Ben Rhodes

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Tyler Ankrum scores first career Truck Series victory

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SPARTA, Ky. – Brett Moffitt ran out fuel while leading with less than two laps left, allowing Tyler Ankrum to score his first career Gander Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday at Kentucky Speedway.

The 18-year-old Ankrum won in his 12th career series start.

“I think this goes to show that the youngsters and underdogs can still win,” said Ankrum, who drives for DGR-Crosley, in Victory Lane. “I don’t think DGR has been viewed as a GMS (Racing) or a KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) or a ThorSport (Racing) team, but I think they will be now. I’m honestly so proud of that. That’s really what I’ve been wanting to do. I’m just all about improvement. Improve every single week and try and get better and I think that’s what we did. We finished it.”

Ankrum was not eligible to compete in the first three races of the season because he did not turn 18 until March 6. Ankrum is eligible for the playoffs with the victory because NASCAR has granted a waiver since he missed races because of an age restriction.

MORE: Click here for race results 

MORE: Click here for driver points

Stewart Friesen finished second in a backup car. NASCAR confiscated his primary truck during inspection at the beginning of the day for an issue with the firewall. Harrison Burton placed third.

Ross Chastain finished fourth and climbed into the top 20 in points, making him playoff eligible with his recent victory at Gateway.

Ben Rhodes hit the wall late while running second with less than 20 laps left and had a tire go down.

Points leader Grant Enfinger and Brandon Jones crashed while racing for the lead on Lap 65. Both were eliminated. Enfinger told his team on the radio that he was sorry and that he lost control of the truck underneath Jones’ truck.

Stage 1 winner: Sheldon Creed

Stage 2 winner: Matt Crafton

Next: July 27 at Pocono Raceway.

Brett Moffitt earns second Truck Series win in last three races

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Brett Moffitt won for the second time in three races, capturing Friday night’s Camping World 225 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Moffitt did it with domination, not drama, as was the case in his previous win two races ago at Iowa Speedway. In that race, Moffitt finished second to Ross Chastain. But about an hour after the checkered flag, Chastain’s truck was found to be too low in post-race inspection, prompting NASCAR to take the win away from him and give it to Moffitt instead.

But in Friday night’s race, Moffitt – last year’s Truck Series champion – led a race-high 72 laps, nearly half of the 150-lap event. In taking the checkered flag, he held off runner-up Brandon Jones, who won Stage 1 Friday night, followed by Stewart Friesen, Harrison Burton and Austin Hill.

“It’s been a rough start to the year, but we’re getting it rolling now,” Moffitt told FS1. “We didn’t have the results early, but it’s getting a lot better now.”

In earning his ninth career truck race — and eighth in the last two seasons (2018 and 2019) — Moffitt has now won more truck races during that time than any other driver. It was also the second straight win at Chicagoland Speedway for Moffitt, who won last year’s Truck race there.

Sixth through 10th were Todd Gilliland, Chastain, Matt Crafton, Anthony Alfredo and Dylan Lupton.

It was an especially frustrating night for ThorSport Racing.

First, Ben Rhodes barely got through one lap before his truck began smoking heavily. He made his way to pit road for service, but was pushed by his crew back to the garage just a few moments later.

Rhodes missed the first practice session on Thursday with an engine issue. It’s unclear if Friday’s problem was related to Thursday’s issue.

It’s just sickening,” Rhodes told FS1. “It’s awful and puts us in a bad spot for the playoff picture. What hurts the most is I thought we had a truck that could win tonight. Just weird stuff has been happening.

It was just oil dumping out of the main seal, didn’t show anything in qualifying and it just starts doing it as I go through the gears coming up to the green. I don’t know what to say, just a big letdown.”

In the second stage, Johnny Sauter had motor issues that saw him drop from qualifying second to 23rd after repairs on pit road. Sauter finished 18th, the fifth straight race that he has failed to finish in the top 10 following his win at Dover.

Then, early in the final stage, Spencer Davis got into Grant Enfinger’s truck and put him in the wall, causing extensive damage to Enfinger’s ride. Davis then bounced off and into the side of Austin Wayne Self’s truck, putting both trucks out of the race.

Enfinger had led the most laps up to that point (49) and won Stage 2 prior to the incident with Davis. Enfinger also had a slight confrontation with Austin Hill after the race (see tweets below).

