Matt Crafton pulls away, wins Truck Series race at Atlanta


Back-to-back defending Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton chalked up a convincing victory tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway, leading a race-high 85 laps to win the Hyundai Construction Equipment 200.

Crafton quickly moved from 15th on the grid and took the lead from Erik Jones at Lap 45 of 130. From there on, the ThorSport Racing driver dominated to claim his sixth career Truck Series triumph, his fourth on a 1.5-mile oval (Charlotte 2008, Kansas 2013, Texas-1 2014), and his first Atlanta win in his 14th start there.

“I was really, really disappointed in qualifying, but we didn’t have a whole lot of single lap speed by itself,” Crafton told Fox Sports 1 in Victory Lane. “But I knew once they dropped the green and this thing took off – I ran three laps and said, ‘We’ve got something for these boys, they’re in trouble today.'”

Ty Dillon followed up his third-place Xfinity Series effort earlier on Saturday with a second-place finish in the Truck race. Pole sitter Ben Kennedy only led the first lap, but turned in a solid third-place finish to bounce back from a crash in last weekend’s season opener at Daytona.

Daniel Suarez collected a second consecutive Top-10 finish in the Trucks with a run to fourth place, while Tyler Reddick came home fifth to retain his Truck Series championship lead by two points over Crafton.

Erik Jones led 37 laps tonight, but slid through his pit stall not once but twice during stops and finished an unrepresentative seventh. Also having a rough night was Sprint Cup star Brad Keselowski, who finished one lap down in 15th. Keselowski was penalized in the pits early on (driving through too many stalls) and was two laps down at one point in the race.

The Trucks now take a one-month break before returning to action on March 28 at the half-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Atlanta
Unofficial Results

1. Matt Crafton … 130 laps … Running
2. Ty Dillon … 130 laps … Running
3. Ben Kennedy … 130 laps … Running
4. Daniel Suarez … 130 laps … Running
5. Tyler Reddick … 130 laps … Running
6. Johnny Sauter … 130 laps … Running
7. Erik Jones … 130 laps … Running
8. James Buescher … 129 laps … Running
9. Timothy Peters … 129 laps … Running
10. Joe Nemechek … 129 laps … Running
11. Ryan Sieg … 129 laps … Running
12. John Wes Townley … 129 laps … Running
13. Spencer Gallagher … 129 laps … Running
14. Cameron Hayley … 129 laps … Running
15. Brad Keselowski … 129 laps … Running
16. Justin Boston … 129 laps … Running
17. Caleb Holman … 127 laps … Running
18. Garrett Smithley … 126 laps … Running
19. Daniel Hemric … 126 laps … Running
20. Korbin Forrister … 125 laps … Running
21. Bryan Silas … 123 laps … Running
22. Tyler Young … 123 laps … Running
23. Jordan Anderson … 123 laps … Running
24. Wendell Chavous … 120 laps … Running
25. Ray Black Jr. … 119 laps … Running
26. Jennifer Jo Cobb … 118 laps … Running
27. Morgan Shepherd … 118 laps … Running
28. Mason Mingus … 110 laps … Accident
29. Brandon Brown … 91 laps … Oil Line
30. Cody Ware … 48 laps … Accident
31. Norm Benning … 12 laps … Rear Gear

Time of race: One hour, 25 minutes, 22 seconds
Margin of victory: 8.752 seconds
Average speed: 140.711 mph
Cautions: Three for 13 laps
Lead Changes: Six among 5 drivers
Laps Led: Crafton 85, Jones 37, Keselowski 6, Kennedy 1, Suarez 1.

Zane Smith joins GMS Racing for full-time Truck Series ride

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Zane Smith will compete full-time for GMS Racing in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series next year, the team announced Tuesday.

Smith, 20, joins the team after competing part-time with JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series this year, where his best result in 10 races was fifth twice.

He will be GMS Racing’s fourth full-time entry next year, joining Brett Moffitt, Sheldon Creed and Tyler Ankrum. Sam Mayer will compete part-time.

Smith will have veteran Kevin “Bono” Manion as his crew chief.

“When I got the offer from Mike Beam asking me to run a truck full-time for GMS Racing, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Smith said in a press release. “GMS is a championship-caliber team and to be a part of an organization like theirs is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with Manion again. He has a lot of experience and I know we will be a great team.”

Manion, who has 24 wins across all three national NASCAR series since 2003, joins GMS Racing after serving as a crew chief for DGR-Crosley in 2019, including working with Rookie of the Year Tyler Ankrum. Manion was crew chief for Smith in 2018 when he made his Truck Series debut at Gateway and finished fifth.

“I am really excited to join GMS Racing and Zane (Smith) for the 2020 season,” Manion said in a press release. “With GMS Racing’s championship caliber equipment and Chevrolet support, we have all the resources to win some races and be in the hunt for the 2020 Championship. I got the opportunity to crew chief Zane (Smith) in his first Gander Trucks start in 2018 at Gateway and we worked really well together. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next season.”

Sponsorship and an assigned truck number for Smith will be announced at a later date.

Penalty report from Homestead-Miami Speedway

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NASCAR issued four fines and one suspension for lug nut violations during its championship weekend in Miami.

