Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6089)
Gander Outdoors Truck Series News
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- Gilliland began the race in the 13th position after single-vehicle qualifying on Friday afternoon.
- In the first stage, Gilliland reported that he needed more rear grip, and his Tundra was tight on entry to the corner and loose on exit.
- Following the first stage, crew chief Michael Shelton brought the teenage driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
- Gilliland started the second stage in 14th after his pit stop.
- On lap 54, Gilliland made contact with the No. 54, and she was unable to maintain control, spinning and bringing out a caution, but Gilliland was able to avoid any significant damage to the Mobil 1 Tundra.
- During the yellow flag, Gilliland reported that his Tundra "just got way better," and he finished the second stage in 13th among fierce three-wide battles for position.
- Following the second stage, Shelton brought Gilliland to pit road for four tires and fuel.
- After a fast four-tire stop between stages, Gilliland restarted in ninth.
- The talented teenager continued in the top 10 and charged as high as fifth.
- During the final round of green-flag pit stops, Shelton called Gilliland to pit road with 30 laps to go for four fresh Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel. Once stops cycled around, Gilliland was in the sixth position.
- The second-generation racer brought his Mobil 1 Tundra across the line in sixth place, earning his seventh top-10 finish of the season.
Brandon Jones Equals Career-Best with Second-Place Finish at Chicagoland in No. 51 Chigo/Menards Tundra29 Jun 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
- Jones qualified the No. 51 Chigo/Menards Tundra in the 19th position.
- The young driver made quick work of the field, gaining eight spots on the opening lap, then entering the top-10 by lap 3.
- By the first caution on lap 6, Jones was in the eighth position and still moving forward. He reported that his truck was a little tighter than it had been in practice.
- Jones took the third position only 12 laps into the race.
- On the final lap of the stage, Jones edged his way by the No. 98 and earned the stage win.
- Crew chief Rudy Fugle called the No. 51 to pit road following the first stage and chose to change four tires and fuel the Tundra.
- Jones began the second stage in the lead following a quick pit stop by the No. 51 pit crew.
- He dropped to second on lap 48, and reported to Fugle that his Tundra was tight, but continued to challenge for the lead.
- The No. 51 remained in the second position for the rest of the stage, and at the end of stage, Fugle brought him to pit road for another four tires and fuel.
- After his four-tire stop, Jones started the final stage in fifth.
- Although he reported that the handling of his Tundra continued to trend tight, Jones remained in the top five throughout the final stage, moving into second on lap 118.
- As green flag pit stops began, Jones inherited the lead and then Fugle called the No. 51 to pit road for four tires with 29 laps to go in the event. When green flag stops cycled through, Jones was solidly in the second position behind eventual race winner Brett Moffitt.
- Without a late race caution to close the gap, Jones was unable to gain time on Moffitt and finished second in his third NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the season, tying his career-best effort. Jones has finished second in four of his 43 series starts.
- Burton started the 150-lap event from the 8th spot, but after missing a shift on the initial start fell back to 10th. After an early caution, the second-generation driver restarted 10th on lap nine, but this time had a strong restart and moved up to eighth.
- On lap 23, he gained two more positions and remained in the sixth spot when the field crossed the stripe to complete Stage One on lap 35.
- Burton communicated that his Safelite Tundra "fired off tight, but started swinging loose," as his team prepared for the first pit stop of the night.
- Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned Burton to pit road for four fresh tires, with an air pressure adjustment aimed to improve the handling of the No. 18 Toyota, and a full load of fuel.
- The North Carolina native was scored in the seventh spot when Stage Two went green on lap 42. By the time the third caution of the night occurred on lap 44, Burton had advance two spots to the fifth position.
- Burton had another strong restart and moved up to third position on lap 48, where he remained for 15 laps, before sliding back one spot to finish the stage in the fourth position.
- He reported that the change on the first pit stop was a positive one and that he needed more of the same change.
- Hillman Jr. ordered up another air pressure adjustment during the next four-tire and fuel stop. A fast stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed Burton to exit pit road in the third position.
