Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6089)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

It's been a busy week for JJL Motorsports and driver Jesse Little.

With a huge marketing push from Skuttle Tight, a Willmar, Minn.-based manufacturer that offers two insulted attic access system that are easy to install, nearly 30 companies have pledged their support to join JJL Motorsports as an associate marketing partner for Saturday night's M&M's 200 presented Casey's General Store at Iowa Speedway.

After spending the week handling off-track responsibilities, Little and his Bill Henderson-led crew trek to Iowa Speedway looking to give the partners a strong finish under the Midwest lights.

"I' ve always loved competing at Iowa Speedway," said Little. "For a short track, Iowa is such a large place with plenty of space to race.

"Whether you're at the top, at the bottom and even sometimes in the middle, it's multi-grooved race track provides great opportunity to put on a great race but also the opportunity for a smaller team like ours to step up to the podium and leave our mark."

Iowa happens to be the spot of Little's career best finish in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. After starting ninth last June, Little rallied to earn a career-best sixth.

With a lot of work into their program since their most recent race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last month, Little is determined to build off his result from last summer and earn his third straight top-10 finish at the iconic Midwest short track.

"We had a really good truck at Iowa last year," Little recalled. "There's no doubt that we can go to the track this weekend and produce similar results. And that's our plan. With all of the support to get us to the race track - this race means a little more to us too - and I'm hopeful we can contend for a top-five finish on Saturday night."

In addition to Skuttle Tight, the No. 97 Ford F-150 will adorn the logos of BAM, BJ Electric, BK Plumbing, CDS, Fenstra Insurance, Fireside Hearth & Home, Floor To Ceiling, General Mailing, Hair Spys, Iowa Speedway, Johns Machine, KRA Speedway, Lakeland Broadcast, Luminaries LTD, Miller Sanitation, MKCH, Perkins Lumber, Print Masters, Project Build, Quick Signs, Quality Title, Ramaker, Ruffs Wings, Rule Tire & Auto, Thermoseal, Thurston Inc., Tony Iams Trucking, TPI Hospitality, Uncommon and Willmar Forklift.

"The overwhelming support for Iowa is so much appreciated," said driver Jesse Little.

"Skuttle Tight has been a great partner of ours and for them to take the initiative and help drum up additional support so we can race Iowa is very humbling for me as a driver and I feel indebted to them for making it all happen.

"We have a lot to be excited about heading to Iowa it's a track that I enjoy competing at, so I'm eager to get out there and bring everyone a good finishes."

This week, JJL Motorsports also offered an updated inventory of items on their official online store which now includes a new tee-shirt design available in several different sizes.

Be sure to stay tuned to JJL Motorsports and Jesse Little's social media platforms where an upcoming contest will allow you the opportunity to win a pair of Skuttle Tight-themed cornhole boards for your summer extravaganza.

Parker FiberNet, Visit Kingsport, Grindstaff Rub, PFC Brakes and Dkota Investments will also be showcased in Little's 28th career start.

The M&M's 200 (200 laps|175 miles) is the 10th of 23 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races on the 2019 schedule. Practice begins on Sat., June 15 from 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. A final practice session is set for 10:30 a.m. - 11:55 a.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day beginning at 4:35 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).

For more on Skuttle Tight, please visit skuttle-tight.com or by calling 1-866-SKUTTLE. Also visit them on Facebook (Skuttle Tight Inc.) or on Twitter @SkuttleTight.

To learn more about Parker FiberNet, please visit parkersystems.net.

Visit Dkota Investments online at dkota.biz.

For all that Visit Kingsport has to offer, please visit visitkingsport.com.

For more on the Grindstaff Rub. Co and their products, please visit grindstaffrubs.com.

For more on Jesse Little, please like him on Facebook at Jesse Little Racing.

Little tweets too. Follow him @JesseLittle97.

For additional information on JJL Motorsports, please visit JJLRacing.com.

