Matt Crafton

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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.

Grant Enfinger wins pole for Truck Series race at Kentucky

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Grant Enfinger won the pole for tonight’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

He claimed the first starting position with a speed of 181.953 mph. It is his second pole of the season (Texas) and the fifth of his career.

He will be joined on the front row by Sheldon Creed.

The top five is completed by Todd Gilliland, Matt Crafton and Ross Chastain.

Stewart Friesen will start from the rear after going to his backup truck, a result of NASCAR confiscating his primary truck after it found an issue with the firewall on his No. 52 Chevrolet.

The race is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

Click here for the qualifying results.

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

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NBC Sports Power Rankings special edition: Xfinity, Truck drivers

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With the NASCAR Cup Series off last weekend, attention was focused on the Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Iowa Speedway.

With that in mind, we’re changing gears for this week’s NBC Sports’ NASCAR Power Rankings. Our staff of writers are ranking the top Xfinity and Trucks series drivers.

Here’s how this week’s Power Rankings shape up:

1. Tyler Reddick (39 points) – He has one less win now than Christopher Bell, but his overall consistency with three more top fives – including 10 in a row – put Reddick over the top.

2. Christopher Bell (36 points) – Well ahead of his 2018 pace with four wins to one, but when he’s not winning he seems to struggle. He has two DNFs among five finishes of 13th or worse. 

3. Cole Custer (32 points) – The second most improved Xfinity driver from last year. He also trails Bell by one win but he’s tied with him with eight top fives and one other top 10.

4. Ross Chastain (29 points) – What he’s done in both Xfinity and Truck with the equipment he’s in has been impressive.

5. Brett Moffitt (22 points) – Benefitted from Ross Chastain’s truck failing inspection and got the win at Iowa (pending the appeal by Chastain’s team Wednesday). Reigning series champ looks to win back-to-back titles with two different teams (just like what Reddick is looking to do).

6. Justin Allgaier (21 points) – Seems to be finding his groove after some early struggles. Has four top-five finishes in the last five races.

7. Grant Enfinger (16 points) – Points leader in the Truck Series and has not finished worse than 11th this season. His fourth-place finish at Iowa was the fourth time he’s placed fourth in the last six races … but he’s still searching for his first win of 2019.

8. Chase Briscoe (11 points) – Has 11 top-10 finishes in last 12 races. That includes six top fives during that stretch, including a best result of third at Pocono (has also finished worse than eighth just once in the same period).

9. Matt Crafton (8 points) – Has identical record to Enfinger (zero wins, six top 5 and nine top 10 finishes each). Major difference is Crafton has led only 22 of 1,640 laps, while Enfinger has led 110 laps.

10. Austin Cindric (5 points) – His 10th-place finish at Iowa was his ninth top 10 in the past 11 Xfinity races. Is showing continued marked improvement in his second full season in the series.

Others Receiving Votes: Michael Annett (3 points), Greg Biffle (1 point).

Penalty report from Iowa Speedway

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NASCAR has fined Carl Joiner Jr., crew chief on Matt Crafton‘s No. 88 truck, $2,500 for an unsecured lug nut at the end of Sunday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.

Crafton finished the race in seventh.

NASCAR has also issued an indefinite suspension to Clifford M. Turner for behavior level penalties, including violating its substance abuse policy.