- Shortly after the Final Stage went green, the Safelite Tundra found itself in the middle lanes of a four-wide battle for the second spot and fell back to the fourth position, where it remained until a three-truck accident on lap 79 slowed the field for the fifth and final time.
- With the bottom lane not being the preferred lane on the restarts, Burton fell back two spots to sixth on the ensuing restart. Two laps later he was able to gain one position back and then with just over 30 laps remaining regained the fourth position.
- As the final pit stop of the night approached, he communicated to Hillman Jr. that the Safelite Tundra was "three out of 10 free."
- On lap 121, Hillman Jr. summoned his young driver to pit road for the final four-tire and fuel stop of the night under green-flag conditions.
- When pit stops cycled through with 24 laps remaining, the No. 18 team was scored in the fourth position and would maintain the spot when the field crossed the stripe to complete the Final Stage on lap 150.
- The fourth-place result was Burton's third top-five finish across the last four races and his fifth across 12 Gander Trucks starts in 2019.
- After two DNF's contributed to an average finish of 14.6 across the first five events of the Gander Trucks season, the talented teenager has recorded an average finish of 7.4 across the last seven races.
Brett Moffitt has long insisted he wanted to earn a checkered flag this season with his performance on track and Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway he did just that – winning the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Camping World 225 by a no-doubt 3.950 seconds over Brandon Jones.
The reigning series champion Moffitt has been vocal in his desire to hoist a trophy this weekend at Chicago – for the second consecutive year. And he earned It in convincing style – smiling widely as the confetti flew in victory lane while the crowd cheered approvingly. It was a welcome and different scene from the win he was awarded two weeks ago at Iowa after Ross Chastain was disqualified. Moffitt did not lead a lap in the race and only got to celebrate with his team in victory circle at an empty Iowa Speedway.
Not this time.
“It’s like the first win,’’ his crew chief Jerry Baxter said with a wide smile after the race. “This feels real good.’’
“We’ll go home and celebrate,’’ Moffitt said. “I felt confident, it was just a matter of a caution coming out or not. I’m sure he (Baxter) was nervous, I was nervous we were just praying for no caution to come out.’’
And celebrating in victory lane this time?
“It was a heck of a lot more fun, and it’s fun not only me but for the whole pit crew,’’
Moffitt’s No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet certainly kept the field honest all race. Stewart Friesen finished third with rookie Harrison Burton and pole-winner Austin Hill rounding out the top-five. Six of the top-10-finishing drivers have never won a race before.
Three Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers earned top-10 finishes – the 22-year-old Jones (runner-up), Burton (fourth) and 18-year old Todd Gilliland (sixth).
“We have just been working really really hard, all the guys at KBM busting their butts,’’ said Burton, who remains in playoff contention,
“I’m lucky to be in this position, we’re fighting our way into the playoffs and it’s a lot of fun. If we get in, they better watch out.”
Jones, who has only two previous truck starts this season was equally as pleased with his runner-up finish.
“We put ourselves in position to learn a bit and that’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a truck race,’’ Jones said, “We’ve got two more with these guys.”
With playoff positions at stake with four races left to set the championship field and plenty of pride on the line, a handful of the top-ranked drivers showed up at Chicagoland Speedway determined to settle for nothing less than a trophy. And it showed in a thrilling race featuring 12 lead changes and slowed by only five cautions (two for stage breaks).
The intensity was especially evident in the third and final stage. The trucks ran four-wide in the opening laps ultimately leading to the downfall of early race leader Grant Enfinger. The lapped car of Spencer Davis was running alongside Enfinger just after the final stage restart. Contact between the two forced Enfinger’s No. 98 Ford hard into the outside wall and sent Davis’ Chevy into the infield.
It was especially tough luck for Enfinger, who had led a race-best 49 of the opening 79 laps up to that point and had scored the Stage 2 victory only minutes earlier. He ended up 16th, two laps down but maintained his championship points lead by 52 points over Friesen.
Enfinger’s fate was part of a rough night for his ThorSport Racing team. Two of his teammates – Ben Rhodes and Johnny Sauter had engine issues. Only former two-time series champion Matt Crafton scored a top-10 (eighth).
