Brett Moffitt

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Stewart Friesen wins at Phoenix to advance to Truck championship race

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Stewart Friesen held off a late challenge by Brandon Jones to not only win Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series race at ISM Raceway, but also to lock himself into next week’s championship race at Miami.

Friesen will be joined in the championship race by defending Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt, Ross Chastain and Matt Crafton.

Austin Hill, who started tonight’s Lucas Oil 150 from the pole, and Tyler Ankrum both failed to advance to Miami.

For Friesen, the win was a vindication of sorts. He was penalized by NASCAR for jumping the start at the beginning of the race, being sent to the back of the field as a result.

But the Canadian driver was a man on a mission and was not to be denied, earning his second career Truck Series win (the other win was earlier this year at Eldora).

“What a race car,” Friesen told FS1. “We were able to pass them all clean. … It’s awesome (to be in the championship round). It’s what we’ve been geared up for all year long. We just didn’t get a lot of breaks. We lost races about every which way you could lose them and thought it was another one tonight.

“This one’s for everybody. We can all celebrate this one together tomorrow and then it’s game on (at Miami). We’ve got a bad-ass piece for next week, too.”

Chandler Smith finished third in Friday’s race, followed by Ben Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Crafton, Harrison Burton, Johnny Sauter, Chastain and Moffitt.

“We had a bad day, we’ll move on, we’ll go to Homestead where I’ll feel a hell of a lot better,” Moffitt told FS1.

Click here for race results.

Click here for updated standings.

Stage 1 winner: Ben Rhodes (third stage win of season)

Stage 2 winner: Brandon Jones (fourth stage win of season)

Who else had a good race: Crafton began the race below the playoff cutline, but stuck to the gameplan and now he’s Miami-bound. “We did exactly what we had to do,” Crafton told FS1. “We had nothing to lose and a lot to gain. We fought really hard each and every stage. We didn’t want to stage race, but we had to and at the end of the day, that’s what got us in (to the championship race).”

Who had a bad race: After starting from the pole, Austin Hill finished an unlucky 13th, low enough to knock him below the playoff cutline and to see Crafton move past him for the final championship race spot. “We just didn’t perform tonight and didn’t execute like we were supposed to,” Hill told FS1. “We just weren’t good enough when it mattered.”

Notable: After mechanical issues forced him to miss qualifying and to start the race at the back of the field, Harrison Burton came back strongly to finish seventh. … Chastain is a Florida native and is looking forward to going to his home track to race for the championship, telling FS1: “I am excited. This is incredible. … We’re going to Homestead. It’s an absolute dream come true.

What’s next: The 2019 Truck Series season all comes down to one race next Friday: the season finale and the championship-deciding race at Miami.

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Truck practice report at ISM Raceway

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Harrison Burton posted the fastest lap in Friday’s final Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice at ISM Raceway.

Burton led the way in his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota with a lap of 133.492 mph. He was followed by teammate Chandler Smith (133.427 mph), Stewart Friesen (133.264), Austin Hill (133.190) and Brandon Jones (133.116).

Click here for final practice report

Ty Majeski did not run in the final practice session because the team changed engines.

Qualifying is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. ET today. The race is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET today.

 

SESSION 1

Chandler Smith posted the fastest lap in Friday’s opening Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice at ISM Raceway.

Smith posted a lap of 133.740 mph in a Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. He was followed by Stewart Friesen (133.655 mph), Tyler Ankrum (133.294), Brett Moffitt (133.249) and Harrison Burton (133.033).

Smith also had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 130.800. He was followed by Ty Majeski (130.571 mph) and Austin Hill (130.184).

Click here for practice report

The series races tonight, setting the championship field for next week’s race in Miami.

Preliminary entry lists for NASCAR at ISM Raceway

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The end is nigh for all three NASCAR national series with only two races left for each series.

They will hold their final playoff elimination races this weekend at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for each race.

Cup – Bluegreen Vacations 500 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

Thirty-nine cars are entered.

John Hunter Nemechek is entered in his second race in Front Row Motorsports’ No. 36 Ford in relief of Matt Tifft.

Joe Nemechek is entered in Premium Motorsports’ No. 27 Chevrolet.

Both Nemecheks are entered in all three races this weekend.

Kyle Busch has won the last two races in Phoenix. In this race last year, he beat Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson. In the spring he beat Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 (3:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC)

Thirty-eight cars are entered.

Riley Herbst is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota.

More: Herbst to compete full-time for JGR in Xfinity in 2020

Ryan Vargas is entered in JD Motorsports’ No. 4 Chevrolet for his third career start.

Bobby Earnhardt is entered in MBM Motorsports’ No. 66 Toyota.

This race won last year by Christopher Bell over Daniel Hemric and Matt Tifft. The spring race was won by Kyle Busch over Ryan Truex and Tyler Reddick.

Click here for the entry list.

Trucks – Lucas Oil 150 (8:30 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

Thirty-four trucks are entered. Two trucks will not qualify for the race.

John Hunter Nemechek is entered in NEMCO Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Derek Kraus, the current K&N Pro Series West points leader, is entered in Bill McAnally Racing’s No. 19 Toyota.

Ty Majeski is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 44 Chevrolet for his first career Truck Series start and his first NASCAR start of the season. He will also make his K&N Pro Series West debut Saturday night.

DGR-Crosley will field five entries for the first time: Dylan Lupton (No. 5 Toyota), Tanner Gray (No. 7 Toyota), Anthony Alfredo (No. 15 Toyota), Tyler Ankrum (No. 17 Toyota) and Natalie Decker (No. 54 Toyota).

This race was won last year by Brett Moffitt over Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton.

