Tyler Ankrum

Getty Images

Austin Hill wins Truck race at Vegas; Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger exit playoffs

2 Comments

Austin Hill roared to the lead late and held on to win for the third time this season in Friday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoff race. While Hill celebrated, two ThorSport Racing teams were eliminated from title contention.

ThorSport Racing lost three trucksdue to mechanical failures. As a result, Enfinger, the regular-season champion and Johnny Sauter were eliminated. Teammate Matt Crafton also had mechanical failure but advanced.

The second round begins next month at Talladega. Joining Hill in the second round will be: Brett Moffitt, Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen, Crafton and Tyler Ankrum.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Reseeded standings for second playoff round

Enfinger said to FS1 of his mechanical issue: “It’s just a shame our season hopes come down to quality control on a spec part that we had nothing to do with. I definitely share our owner’s frustration with the parts.”

Sauter’s team tried to repair the issue and got him back on track, but he didn’t complete a full lap before more issues, ending his night.

“Just inferior engines, I guess, I’m not sure,” Sauter told FS1. “It’s just disappointing that our season comes down to that. This is a fresh engine, obviously something’s wrong with it. … It’s just a shame … but if something happens and it’s out of your control, what are you going to do?”

Finishing second through fifth were Ross Chastain, pole sitter Christian Eckes, Sheldon Creed and Todd Gilliland.

Sixth through 10th were Brennan Poole, Brett Moffitt, Ben Rhodes, Harrison Burton and Dylan Lupton.

Stage 1 winner: Ross Chastain.

Stage 2 winner: Ross Chastain (has now won five of the last eight stages in the last four races).

Who had a good race: Ross Chastain, who finished second and won both stages. … Third-place finisher Christian Eckes, just 18 years old, had another outstanding run in his sixth start this season for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Who had a bad race: In addition to Sauter, Crafton and Enfinger, John Hunter Nemechek had the worst showing as he was unable to start the truck and never took the green flag.

Next: The Truck Series is now off for the next month, returning for its fourth of seven playoff races on October 12 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Brett Moffitt wins second consecutive Truck race

Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Just as he did at Bristol, Brett Moffitt won the pole and then won another playoff race. Moffitt, the reigning series champion, won Sunday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for his second consecutive playoff victory this season.

This is Moffitt’s fourth playoff victory in a row, dating back to last season. He won the final two playoff races last year, including the title race at Miami, and has opened this year’s playoffs with wins at Bristol and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Sunday’s victory also is Moffitt’s 11th career triumph in the series.

Alex Tagliani was second and followed by Ben Rhodes, Sheldon Creed and Austin Hill.

MORE: Click here for race results

MORE: Click here for driver points report

With one race remaining before the eight-driver playoff field is cut to six, Johnny Sauter and Tyler Ankrum are outside a playoff spot. Sauter is seventh in the standings, two points behind ThorSport Racing teammate Grant Enfinger. Ankrum is 14 points behind Enfinger.

Stage 1 winner: Brett Moffitt

Stage 2 winner: Ross Chastain

Who had a good race: Alex Tagliani finished second in his first series start of the season. …  After failing to make the playoffs, Ben Rhodes has finished eighth (Bristol) and third (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) in the opening two playoff races. Stewart Friesen finished seventh in a backup truck after wrecking his primary truck on Saturday.

Who had a bad race: Harrison Burton was set for a top-10 finish before the engine blew on his truck. He finished 21st. … Todd Gilliland had damage and then a mechanical issue in what was a long day for him.

Next: The series is off until Sept. 13 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Truck Series practice report from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brett Moffitt was fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

The defending series champion posted a top speed of 111.295 mph around the road course.

The top five was completed by Austin Hill (110.580 mph), Johnny Sauter (110.018), Tyler Ankrum (109.354) and Todd Gilliland (109.242).

Sauter recorded the most laps in the session with 19.

Click here for the practice report.

Sheldon Creed and Jordan Anderson wrecked in the middle of the session. Creed will go to a backup truck. Anderson does not have a backup.

First practice

Todd Gilliland was fastest in the session, posting a top speed of 111.187 mph and leading a Kyle Busch Motorsports sweep of the top three spots.

He was followed by Harrison Burton (110.408 mph) and Alex Tagliani (110.325).

The top five was completed by Ross Chastain (110.002) and Austin Hill (109.720).

Sheldon Creed recorded the most laps in the session with 15.

Click here for the practice report.

Playoff driver and Canada Stewart Friesen wrecked during the session and will go to a backup truck.

Brett Moffitt wins opening Truck playoff race at Bristol

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Reigning champion Brett Moffitt opened the Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoffs by winning the caution-filled race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday night.

Moffitt’s third victory of the season advances him to the next round.

MORE: Click here for race results

MORE: Click here for driver points

“It’s a huge weight lifted off our shoulders,” Moffitt said of the win. “We’ll go to the next two, try to win them and get as many playoff points as possible and focus on the Round of 6.”

Chandler Smith finished second. He was followed by Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen and Grant Enfinger.

Stage 1 winner: Ross Chastain

Stage 2 winner: Brett Moffitt

Who had a good race: In just his third career series start, 17-year-old Chandler Smith finished a career-high second for Kyle Busch Motorsports. … Ross Chastain won a stage and finished third, overcoming a pit road penalty.

Who had a bad race: Natalie Decker got spun by the tow truck as her truck was being pushed away during a caution. She finished 25th. … Johnny Sauter was involved in multiple cautions and finished 11th. … Tyler Ankrum finished 20th, worst among the eight playoff drivers. 

Next: The series races Aug. 25 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Brett Moffitt wins pole for Truck Series race at Bristol

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brett Moffitt will start from the pole in tonight’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Moffitt claimed the pole with a speed of 127.690 mph. It is his second pole of the year and his career.

Moffitt is joined on the front row by fellow playoff driver Ross Chastain (127.056 mph).

The top five is completed by Stewart Friesen (playoffs), Ben Rhodes and Tyler Ankrum (playoffs).

Where the other playoff drivers will start:

Johnny Sauter (sixth), Austin Hill (eighth), Matt Crafton (11th) and Grant Enfinger (14th).

Click here for the starting lineup.