Chastain, who started 16th and had to pit early in the opening stage rallied back to a seventh-place finish. The hard work is especially important for Chastain, who won the race at Gateway last week but needs to break into the top 20 in the rankings to be playoff eligible. He is now 10 points behind Jennifer Jo Cobb at the 20th place cutoff.
Brett Moffitt, driving a white sponsor-less truck for GMS Racing, scored his ninth career win on Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway while earning his second Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory of the season. Moffitt, a driver from Grimes, Iowa, led the field for 72 of the 150 circuits en route to victory lane.
The win comes under two-weeks of being awarded as the winner at Iowa Speedway after original race winner Ross Chastain failed post-race inspection. Moffitt started third and finished third in both stages.
Brandon Jones challenged for the lead throughout the 225-mile event in his No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. The driver from Georgia led 13 circuits and won stage one and sat second behind Grant Enfinger in stage two.
Jones leaves Chicagoland Speedway with two top five and two top 10 finishes through three starts in 2019.
Stewart Friesen rounded out the top three finishers in Friday’s Camping World 225. The driver from Canada leaves the 1.5-mile oval with seven top five and eight top 10 finishes through 12 races.
Harrison Burton and pole sitter Austin Hill rounded out the top five.
Todd Gilliland, Ross Chastain, Matt Crafton, Anthony Alfredo and Dylan Lupton rounded out the top 10.
Grant Enfinger, winner of stage two, had one of the fastest trucks going into the evening until lap 80. The No. 98 Champion Power Equipment Ford was involved in a three-truck melee in turn two that also involved Austin Wayne Self and Spencer Davis. Enfinger continued and finished 16th while Austin Wayne Self and Davis were done for the night.
Dylan Lupton made his third career start in the series since 2016 for DGR-Crosley. The driver of the No. 5 Toyota started ninth on the leaderboard and finished both stages sitting 10th.
The race saw 12 lead changes and seven leaders throughout the night. A total of five caution flags slowed the field while 22 trucks finished running.
The driver from California scored his first top 10 finish in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
The series will return to action at Kentucky Speedway on July 11. The Kentucky 225 will air live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Ross Chastain smiled widely when asked Friday how his multi-win, playoff-brink of a season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series has gone. But he insists he’s been too busy to bask in the spotlight or soak in the accolades coming his way.
And there have been plenty of both.
Chastain’s victory last weekend at Gateway put him in a more solid position to earn a shot at the truck series championship. With the win, the 26-year-old only needs to break into the top 20 in the points standings to earn the chance to compete for the season title. He entered Friday night’s Camping World 225 at Chicagoland Speedway (9 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) only 38 points below 20th-place Josh Reaume in the standings. And neither Reaume nor 19th place Cory Roper are entered in the Chicagoland race.
Chastain won earlier this season at Kansas Speedway but hadn’t declared his truck series championship intention yet so it didn’t count toward a truck championship eligibility. He won two weeks ago at Iowa, but his truck was disqualified and the victory wasn’t allowed to count toward his championship effort. It inspired instead of deterred him, however, and he answered with another win last week at Gateway.
So this weekend, Chastain’s only looking forward even if there’s little time to enjoy the view. He is entered in all three races at Chicagoland – Friday’s truck race will be his 40th start among the three series this season, most of any driver in NASCAR’s top three divisions. He’s also set to compete in Saturday’s Xfinity Series and Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races.
And Chastain says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Definitely,’’ Chastain said. “I had three hours of truck practice yesterday then today I’ll have an hour of Xfinity (Series) practice then 10 minutes later I’ll be qualifying a truck, so that will help me in the truck for sure. It’s the sensation of speed for me.‘’
Next week Chastain returns to his home state for the annual July stop at Daytona International Speedway. He’ll visit a children’s hospital in St. Petersburg on Monday and then head over to his home in Alva on the Southwest Coast near Fort Myers. Yet as his star brightly rises in the NASCAR world, Chastain insists his profile hasn’t changed much – at home or at the race locales he visits.
He’s still the humble, driven competitor who is seizing the opportunity he’s earned.
“We’re hustling and now is the time more than ever I have to prove I want it,’’ Chastain said.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER FEELS THE LOVE FROM HOME TRACK
Justin Allgaier, of Riverton, Illinois, returns to his home state a celebrated competitor. … and a very busy man.