JJL Motorsports tweets too. Follow them @JJL_Motorsports.

JJL Motorsports PR

DGR-Crosley announced today that Wilton, Calif. native Dylan Lupton (@LuptonDylan) will join the team for a minimum of six NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races this season. 
“I am excited to finally announce my 2019 plans and join DGR-Crosley in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series,” said Lupton. “DGR-Crosley has proven to be a very competitive team in the series in a short amount of time, and I believe we will be contending for wins throughout my schedule.”
Lupton is no stranger to the NASCAR ranks. 
A NASCAR Next alumnus, Lupton has experience in all three of NASCAR’s national series levels, including four starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Most recently, the Californian competed in 11 races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series during the 2018 season. 
A two-time winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West division, Lupton returns to Gander Truck Series competition after two starts in 2016 finishing 12thfor Young’s Motorsports at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and 19that ISM (Ariz.) Raceway in Avondale for Athenian Motorsports. 
“We were super excited when we got the call that Dylan wanted to do some races with us,” said DGR-Crosley team co-owner David Gilliland. “His experience across multiple levels of racing is going to be a huge asset as we go to some of these tracks through the summer and fall months. I know that Dylan has the talent to run up front and I’m looking forward to working with him. I feel confident that we will put together some strong finishes with him this season.”
While juggling an aggressive racing schedule, Lupton graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. 
“Even though I have experience in all of NASCAR’s top three series, I don’t have that many Gander Outdoor Truck Series starts,” he remarked. “I’m eager to learn from people like David [Gilliland] to strengthen my racing resume and becoming an asset to the DGR-Crosley organization.”
Lupton, 25, will make his DGR-Crosley debut at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway on June 28 aboard the team’s No. 5 Toyota Tundra entry. Lupton returns at Kentucky Speedway (Jul. 11), Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (Aug. 15), Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (Sept. 13), ISM (Ariz.) Raceway (Nov. 8) and the season-finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway (Nov. 15). 
DGR Crosley PR

On the heels of a strong performance at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last month, Chad Finley Racing (CFR) heads to Iowa Speedway with driver Chad Finley looking for their second career top-10 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) finish in Saturday night’s M&M’s 200.

In his second NGOTS start of the year in the backyard of NASCAR country at Charlotte, Finley put on a thrilling performance which included rallying from a mid-race miscue to bolt into the top-10 before a late-race restart buckled the team’s opportunity to capitalize on their strong night.

Knowing they could have easily finished inside the top-10, being in the wrong lane at the wrong time on the final restart of the night hindered Finley’s opportunity at earning his best speedway finish in Trucks and instead left the Mooresville, N.C.-organization with an 18th place finish.

Still, the team is upbeat about their Charlotte effort and plans to finish what they started in the Midwest at Newton’s Iowa Speedway.

“I’m really hoping for a strong weekend at Iowa Speedway,” said Finley. “I’m really proud of the efforts of my Chad Finley Racing team and their ability to put a fast Strutmasters.com, Air Lift Company and Auto Value Certified Service Centers Truck on the race track. No doubt we’re going to Iowa this week planning to finish what we started at Charlotte.”

It’s been 10 years since Finley has been to Iowa’s 0.875-mile short track. In 2009, Finley, a native of DeWitt, Mich. competed in an ARCA Menards Series race driving for Brad Keselowski Racing. Despite qualifying mid-pack, Finley rallied to earn a ninth-place finish in just his second career ARCA start.

His second consecutive top-10 finish at the time is one of 11 top-10 finishes in 20 career ARCA Menards Series races that spans over five seasons. While competing at a track a decade ago can be tough to rekindle, Finley still has a good memory of the facility and the type of racing it embraces.

“Iowa is a fun place,” Finley added. “It’s been a long time, a real long time since I’ve been there, but I’m hoping the fundamentals are pretty much the same.

