed by Enfinger and Moffitt.

Ross Chastain took his No. 45 Chevrolet to victory lane on Friday at Kansas Speedway. Chastain, who led five of the 167 circuits enroute to his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race, passed leader Stewart Friesen with three laps to go in the Digital Ally 250.

Chastain came into the season with a Chip Ganassi Racing ride all locked up in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. A short while after the deal was announced, D.C. Solar caught legal troubles and the deal fell through -- leaving Chastain without a ride.

Since the start of the year, Chastain has driven for numerous teams in all three series to stay afloat as he waits for the next opportunity to come along.

In seven starts in 2019, Chastain holds three top five and seven top 10 finishes.

Friesen ran out of fuel while leading with three laps to go and had to pit. The driver of the No. 52 Chevrolet, winner of both stages, went on to finish 15th and one lap down. The driver from Canada led 87 of the 167 laps.

Ben Rhodes and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top three of the Digital Ally 250. Rhodes started the event from the 14th starting spot while Gilliland started the 250-mile event in fifth.

Austin Hill and Brandon Jones rounded out the top five finishers.

Pole sitter Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Brett Moffitt, Riley Herbst and Harrison Burton rounded out the top 10.

There were two main crashes that impacted a number of contenders. Natalie Decker went for a spin in turn four that ended her night on lap 52. Decker finished 25th and 116 laps down.

The other incident that involved a pair of heavy hitters happened on lap 138 in turn two. Brett Moffitt and Grant Enfinger tangled while racing upfront -- costing them the shot of a trophy at Kansas. Enfinger finished seventh while Moffitt took home eighth.

The next race for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17. The North Carolina Education Lottery 200 will air live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Matt Crafton won the pole at Kansas Speedway on Friday by posting a 30.459, mph. lap in single-truck qualifying. Crafton, a native of California, will make his second top-five start of the season in the Digital Ally 250.

 

The series veteran goes into the seventh race of the season looking to score his fifth top five and sixth top 10 finish. Crafton holds two career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victories at the 1.5-mile oval.

 

Tyler Ankrum will start beside Matt Crafton in the No. 17 Toyota. The rookie driver has three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2019 and owns two top 10 finishes.

 

Ankrum’s best finish came at Texas Motor Speedway in March where he left with a fifth-place finish.

 

Harrison Burton will round out the top three starters on Friday. Burton, son of former driver Jeff Burton, posted a 30.487, mph. during his qualifying attempt.

 

The young racer goes into the 1.5-mile oval with two top five and three top 10 finishes through six completed events.

 

Brett Moffitt and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top five.

 

Ross Chastain, Austin Hill, Gus Dean, Sheldon Creed and Riley Herbst will round out the top 10 starters.

 

The Digital Ally 250 will air live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 8:30 p.m. ET.

GMS Racing announced today Midnight Moon Moonshine will sponsor the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado of reigning NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) champion Brett Moffitt at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Friday, May 17.

 

Midnight Moon is inspired by Junior Johnson’s family moonshine recipe and true to the roots of moonshine, it is made from 100 percent American corn and handcrafted in small batches. However, they use a state-of-the-art distillation process to make a superior quality spirit that’s very clean and ultra-smooth. Midnight Moon does not have the heavy corn taste people often associate with illegal moonshine. It’s then blended with ultra-clean water that has been through a five-step filtration process, and the result is a very smooth spirit with a subtle sweetness from the corn. Midnight Moon offers an unflavored, straight style, as well as a number of authentic moonshine flavors hand-packed with real fruit. Flavors include Apple Pie, Cherry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, etc.

 

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner with the GMS Racing team and honored to have Midnight Moon on the reigning champ’s truck”, said Joe Michalek, President of Piedmont Distillers. “Junior and I can’t wait to see Brett back at Victory Lane.”

 

In two NGOTS starts at Charlotte, Moffitt has earned one top-five finish. He was fourth in last year’s event after leading 28 laps.

 

“I’m excited to have Midnight Moon on board with us in Charlotte,” Moffitt said. “To have a connection to a legend like Junior Johnson and his history with moonshining in NASCAR’s own backyard is really cool. Hopefully I can sip some in Victory Lane next Friday.”

 

Next Friday’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be broadcast live on FS1 and MRN at 8:30pm ET.

GMS Racing PR

 

Chalking up a solid return to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) last weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Austin Wayne Self (@AustinWSelf) and his AM Racing team carry the momentum of their on-track speed as the series treks to Kansas Speedway for Friday night’s Digital Ally 250.

Taming the Monster Mile, Self was on course for a top-10 finish – but a late race obstacle thwarted the team’s effort. Despite the team’s top-20 finish, the Mooresville, N.C.-based operation was encouraged by their efforts and hope to deliver Self’s second top-10 run of the year under the Kansas City lights.

“I’ve always enjoyed going to Kansas,” said Self. “It’s a traditional 1.5-mile race track with a lot of similarities to Kentucky Speedway – but historically Kansas has been one of my better intermediate tracks.

“I hope that continues Friday night.”

Of course, there’s plenty of motivation for Self to deliver a strong outing in the Land of Oz.

With family always being Self’s number one priority, Friday night’s seventh race of the season holds a little more sentimental value with this Sunday (May 12) being Mother’s Day and with Self’s mother JoAnn being a huge supporter front and center nearly every race weekend.

“I love having my family at the race track every weekend,” offered Self. “My mom and dad are there almost every weekend and offer a lot of encouragement and support through the good and bad. The moms in NASCAR make a lot of sacrifices including my mom – so a good run on Friday night will mean a little more for me and hopefully her too.”

Self, 23, will make his fourth NGOTS at Kansas and looks to better a 13th place finish which he earned last May. In addition to Trucks, Self has two additional starts in the ARCA Menards Series from 2014 – 2015.

“With Kansas being a one-day show, we can’t afford to leave anything on the table,” noted Self. “It’s important to make sure I’m working with Eddie (Troconis, crew chief) to make sure our balance during the day in practice and even qualifying will be transparent at night.

“That was the biggest thing for us last year. We were able to keep the speed up because our truck responded to the changing track conditions. At this point, I feel like we have a lot of speed and just want to keep moving in the right direction not only this weekend at Kansas but for the upcoming races too.”

The Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program and AM Technical Solutions will support Self in his 68th career start.

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.

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.

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

In 67 NGOTS races, the 2015 ARCA Menards Series Rookie of the Year has one top-five (second at Daytona 2017) and five top-10 finishes. The Texan maintains an average finish of 18.2 during his three years of competition.

The Austin, Texas native is nestled 18th in the championship standings with 17 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. 

For additional information on CForce premium artesian water, please visit cforce.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 more on Kreuz Market, please visit kreuzmarket.com. like them on Facebook (KreuzMarketLockhart) and follow them on Twitter (@kreuzmarket).

The Digital Ally 250 (167 laps| 250.5 miles) is the seventh of 23 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races on the 2019 schedule. Practice begins on Fri., May 10 from 8:35 a.m. – 9:25 a.m. A final practice session is set for 10:35 a.m. – 11:25 a.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day beginning at 4:05 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 7:30 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 (Central).

AM Racing PR

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