Grant Enfinger

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

Christian Eckes earns Truck pole at Las Vegas

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra, 18-year-old Christian Eckes grabbed the pole for tonight’s third race of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoffs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The Middletown, New York native covered the 1.5-mile oval with a best speed of 178.077 mph. It’s the second pole of the season for Eckes in just six Truck Series races in 2019 (he also was No. 1 at in the season opener at Daytona). Eckes also started from the pole via owner’s points earlier this season at Gateway due to weather cancelling qualifying.

“It’s awesome to be on the pole again,” Eckes told FS1. “The big thing is just to keep our Tundra under control. There have been a couple races this year where I thought we had a shot at winning but just haven’t been able to capitalize on it. I how we do that tonight and bring home a win.”

Click here for the Truck Series qualifying results.

Ross Chastain (178.012 mph) qualified second, followed by Todd Gilliland (177.907 mph), Brett Moffitt (177.585 mph) and Matt Crafton (177.375 mph).

Sixth through 10th were Sheldon Creed (177.305 mph), Austin Hill (177.165 mph), Grant Enfinger (177.125), Harrison Burton (176.939) and Johnny Sauter (176.916).

Tonight’s race (9 p.m. ET, FS1) will see the lowest-scoring two of the eight playoff contenders eliminated.

Three drivers failed to qualify: Cory Roper, Justin Johnson and Tyler Hill, who wrecked during his qualifying attempt, his truck suffering front end damage when it bottomed out in the infield grass.

Click here for the row-by-row starting lineup for tonight’s race.

There was one spectacular wreck during the session: Jesse Iwuji hit the inside wall coming off Turn 4 extremely hard, destroying the front end and left side. The 32-year-old Iwuji climbed out of his truck and walked to the ambulance to be taken to the infield care center to be checked out medically.

“I’m fine, just with the track being super hot and super slick, coming out of Turn 4 it just got away from me,” Iwuji told FS1. “I was trying to see if I could loop it back on the infield, but it wouldn’t come around to the right and we went into the inside pit wall.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Truck practice report at Las Vegas

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LAS VEGAS – Stewart Friesen posted the fastest lap in Friday’s final practice session for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Friesen, who was penalized 30 minutes of practice for inspection issues, posted a lap of 179.634 mph. He was followed by Brett Moffitt (179.569 mph), Grant Enfinger (179.086), Sheldon Creed (178.997) and Matt Crafton (178.766).

Click here for practice results

Ben Rhodes ran the most laps in the session with 68. Moffitt had the best average over 10 consecutive laps at 176.238 mph. He was followed by John Hunter Nemechek (176.042 mph) and Todd Gilliland (175.893).

Qualifying will take place at 5:35 p.m. ET. The Truck race is at 9 p.m. ET today.

 

 

Friday schedule for NASCAR at Las Vegas

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It will be a busy day today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

There will be two Xfinity and two Cup practices (all on NBCSN). The Gander Outdoors Truck Series will have practice and qualifying during the day before racing at 9 p.m. ET. This is an elimination race in the Truck Series.

Wunderground.com predicts a temperature of 97 degrees with 0% percent of precipitation at the green flag. Grant Enfinger won last year’s race.

Here is how Friday’s schedule looks:

(All times Eastern)

10 a.m. – Truck garage open

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. – Truck final practice (no TV or radio)

12:30 – 9:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1:30 – 11 p.m. – Cup garage open

3:35 – 4:25 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4:35 – 5:25 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN)

5:35 p.m. – Truck qualifying impound (single vehicle/one lap all positions) (FS1)

6:35 – 7:25 p.m. – Xfinity final practice (NBCSN)

7:15 p.m. – Truck driver/crew chief meeting

7:30 – 8:20 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

8:30 p.m. – Truck driver introductions

9 p.m. – Truck Series race (Stages 30/60/134 laps = 201 miles) (FS1/Motor Racing Network/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Weekend schedule for NASCAR at Las Vegas

1 Comment

Playoffs will be the buzzword this weekend as NASCAR visits Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On Friday night, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series contests the final race of its opening round, meaning two drivers will be eliminated.

Saturday marks the final race of the Xfinity Series regular season prior to the start of its playoffs next week in Richmond.

And the 10-race Cup playoffs kick off with Sunday’s race at the 1.5-mile speedway (on NBCSN).

There will be two Xfinity and two Cup practices on Friday. The Truck Series has a one-day show with one practice, qualifying and a 134-lap race under the lights, starting at 9 p.m. ET. Wunderground.com predicts a high of 99 degrees Friday with 0% percent of precipitation. Grant Enfinger won last year’s race.

On Saturday, Cup and Xfinity have qualifying sessions for their respective races. The 200-lap Xfinity Series race will start at 7:30 p.m. ET (on NBCSN). Wunderground.com predicts a high of 102 degrees with 0% percent of precipitation. Ross Chastain won last year’s race.

And then the main event, the 267-lap Cup playoff opener, takes place Sunday, with the green flag set to drop at 7 p.m. ET. Wunderground.com predicts a temperature of 103 degrees with 0% percent of precipitation. Brad Keselowski won last year’s race, while teammate Joey Logano won there in March.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:

(All times Eastern)

Thursday, Sept. 12

3 – 8 p.m. – Truck garage open

Friday, Sept. 13

10 a.m. – Truck garage open

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. – Truck final practice (no TV or radio)

12:30 – 9:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1:30 – 11 p.m. – Cup garage open

3:35 – 4:25 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4:35 – 5:25 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN)

5:35 p.m. – Truck qualifying impound (single vehicle/one lap all positions) (FS1)

6:35 – 7:25 p.m. – Xfinity final practice (NBCSN)

7:15 p.m. – Truck driver/crew chief meeting

7:30 – 8:20 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN)

8:30 p.m. – Truck driver introductions

9 p.m. – Truck Series race (Stages 30/60/134 laps = 201 miles) (FS1/Motor Racing Network/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, Sept. 14

11 a.m. – Xfinity garage open

11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

2:35 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying impound (single vehicle/one lap all positions) (NBCSN)

3:45 p.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

4:05 p.m. – Cup qualifying impound (single vehicle/one lap all positions) (NBCSN/Performance Racing Network)

7 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

7:30 p.m. – Xfinity race (Stages 45/90/200 laps = 300 miles) (NBCSN/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Sept. 15

3 p.m. – Cup garage open

5 p.m. – Cup driver/crew chief meeting

6:20 p.m. – Cup driver introductions

7 p.m. – Cup race (Stages 80/160/267 laps = 400.5 miles) (NBCSN/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Follow @JerryBonkowski