“While there’s plenty of racing grooves, track position and tire conservation is still incredibly important. Thankfully, when it comes to my team, I feel like I have one of the best in the business in my crew chief Bruce Cook and look forward to seeing what we can do on Saturday night.”

Strutmasters.com, Air Lift Company and Auto Value Certified Service Centers will serve as the primary marketing partners for Saturday night’s anticipated thriller.

Since 1999, Strutmasters.com has served as an industry leader in suspension parts and air to non-air suspension conversion kits.

Finley also has additional support from Northsidetowing.net and XLT Engineering as well for the 10th race of the season.

In addition to his seven prior Truck starts, Finley, 27, has 20 ARCA Menards Series starts to his credit.

In his years of ARCA competition between 2009 and 2018 Finley has mounted one-win (Nashville 2017), eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes, including a pole (track record) at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway in 2009.

Finley is the son of former ARCA winner and NASCAR driver Jeff Finley.

The M&M’s 200 (200 laps|175 miles) is the 10th of 23 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races on the 2019 schedule. Practice begins on Sat., June 15 from 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. A final practice session is set for 10:30 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day beginning at 4:35 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).

For additional information on Chad Finley and his race team please visit ChadFinleyRacing.com.

Follow Chad Finley on Twitter @Chad_Finley.

CFR PR

Juan Manuel Gonzalez will return to the Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing (JJCR) #10 ILLUX Chevrolet in this week’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway.

Gonzalez is fresh off of his third NASCAR FEDEX Challenge Mexico Series win after capturing the pole and dominating the event last Sunday at the 7/8 mile 16 degree banked oval in Aguascalientes, Mexico. “To have this win before entering Iowa brings me a lot of confidence,” the 20-year old Mexico City native said, “I am very thankful for Jen and the team for giving me the opportunity to race with them again. I feel confident that we are going to do a great job. I have been looking at the track and it feels like a dream come true to be in this category already, I am really excited and I’m looking forward to learning a lot.”

Gonzalez entered this year’s NGOTS event at Martinsville but a starter issue prevented him from completing his qualifying runs. “JuanMa showed a lot of talent in our truck in March,” said Cobb, “racing can be tough and when a part fails and causes such an adverse outcome it is so frustrating. We are anxious to give him a good truck for Iowa and see him excel in the U.S.”

JuanMa’s efforts are supported by his Mexico sponsors: ILLUX, Hooter’s Mexico, Sidral Aga-Red Cola, Telmex-Telcel and Arai Helmets.

JJCR owner and driver, Jennifer Jo Cobb will pilot the team’s #0 Driven2Honor Chevrolet.

JJCR PR

In a sport as tumultuous as NASCAR, positive momentum can play a big role in a small team. For Jordan Anderson and his #3 organization, they’ve been able to ride the results of three straight Top 15 finishes in their last 3 races at Kansas, Charlotte, and Texas respectively as they look to continue building the second-year team moving into the summer months of 2019 with a focus on performance and consistency. The race results have not only been a boost of confidence for the crew, but they have allowed the team to climb into the 13th spot in the series’ championship points standings.

In between races at Charlotte and Texas, Jordan also made an excursion to the Alaskan frontier and competed for the first time in the state driving the #89 Pro Late Model for Bobby and Roger Reuse. The trip proved to be a worthwhile and exciting one, as Anderson captured both the pole and race win - along with meeting and making new fans at the beautiful track located at the base of snow covered mountaintops in Anchorage, AK.

With races at the Iowa Speedway, and at the newly renamed World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Anderson’s adopted hometown of St. Louis coming up, there will be plenty of action served in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series this month. The two events will be part of the Triple Truck Challenge where drivers are competing for a $50,000 bonus for each race win.

In Jordan Anderson’s most recent race in the #3 Bommarito.com Chevrolet Silverado this past weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, the organization put together one of their best performances to date using fan favorite chassis 007. After posting the 6th fastest time in 1st practice, the team and driver worked on setup changes all weekend, using the extended practice time available as a test sessions of sorts to build their intermediate track notebook.