On top of all that, Matt Crafton had the engine replaced in his truck after Thursday’s practices, forcing him to start Friday’s race from the back of the field. While he managed to work his way into the top 10, Crafton finished eighth.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brandon Jones (passed Grant Enfinger on the last lap)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Grant Enfinger (held off Brandon Jones on last lap)

Race results: Click here

Point standings: Click here

WHAT’S NEXT: Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 11 on FS1

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NASCAR disqualifies Ross Chastain’s winning truck for failing inspection

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For the first time since NASCAR instituted a rule before this season that a winning vehicle would be disqualified if it failed inspection, Ross Chastain‘s winning Truck Sunday at Iowa Speedway failed inspection and was disqualified.

Brett Moffitt, who crossed the finish line second, was declared the winner and also gets the $50,000 bonus for winning a Triple Truck Challenge race.

Chastain’s truck was found to be too low in the front.

MORE: Updated race results  

MORE: Updated points report

Chastain’s team, Niece Motorsports, announced Sunday afternoon that it would appeal the decision. In a statement from team owner Al Niece, he said that Chastain’s truck “sustained minor damage during the event, which left the truck too low following the race.”

That appeal process will be expedited. Should the team lose that appeal, they cannot appeal the decision any further based on section 14.6.f of the rule book, which states:

“In a Race Disqualification Appeal, the decision of the Panelist, which could be an Appeals Panelist, FAO, or his/her alternates, under Section 14 Appeals to the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel, will be considered final and there is no ability to appeal the decision to the Final Appeals Office as outlined in Section 15 Final Appeal to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.”

Brad Moran, managing director of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series said after the race: “We have a procedures and rules in place, trucks are restricted on their ride heights at the front and rear of the vehicles. Unfortunately, the 44 (Chastain’s truck) was low on the front, extremely low.

“We have a process of what happens at that point. They do get an opportunity to roll around. They put fuel in the vehicle, they air the tires. Give them at least five to 10 minutes. Check them a second time. Unfortunately, the 44 did not rise on the front at all.”

Here is the section in the rule book on ride heights:

Chastain was a part of Motor Racing Network’s broadcast of the Xfinity race on Sunday and addressed what happened in the Truck race to his team.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It was tough to walk up here (to the radio booth) across the frontstretch and walk by victory lane and where everything has happened, yeah, they took it away from us. It’s an old rule that they stand by and … the lower series of all the divisions still go by ride height rules and Cup Series has gotten away from it but we were just too low. The truck wouldn’t come back up. I’m not sure why. They wouldn’t let us look under the hood or anything. It went through (inspection) before the race.

“In any race car these days … it’s been this way for the last 25 years, the lower you get it, the better it handles. We, as racers and the race teams, our trucks, when we go around the race track are scraping the ground even though our ride height rules (are higher than that). You go through tech pre-race and it has to be up at that predetermined amount.

“As soon as we get into the truck and I come off pit road, every race truck in the field and race car in this Xfinity Series, it falls down on the ground and you race right scraping the ground. That’s why we have splitters and our side skirts are made to wear so that we can handle the bumps and still have the aero platform we want. Then, whenever you come in, you’re supposed to have it where it automatically comes back up. It’s just physics and mechanical parts and something on ours just didn’t push quite hard enough.

“I don’t know what the problem was, but we still won that race. Like you said, we won both stages, we led a ton of laps. It’s still a dream come true, but, yeah, they took it away. It’s kind of ironic now that we’re sitting next to NASCAR (officials) up here in the booth.”

This is Moffitt’s first win of the season and the eighth of his career. Ben Rhodes finished second and Harrison Burton placed third. Moffitt did not lead any of the race’s 200 laps. Chastain led 141. Racing Insights has no record of a winner in NASCAR ever leading zero laps but notes that lead lap information in the 1950s and ’60s is incomplete.

“It’s a big change of emotions and obviously this is not the way I want to win it as a race car driver, I still know I got beat on track, which is frustrating,” Moffitt said. “Back in the beginning of the year when NASCAR implemented this system, it was to clear up the Tuesday disqualifications and the encumbered wins and let the fans know and everyone else know who actually won the race. I’d still would rather take the checkered and be the first one to it, but I’ll take a win anyway I can get it and that solidifies our playoff spot.”

Moffitt said he was on the way to the airport when his team called him and told him to return to the track.