Click here for Truck entry list

Todd Gilliland wins Martinsville Truck race; playoff contenders struggle

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For many of the six remaining NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoff contenders, Saturday’s race at Martinsville Speedway wound up being more like Mayhemville Speedway.

Todd Gilliland won his first career Truck race in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200.

But the big story of the day was how playoff contenders Brett Moffitt, Austin Hill and Tyler Ankrum were knocked out due to wrecks, and Matt Crafton suffered a mechanical issue, leaving all of them with disappointing finishes heading into the final championship-qualifying race in two weeks at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Crafton finished 23rd, while Ankrum was 25th, Austin Hill 26th and Moffitt was the lowest-finishing playoff contender (29th).

Moffitt still was able to hold on to his lead in the standings, having a 10-point edge over Stewart Friesen, who finished sixth Saturday. Ranked third is Ross Chastain, who trails Moffitt by 25 points after finishing second Saturday and is 20 points above the cutoff line.

In the fourth and final transfer spot is Hill, who is 36 points behind Moffitt and nine points ahead of Crafton in fifth.

Ankrum is 15 points behind Hill as the last playoff-eligible driver in the points standings, which can viewed by clicking here.

MORE: Click here for results

MORE: Click here for points standings

It was Gilliland’s first win in 46 career Truck Series starts.

“It feels amazing,” Gilliland said after the race. “This place is really hard to win at. … Luckily we were out front. Just wish we could’ve been a little bit faster all weekend, but as a driver that’s what you always hope for and this thing was fast enough today. … What a race.”

As for the rest of the top five finishers in the race, Johnny Sauter was third followed by Grant Enfinger and Timmy Hill.

Moffitt dominated the first stage, leading all but the first lap of the 50-lap segment. But he was knocked out of the race early in the final stage on Lap 116 when he hit the retaining wall while trying to avoid a wreck between Jeb Burton and Natalie Decker.

That’s Martinsville,” Moffitt told FS1. “We had a dominating truck. When we got out front, we could just ride and be two tenths faster than the field. It’s a bummer, but we’ll go to Phoenix and try to win that one and then go to Homestead and win that one.”

Rookie Sam Mayer, making only his second career Truck race start, won Stage 2. However, 23 laps later, the 16-year-old Mayer was involved in a nine-truck wreck that also knocked him out of the race.

Just disappointed in myself, trying to get in a hole that wasn’t there,” Mayer told FS1. “I just misjudged it. … We did well while it really mattered, but when it really did matter, we kind of messed up at the end. Hopefully we can go to Phoenix (in two weeks) and do better.”

Stage 1 winner: Brett Moffitt (fifth stage win of the season).

Stage 2 winner: Sam Mayer (first career stage win).

Who had a good race: Gilliland, obviously, but kudos also have to be given to Chastain as well as Harrison Burton. Though Burton was involved in a last-lap spin and finished 18th, he was closing in on the lead and the potential win in the final laps until that incident.

Who had a bad race: With less than 20 laps to go in Stage 2, Matt Crafton was closing in on the lead, only to be forced to pit to replace the battery and cockpit computer on his Toyota Tundra, dropping him eight laps behind the leaders. Crafton, who finished 23rd (eight laps down), is facing a nine-point deficit heading into ISM Raceway in Phoenix in two weeks for the fourth and final spot in the championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

What’s next: Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway, Nov. 8, 8:30 p.m. ET. The four highest-ranked playoff drivers after that race will battle for the Truck Series championship on Friday, Nov. 15, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

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GMS Racing to retain all 3 of its Truck drivers in 2020

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GMS Racing announced Friday that it will retain its three NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series drivers for a second consecutive season in 2020.

The Statesville, North Carolina organization revealed that 2018 Truck Series champ Brett Moffitt and Sheldon Creed will continue to compete full-time in the Truck Series in 2020, while 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Sam Mayer will return to the team and drive an expanded Truck schedule next season.

Moffitt is completing his first season with GMS. Coming into Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 race at Martinsville Speedway, Moffitt has four wins and three poles this season, along with 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes, and has led 369 laps. He’s the current Trucks playoff points leader, holding a 23-point lead over Stewart Friesen.

Brett Moffitt. Photo: Getty Images.

It’s been awesome to work with this organization this year and we’ve been competitive each and every week,” Moffitt said in a media release. “Having next year locked down allows us to focus completely on competing for a championship this year. Returning with the same teammates as well will be really cool. We already know how to work together and help each other while maintaining a bit of that competitive edge. I can only imagine what we will be able to accomplish in 2020 building off the momentum from this season.”

As the only full-time Trucks driver in the Drivers Edge Development program, Creed has two runner-up finishes, along with four top-fives, 10 top-10s and has led 164 laps.

I feel very confident going into next season with GMS Racing,” Creed said. “I know I have the best group of people around me and the best organization to go out next year and compete for wins and hopefully the championship. The beginning of this season was a bit of a learning curve for me, but we found our groove and I’m excited to go out and compete for wins and build momentum for next year.”

As for Mayer, who is making his second career Truck Series start this weekend at Martinsville, the Franklin, Wisconsin native will compete in six Truck races next season while also competing for the ARCA Racing Series Showdown Championship, as well as to defend his ARCA East Championship.

Mayer holds the distinction of being the youngest NASCAR champion in any national series, earning his K&N title at 16 years, three months and eight days. Mayer earned four wins, three poles, 11 top-five’s, 11 top-10’s and led 497 laps in K&N East competition in 2019. He has earned seven top-five’s and led 26 laps in eight ARCA starts this year.

I am excited to be returning to GMS Racing in 2020,” Mayer said. “We are being very aggressive with my schedule next year, and I think that will help challenge me and help me grow even more in my career. … I’ve been able to accomplish a lot this season with the support from GMS and I can’t wait for next season.”

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