After overcoming issues during qualifying, Anderson and team began their march forward during the race. With the setting Texas sun and cooling track temperatures, the asphalt began to gain grip that favored the #3. At the end of the 1st stage, Anderson had climbed up to 9th and earned 2 stage points for the effort. After a bold pit strategy to stay out and not pit for the start of the 2nd stage, Anderson would restart 2nd on the field. Upon the drop of the green flag, he would make a move on Todd Gilliland for the lead, and eventually settle in to 3rd place for the majority of the stage bringing the entire team and sponsors sitting on pit road to their feet.

At the drop of the checkered flag at the end of the race, Anderson had brought home another solid Top 15 finish for the team after overcoming a late race spin while fighting for position that took place in the slippery turns 1 and 2 that fought the drivers all night. 

“An absolutely amazing weekend for us overall to see the potential that lies ahead.” said Anderson after the race. “Although the finish doesn’t show how well we ran tonight, this is a huge boost of confidence for each of the guys on our team that works their hearts out, and each and every one of our partners that have supported and believed in this team from Day 1. The journey has been filled with more blessings than I can count, and to be able to run towards the front with the resources that we have, has me more motivated than ever to keep moving this organization forward and press on towards what’s ahead. I’ll forever be grateful to everyone that’s supported us, and helps make this dream possible every week. I can’t wait to race at Iowa and Gateway these next two weeks and put a show on for all the amazing fans that our sport has in the midwest.”

Jordan Anderson Racing PR

Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team won the pole for the SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and led twice for a total of 31 laps before falling prey to treacherous track conditions while battling for the lead and finishing 27th. The young driver posted the 12th, fifth, and sixth-fastest laps in three practices respectively on Thursday. Friday afternoon, Gilliland earned his second-career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series pole in one round of single-vehicle qualifying.
 
Under the lights, Gilliland quickly jumped to the lead and led the first five laps before dropping to second place. He remained at the front of the field, leading for a second time in Stage 2 for 26 additional laps before losing control on a restart and making contact with the wall, ending his night.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • In one round of single-truck qualifying, Gilliland put his No. 4 Mobil 1 Tundra on the pole with a lap of 29.227 seconds and 184.761 mph.
  • When the green flag flew, Gilliland pulled out to the lead, which he retained for the first five laps.
  • Interim crew chief Wes Ward brought Gilliland to pit road with 12 laps to go in the stage for four tires and fuel.
  • After restarting in 20th position after his pit stop, Gilliland gained eight spots in two laps before the next caution flag flew.
  • Gilliland finished the first stage in the sixth position after restarting with two laps to go in the ninth position, earning five stage points.
Stage Two Recap:
  • Gilliland began the second stage in the lead, after Ward opted not to pit between stages.
  • The talented teenager hung on to the lead for 26 laps and several restarts.
  • Then, on lap 69, Gilliland was just one of many drivers to succumb to a treacherous Turn 2, losing control while in a fierce battle for the lead.
  • The young driver was unable to continue and ultimately finished in 27th, in a race marred by a record 13 cautions for a total of 63 laps.

KBM PR

Greg Biffle made a triumphant return to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway and picked up the sixth win for the No. 51 team this season. After a 15-year hiatus from the series and three years away from NASCAR, the 49-year-old veteran driver picked up his 17th career win in the Gander Trucks. The 51 team posted the 11th, 12th and 16th-fastest times in three practices respectively on Thursday afternoon, and then Biffle qualified his Tundra in the sixth position in one round of single-vehicle qualifying.
 