Should Chastain’s team not win the appeal, it could prove devastating to his playoff hopes. He changed what series he scored points in from Xfinity to Trucks on June 4. Chastain needs a victory in the last six regular-season races and be in the top 20 in points to be eligible for the playoffs.

With the disqualification, Chastain is listed as finishing last (32nd) and receives last-place points (five) instead of 60 he would have gotten. He loses all the points (and playoff points) for the win and also loses the stage and playoff points for winning both stages.

Chastain has 43 points. He’s 69 points behind Josh Reaume, who is 20th in the season standings.

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Truck Series practice report from Iowa

Photo courtesy Kyle Busch Motorsports
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Sheldon Creed was fastest in the second and final Truck Series practice Saturday at Iowa Speedway.

Creed covered the 7/8-mile paved oval in Newton, Iowa, at 134.283 mph.

Raphael Lessard was second-fastest (133.588 mph), followed by Austin Hill (133.446), Harrison Burton (133.367) and Brett Moffitt (133.299).

Sixth through 10th were Ben Rhodes (133.237), Johnny Sauter (133.114), Riley Herbst (132.839), Stewart Friesen (132.788 mph) and Brennan Poole (132.743).

Chandler Smith, who was fastest in the first practice session earlier in the morning – and in his first-ever Truck Series practice – was 18th fastest in the second session (131.678 mph).

Qualifying takes place later this afternoon at 5:35 p.m., and the day’s main event, the M&Ms 200, takes place tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1 and MRN).

Click here for the full speed chart from the second practice session.

FIRST PRACTICE SESSION:

Just over 12 hours after winning the ARCA race at Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin, Chandler Smith kicked off his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut in outstanding fashion Saturday morning, being the fastest of the 32 drivers that took to the 7/8-mile oval at Iowa Speedway in the first of two practice sessions.

Driving the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra, the 16-year-old Georgia native topped the field with a best lap of 136.046 mph, more than 1.5 mph faster than second-fastest Brett Moffitt (134.506 mph).

Third-fastest was Raphael Lessard (134.380 mph), followed by Sheldon Creed (133.832 mph) and Harrison Burton (132.945 mph).

Sixth through 10th were Tyler Dippel (132.643 mph), Austin Hill (132.620), Matt Crafton (132.281), Stewart Friesen (132.253) and Todd Gilliland (132.220).

The second and final practice session of the day will go from 11:30 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. ET.

Click here for the full speed chart from the first Trucks practice session.

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Just like old times: Greg Biffle celebrates first Truck win in 18 years

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Greg Biffle, running in his first Gander Outdoors Truck Series race since 2004, survived a caution-filled event to win Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

Biffle led the final 13 laps in the 167-lap race.

It is Biffle’s 17th Truck win but first series victory since 2001 at what is now ISM Raceway. Biffle, 49, ran Friday’s race for Kyle Busch Motorsports. It is his only scheduled start for the team this year.

“It was not easy,” Biffle said. “I had my work cut out for me. 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. Kyle Busch assembles a great group of guys. The pit stops were phenomenal. Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) did a great job calling the race from the top of the box. It’s not easy to win these, but I can see how Kyle has done very well.”

The race featured a record 13 cautions. The previous record was 10 on two different occasions.

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points report

Friday’s race was the opening round of the Triple Truck Challenge, awarding a $50,000 bonus to Biffle and the team. This is Biffle’s first NASCAR win since a Cup victory at Michigan in June 2013.

Matt Crafton finished second and was followed by Tyler Ankrum, Grant Enfinger and Harrison Burton.

Stage 1 winner: Johnny Sauter

Stage 2 winner: Ben Rhodes

Who had a good race: Rookie Tyler Ankrum finished a career-high third. Grant Enfinger’s fourth-place finish was his sixth consecutive top 10.

Who had a bad race: After winning the first stage, Johnny Sauter hit the wall. Austin Hill drifted up and made contact with Sauter, sending both into the wall early in Stage 2. That ended Sauter’s hopes of a win. Sauter placed 13th. … Todd Gilliland lost control when his Truck broke loose while battling for the lead on a restart in the second stage. He finished 27th.

Notable: Ross Chastain finished 10th and scored 38 points in his first race since declaring points for the Truck Series. He is 35th in the points. Chastain needs to be in the top 20 by the end of the regular season and have a win to be eligible for the playoffs. He is 64 points from 20th in the standings.

Next: June 15 at Iowa Speedway