“This is my home track,’’ Allgaier said during a Friday media availability. “It’s also my home track but also [my sponsor] Brandt’s home track and they bring a lot of customers and employees so it’s always unique because you’re trying to find that balance.
“Add in family and friends and all the guests Brandt brings, as much as I love coming home, it is hard because you do put a lot of expectation on yourself. You put a lot of pressure. You always leave the weekend like someone got shorted, so that’s probably the hardest part for me. But this is such a great facility and we love coming here.’’
Allgaier, who won in 2011 and 2017, is one of only two former Chicagoland race winners in Saturday’s field – joining fellow two-time winner and reigning Cup champion Joey Logano, who is making his first Xfinity start of the year.
That same victory magic can’t come soon enough this season. Allgaier is ranked fourth in the points standings, but is winless on the season. The top-three ranked drivers – Tyler Reddick (three wins), Christopher Bell (four wins) and Cole Custer (three wins) – have hoisted the vast majority of the 14 trophies this season. Those three drivers – Reddick then Custer then Bell – were fastest in opening Xfinity Series practice at Chicagoland.
By this time last year, Allgaier had two trophies already – winning at Dover and Iowa. He would go on to win at the Mid-Ohio and Elkhart Lake (Wisc.) road courses and top it off with a victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; the best season victory output of his nine-year Xfinity Series fulltime career.
This year, Allgaier has been productive and close. His No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has earned eight top-10 and seven top-five finishes – a championship setup most any other season. He led 138 laps at Bristol, but crashed out. He answered by leading 86 laps the next week at Richmond only to finish third. He has three runner-up finishes (at Daytona and back-to-back races at Dover and Charlotte).
“It’s interesting to me because we fired off the season and obviously we had some good runs, but we weren’t as fast as we’d like to be,’’ Allgaier said. “That’s probably the one thing that’s really hard to put your finger on, when you’re off a little bit. It’s like what area are you off because there’s about ten thousand things you could do differently.
He could only smile when comparing identically intense efforts between 2018 and 2019, producing such different results.
“Last year was crazy because everything we did was right. Even when we didn’t have the fastest car, we could win the race. That’s probably the hardest part.
“That’s been the interesting part, it couldn’t have been more opposite from last year,’’ Allgaier added. “That being said though, we were great in the regular season and terrible in the playoffs. So we’ve been steadily working on our program and if you look week in and week out the three JRM cars have gotten better and better. … I’m excited for the playoffs and I think we can be a championship-winning car.’’
NEW OPPORTUNITY, GOOD VIBE FOR JEFFREY EARNHARDT
Jeffrey Earnhardt has been all smiles and positive vibes this Xfinity Series season and Friday afternoon he remained optimistic and grateful for more opportunity awaiting him.
The 30-year-old grandson of the late seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt has scored major career milestones even in a part-time season. He earned his first Xfinity Series top 10 with a sixth-place showing at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March and his first top five, a third-place finish at Charlotte in May. He has three top 10s in six starts this season and earned the outside pole position at the season-opening Daytona race. He has started top 10 in five of the six races he’s competed in.
Five of Earnhardt’s previous starts have come in Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. This week he’ll drive the No. 81 XCI Racing Toyota for the second time this season – and is splitting starts between the two teams.
“It’s been huge,’’ Earnhardt said of the results this year. “In my opinion it’s every driver’s dream to be able to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing and also with Xtreme Concepts Racing and them having the support from Joe Gibbs. It’s incredible.
“You go out every weekend knowing you’re racing for a win when before, a good day was racing for 25th you know, and you’re trying to take care of the car. Now, if you don’t leave it all out on the track they get mad at you.
“It’s been a change, but it’s been a good change. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to showcase my talents because people start to doubt you and wonder if you can drive or not when you’re in bad equipment. There’s tons of drivers out there well-talented who may never get the opportunity to compete in good equipment just because of circumstances. So I’m very fortunate and thankful for the opportunity I’ve got. I just really want to capitalize on it and get that win this year. I know we’ve been close and had some good runs but I really want to put it all together and put the car in victory lane.”