After Biffle and crew chief Rudy Fugle fine tuned the No. 51 Tundra in practice, the veteran driver knocked the cobwebs out and began the race in the sixth position. After two hot and sticky afternoons, the track began to cool as the sun set, changing the handling conditions for the race vehicles. Biffle and Fugle made a gamble on fuel mileage in the final stage, and it paid off, earning them a trip to Victory Lane.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • Qualifying for the event consisted of one round of single truck qualifying, and Biffle earned the sixth starting position.
  • Early in the caution-filled first stage, Biffle reported that the handling on his Tundra was just a tick free.
  • Under caution with 12 to go in the stage, crew chief Rudy Fugle opted to bring Biffle down pit road for four tires and fuel. The 51 Tundra restarted in 15th.
  • At the stage conclusion, Biffle did not pit, and regained his track position.
 
Stage Two Recap:
  • Biffle started the second stage in in the sixth position.
  • The veteran driver continued to call for his Tundra to be tightened up as he navigated another four caution flags in the middle stage, while remaining in the top six.
  • Fugle called him to pit road at the end of the stage for four tires and fuel.
 
Stage Three Recap:
  • Biffle began the final stage in fifth, but was up to the second position by lap 91.
  • During four late race restarts, Biffle used his years of experience to outduel the competition and save enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag.
  • The driver of the No. 51 took the top spot on lap 104, then the caution flag flew five laps later.
  • Fugle brought the No. 51 to pit road with 58 laps to go for four tires and fuel, then opted to gamble on fuel mileage until the end of the race.
  • Biffle restarted in 10th with 55 laps to go, and methodically worked his way forward as other vehicles had to pit for fuel, with some opportune caution flags falling near the end of the event.
  • After the final caution flag flew on lap 157, Biffle restarted in the lead and battled Matt Crafton to pick up his second Gander Trucks win at Texas Motor Speedway, the last coming on June 9, 2000, almost exactly 19 years ago.

KBM PR

Harrison Burton battled his way from the 11th starting position to register a fifth-place finish in Friday night's SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Burton recorded his third top-five finish of 2019 despite having to overcome a pit road penalty for an uncontrolled tire near the halfway mark of the race and he also sustained minor damage to the left side of his Safelite AutoGlass Tundra in the Final Stage.
 
Stage One Recap:  
  • Burton started the 167-lap event from the 11th spot and ran just outside the top 10 for the majority of Stage One as he reported that his Toyota was "free on entry and tight in the center."
  • When the third caution of the night occurred on lap 28, a handful of teams elected to hit pit road, but crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. elected to stay out in an effort to earn some stage points. Burton restarted eighth for the restart with two laps to go in Stage One but got passed by a couple drivers with fresh tires and ended the stage scored in the 10th spot. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • Hillman Jr. summoned his young driver to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel between stages. With several teams having already pitted, the No. 18 team was scored 20th when Stage Two went green on lap 46.
  • Burton catapulted from 20th to 13th in one lap and then made his way into the top 10 on lap 68. He was running 10th when his KBM teammate Todd Gilliland brought out the eight caution of the event on lap 69.
  • The race went back green with six laps remaining in the stage. When Tyler Ankrum went spinning towards pit road the next lap, several drivers slowed up thinking that the accident had brought out the caution, but the race remained green and Burton alertly stayed in the gas and wound up in the fourth position.
  • He was able to pick up one more spot before the completion of the stage and crossed the stripe third on lap 80. 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • Hillman Jr. ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with an air pressure adjustment. A tire got away from the pit crew during the stop putting Burton in the 20th position at the tail end of the field for the start of the Final Stage.
  • Burton would run just outside the top 10 during the first half of the Final Stage. On lap 97, Burton sustained minor damage to the left side of his Safelite Tundra as part of a six-truck accident.
  • When pit road opened, the over-the-wall crew went to working clearing the tire from the fenders, but ultimately decided to put on fresh left-side tires.
  • Burton would restart from the 13th spot on lap 103, but by the time the next caution occurred on lap 108 had advanced to 10th.
  • A handful of teams elected to pit for the final set of fresh tires, but the No. 18 team remained on the track. The second-generation driver would restart from the sixth spot on lap 112.
  • Burton was running in the sixth position on lap 150 as the event's first long green-flag run ensued. Hillman Jr. was just about to summon Burton to pit road for the final time when the 13th and final caution of the night occurred on lap 154.
  • The Safelite Tundra hit pit road for fresh right-side tires and fuel and returned to the track scored in the fifth position for the restart with 10 laps remaining.
  • Burton advanced to the third position on the restart, but would ultimately end the event in the fifth spot. 