Cup Series

Mike Wheeler, crew crew chief on Matt DiBenedetto‘s No. 95 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

Xfinity Series

Mike Shiplett, crew chief on Cole Custer‘s No. 00 Ford, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

Truck Series

Steve Lane, the owner of On Point Motorsports and crew chief on Danny Bohn‘s No. 30 Toyota, was fined $5,000 and suspended one points race for two unsecured lug nuts. The No. 30 truck competed part-time this season and made 16 starts. NBC Sports has asked the team if it will appeal the suspension.

Trip Bruce III, crew chief on Stewart Friesen‘s No. 52 Chevrolet, was fined $2,500 for one unsecured lug nut.


NASCAR issued an indefinite suspension to Jeffrey Schmidt for violating its substance abuse policy.

Truck Series gets minor name change for 2020

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Four days after the end of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series season, NASCAR announced the series will receive a minor name change for the 2020 season.

The series will be called the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series when the season starts in February at Daytona International Speedway.

This is the second name change for the series in two years.

This season saw the name change from the Camping World Truck Series, which had been the title from 2009-2018.

Gander Outdoors and Camping World are owned by the same company.

Next year will also see a different name for the Cup Series. With the series going to a new sponsorship model, it will simply be called the NASCAR Cup Series.

Silly Season Scorecard: Post-Miami edition

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NASCAR’s championship weekend in Miami has come and gone and with it came a flurry of driver announcements from teams about the 2020 racing season.

Among them was the news that Cole Custer is being promoted by Stewart-Haas Racing to the Cup Series, where he will take over the No. 41 Ford driven by Daniel Suarez this year.

Here’s a look at all the official driver announcements made so far for next season.


No. 38: Front Row Motorsports must replace David Ragan, who stated Aug. 14 that 2019 would be his final season running a full schedule.

No. 36: Front Row Motorsports announced Nov. 13 it was parting ways with Matt Tifft so he could focus on his health following his seizure at Martinsville in March. Tifft said he could not commit to racing in 2020.


No. 1: Chip Ganassi Racing announced on Nov. 1 a multi-year extension with Kurt Busch.

No. 6: Roush Fenway Racing announced Oct. 30 that Ryan Newman would return to the car as part of the news that Oscar Mayer would sponsor the No. 6 through 2021.

No. 8: Richard Childress Racing made it official Oct. 2 that Tyler Reddick will move to Cup in 2020 and drive the No. 8 car.

No. 10: Aric Almirola confirmed Oct. 11 he signed an extension to race for Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 13: Ty Dillon posted a video Sept. 6 on Instagram refuting rumors that he would retire after this season. He has a contract with Germain Racing through 2020.

No. 14: Clint Bowyer was announced Oct. 17 as returning to Stewart-Haas Racing for a fourth season.

No. 17: Chris Buescher will take over the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 ride in 2020 after the team announced Sept. 25 that it would part ways with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. after this season.

No. 20: Joe Gibbs Racing announced Sept. 6 that it had signed Erik Jones to an extension. It is a one-year extension for the 2020 season.

No. 21: Matt DiBenedetto replaces Paul Menard at Wood Brothers Racing (announcement made Sept. 10). DiBenedetto’s deal is for 2020 only.

No. 41: Stewart-Haas Racing announced Nov. 15 Cole Custer will replace Daniel Suarez.

No. 95: Christopher Bell moves to Cup in 2020 and will drive for Leavine Family Racing (announcement made Sept. 24).

JTG Daugherty Racing: It was announced Oct. 16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will join Ryan Preece at the two-car team, essentially swapping seats with Chris Buescher. The team said that an announcement on car number and sponsor would come later.

Rick Ware Racing: JJ Yeley will drive one of the team’s three full-time rides.


Daniel Suarez — The driver revealed Nov. 14  he would not return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2020 after one season driving the No. 41.

Corey LaJoie – The driver hasn’t announced his plans for 2020, but he said in October he and Go Fas Racing were “working toward” him returning to the No. 32 Ford. The team announced on Nov. 1 it would enter a technical alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing next year and that “2020 driver negotiations are still ongoing.”

Xfinity Series 

Ross Chastain – Kaulig Racing announced Oct. 15 he would compete full-time for the team in 2020 driving the No. 10 Chevrolet, joining Justin Haley.

Joe Gibbs Racing — Announced Oct. 17 Harrison Burton will drive its No. 20 Toyota full-time in 2020. Announced Oct. 31 Brandon Jones would return for a third year in the No. 19. Revealed Nov. 5 it would field a third full-time entry with Riley Herbst in the No. 18.

JR MotorsportsJustin Allgaier will return to the team for a fifth year in the No. 7 Chevrolet. The No. 8 car will be driven by Daniel Hemric for 21 races, Jeb Burton 11 races and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for one race. Noah Gragson will also return for a second season in the No. 9 car, while Michael Annett returns for a fourth year with the team in the No. 1 car.

Richard Childress Racing — Has not announced its driver plans for 2020, but Richard Childress said after Tyler Reddick claimed the Xfinity title that it would field a full-time entry.

Stewart-Haas Racing – The team has not announced plans for the No. 00 Ford with Cole Custer moving to Cup or whether Chase Briscoe will return to the No. 98.

JD MotorsportsJesse Little will compete full-time for the team.

Truck Series

GMS RacingDriver lineup will include Brett Moffitt, Sam Mayer, Sheldon Creed and Tyler Ankrum

Kyle Busch MotorsportsRaphael Lessard will drive the No. 4 full-time while Christian Eckes will drive the No. 18 full-time.

Hattori Racing EnterprisesAustin Hill will return to the No. 16 Toyota for a second year.

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