KBM PR

It was, as Greg Biffle screamed over his radio at the checkered flag, an “awesome freaking drive.”

Awesome? Improbable was more to the point.

Biffle ended a self-imposed three-year retirement from NASCAR by winning Friday night’s 23rd annual SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Biffle, who last raced in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on Nov. 19, 2004 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and last won in 2001, scored his second series victory on TMS’ high-banked/1.5-mile quad-oval in a one-off appearance in place of team-owner/driver Kyle Busch.

Biffle, the 2000 series champion, outlasted two-time series champ Matt Crafton by 0.9630-seconds at the wheel of his No. 51 Toyota Tundra fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports. Tyler Ankrum finished third after celebrating his graduation from high school during pre-race ceremonies, followed by Grant Enfinger and Harrison Burton.

“It feels really good to come back and drive a really fast truck. I really learned a lot tonight,” said Biffle, 49, whose last Truck Series win was at ISM Raceway in Phoenix in 2001. “This series, a lot of competitive trucks here and these (KBM) guys make the difference. They made it easy for me. It was a great opportunity. Just excited to be here, just so thankful to drive great trucks. This thing was really fast.

“So many things went through my head of what I was going to expect. First and foremost I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I didn’t want to ‘run-bad,’ in 15th. I felt we could run in the top-five, top-eight. Ultimately the win is always in the back of your mind. These things are humbling. I’ve been doing this a long, long time but I wasn’t pleased where I was in final practice (15th). So I was a bit nervous but talked to Kyle. I was learning clear to the checkered flag.

“This ranks pretty high for me (career-wise), for one of my wins.”

The win was sweetened by a $50,000 bonus for winning the opening round of NASCAR’s Triple Truck Challenge that continues next at Iowa Speedway.

“It’s great,” Biffle joked, already politicking for another start. “I’ve been off work a long time.  But my phone’s back in the motorhome. I’ll get hold of Kyle.”

Biffle - working here with crew chief Rudy Fugle - now has 82 Truck Series races on his resume, with 17 wins, 43 top-five and 55 top-10 results. This was Bjffle’s sixth Truck Series start at TMS, where his previous win was scored in 2000. He qualified on-pole and led 120 of 167 laps in that spring event en route to his championship for team-owner Jack Roush.

Biffle also scored Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series spring victories in 2005 and 2012 at TMS during his tenure with Roush Fenway Racing, which ended at the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2016.

Biffle led twice for 18 laps in a race dominated by Enfinger, who led 44 laps in his No. 98 ProtectTheHarvest.com Ford F-150. Biffle took the lead for good from Ankrum on Lap 155 and eventually held Crafton at bay.

Enfinger leads the championship by 37 points over Stewart Friesen, who finished 20th after breaking loose and hitting the Turn 2 wall with his No. 52 Halmar International Chevrolet Silverado while trying to pass Biffle on the inside on Lap 109 of the scheduled 167.

The race produced a record 13 caution periods, three more than the previous total and took 2 hours, 29 minutes and 39 seconds to complete.

Crafton said he needed a few more laps in his No. 88 Chi-Chi’s/Menards Ford to perhaps catch Biffle, whose fuel supply was in question. “We made hay with him and got there and just really got tight,” Crafton said. “It really sucks to finish second.” Crafton posted his 27th top-10 finish in 38 races at TMS and his eighth top-10 result of 2019.

Ben Rhodes won Stage 2 over Friesen with Burton placing third. Rhodes, driver of the No. 99 Carolina Nut Ford, earned his first stage win of the season in a segment that saw Ankrum’s No. 17 RAILBLAZA Toyota slide sideways through the pits on a restart on Lap 75.

“I’m thankful for the pit strategy of my team, they got me track position,” Rhodes said after 15.9-second pit stop at the end of the segment. It was a wasted effort, as Rhodes lost power and veered to the outside as the green flag fell on Lap 95. Rhodes returned to the pits on Lap 96 - during the race’s record 11th caution - with what was reported as a transmission that was stuck in fourth gear.

Johnny Sauter, the defending event winner, won Stage 1 in a dash to the flag with Austin Hill following a short red-flag stoppage (1:16) to clean up debris after Angela Ruch’s accident in Turn 2. Enfinger finished the 40-lap stage in third. It was the third stage win of the season for Sauter, who locked up a spot in the Playoffs by winning on Dover International Speedway’s Monster Mile.

Sauter’s night went awry on Lap 56, however, when his No. 13 Tenda Heal Ford fielded by ThorSport Racing broke loose in the Turn 4 banking and slapped the wall with the right side.  Sauter, the 2016 series champion whose five wins here is the most among active drivers, returned to finish 13th, one lap down.

Pole-sitter Todd Gilliland’s promising night took a hit when he spun out of the lead on a restart on Lap 69 and whacked the backstretch wall. Gilliland, who qualified on-pole at 184.761 mph earlier Friday, was pushed to the pits after his No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota sustained heavy right side damage that disabled the battery.

“I got loose on the bottom and not a lot of fun when it happens,” the third generation driver said. “I think we executed good until that. We qualified on-pole, but it still sucks we’re out of this race. I thought we were going to have something for ‘em tonight. I need to be more patient, get smarter. We’ve got an important stretch coming up and need to keep the morale up.”

Austin Hill constructed one of his most complete efforts of the season and collected an eighth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on Friday night. The driver of the No. 16 Ennis Steel Toyota Tundra paced the field for 34 laps in the final stage and scored the fifth-most points among all drivers. The result is Hill’s sixth top-10 finish in nine events this season, and his fourth consecutive top-10.
Hill tied his best-career qualifying effort at TMS from earlier this season and started from the fifth position. A tight handling condition at the outset relegated him to the ninth position, but Hill took full advantage of two restarts on laps 33 and 39 to score nine points and finish second in Stage 1. Crew chief Scott Zipadelli brought Hill to pit road under the lap 41 caution for four tires and rejoined the field in 17th as a variety of differing strategies played out through the field.
Hill began to patiently work his way to the front on the lap 47 restart, but was involved in an accident on lap 57. Close quarters racing in turn three resulted in Hill making minimal contact with the outside wall. The Ennis Steel team made precise repairs to Hill’s Toyota Tundra and returned him to the track still in contention for the lap 63 restart. By the end of Stage 2 on lap 80, Hill had worked his way back up to 11th, and restarted 13th after another mixed bag of pit strategies shuffled the field.
The Winston, GA driver executed a thrilling restart to perfection and climbed from 10th to fourth on lap 94, and took the lead shortly thereafter on lap 112. Once he took control of the top spot, Hill rocketed away to a straightaway lead over second place and was in firm control of the event. Hill came to pit road for a scheduled, fuel-only pit stop on lap 146, but a caution on lap 153 trapped Hill a lap down before the full cycle of pit stops was completed. Hill regained his lap by virtue of the Lucky Dog and restarted ninth with 10 laps to go. Hill picked his way through lapped traffic and was able to gain one position to take the checkered flag in eighth position. 
Austin Hill Quote:
“We got a little off sequence at the start. Me and the 13 (Johnny Sauter) got together early in the race. He held me tight and I got loose up under him and we had a little bit of right front and right rear damage. But the guys did a hell of a job pulling it back out and making it salvageable. The truck was stupid fast. I have never had a truck that fast on a mile-and-a-half in my life. Once we got up through there and got to the top five, I came over the radio and said ‘Hey, we got something for these boys, I feel like we are pretty good.’ We got a good restart and got to the lead. At one point, we were a straightaway ahead, but we knew we were a little off-sequence. We knew we were going to have to pit a little earlier than everyone else. I knew there were some guys that were trying to stretch it. We came down pit road, and the guys did an awesome job. We had no issues on pit road; we just got caught a lap down due to that caution. It really hurt us. But by far, that is the best truck I have had at a mile-and-a-half.”

HRE PR

Greg Biffle came away victorious on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway in his first NASCAR National Series start since Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2016. Biffle passed Tyler Ankrum for the lead with 13 circuits remaining to score his 17th career truck Series victory. The driver of the No. 51 Toyota started the night sixth on the leaderboard.

“It means a lot to me that Kyle gave me this opportunity to come back and drive this truck. Thanks to everyone that stood behind Kyle Busch Motorsports, Mobil 1,” said Biffle after the race. “This Gander Outdoors Truck Series has a lot of competitive trucks, and these guys make the difference. These guys are a great group of guys that Kyle put assembled. I am just excited to be here. I don’t even know what to say. I am so thankful for all the opportunities I have had to drive great trucks. This thing was really fast. It was hard to figure out how to pass here. It was my first time with this package, so it took me a little bit, but I got used to it in the end.”

The Vancouver, Washington, native sat 16th in stage one and sixth at the end of stage two. Biffle, who made numerous starts in the upper ranks of NASCAR since 1996, saw the lead two different times throughout the 167-lap event.

“It was not easy. I had my work cut out for me,” said Biffle. “At the beginning of the race, so much odd stuff happened. We ran five laps at a time and then the caution would come out. There was a lot of people wrecking in front of me and behind me. I was just trying to keep the truck clean and stay out of trouble. Then we got four-wide off of turn 2, and I didn’t know you could do that here. We beat the fenders in a bit, but the Mobil 1 Toyota ran really good tonight. I want to thank those guys for coming on board and helping us.”

Biffle entered Texas Motor Speedway on a one-race deal with Kyle Busch Motorsports. It is unknown at this time whether the NASCAR veteran racer will enter anymore races this year despite winning the first race of the Triple Truck Challenge.

“I don’t know. I think they have a plan together for all of trucks to run, but we will just have to wait and see what happens.”

Matt Crafton will leave with the runner-up spot in the No. 88 Ford F-150. Crafton, with six top five and eight top 10 finishes in 2019, finished stage one sitting fifth and stage two sitting eighth on the leaderboard.

The driver of the No. 88 Menards Ford leaves Texas sitting third in points.

Tyler Ankrum rounded out the top-three finishers in Friday’s SpeedyCash.com 400K. Ankrum started eighth and made several daring moves in his effort towards the front. The young racer, who made his eighth career truck series start at Texas on Friday, scored his third top five and ninth top 10 finish of the year.

Grant Enfinger and Harrison Burton rounded out the top five.

Sheldon Creed, Brennan Poole, Austin Hill, Cory Roper and Ross Chastain rounded out the top 10 finishers.

13 yellow flags slowed the SpeedyCash.com 400K at Texas – including one red flag on lap 35. One of 13 yellows involved six trucks on the backstretch with Cory Roper, Trey Hutchens, Harrison Burton, Spencer Boyd, Natalie Decker and stage two winner Ben Rhodes on lap 95. The other multi-truck incident occurred on lap 58 in turn four involving stage one winner Johnny Sauter and Austin Hill.

The series now heads to Iowa Speedway for the Iowa 200 on June 15th. Coverage of the race will air live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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