Matt Crafton

Brandon Jones wins wreck-filled Truck race at Pocono

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Brandon Jones passed Sheldon Creed in the Tunnel Turn on the final lap to win Sunday’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck race at Pocono Raceway.

Creed took the lead on the next-to-last lap off a restart, going between Jones and Austin Hill. Jones and Creed battled side by side on the final lap through Turn 1 and entering the Tunnel Turn before Jones pulled ahead and went on to score his first series win in his 46th career start.

Hill finished second and was followed by Creed, Todd Gilliland and Ben Rhodes.

MORE: Race results, driver points report

The 60-lap race was slowed by a track record-tying nine cautions.

Christian Eckes, seeking his first series win, was among the victims in the race. He crashed while leading with 12 laps to go when a tire went down. He finished 33rd.

The race saw three cautions and two red flags in the first 13 laps. Reigning series champion Matt Crafton was collected in a crash on the first corner of the first lap. He finished last. Crafton entered the race one point out of what would be the final playoff spot.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Hill, who finished second, scored his seventh consecutive top-10 result but remains winless this season. … Sheldon Creed, who finished a season-best third, won both stages and scored his first top-10 finish in the past three races. … Todd Gilliland placed fourth for his best result of the year. … Ben Rhodes finished fifth for his best run of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Matt Crafton finished last after he was collected in Codie Rohrbaugh‘s crash on the first corner of the first lap. Rohrbaugh finished 39th. … Raphael Lessard hit the grass in Turn 3 and shot up into the wall and in Austin Wayne Self‘s path on the sixth lap. Lessard finished 37th. Self finished 38th. … Ty Majeski, running third, blocked Grant Enfinger and wrecked on the 12th lap. Majeski placed 36th.

NOTABLE: Kyle Busch Motorsports scored its 78th career Truck win. Thirteen drivers have accounted for those victories.

NEXT: The series races at 6 p.m. ET July 11 at Kentucky Speedway on FS1.

Kyle Busch overcomes penalties to win Miami Truck race

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Kyle Busch came back from being assessed pre-race penalties to win Saturday night’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Busch shook off a pre-race inspection infraction that cost him 10 owner points and likely will result in additional penalties in the next few days, was forced to start from the back of the field (after he had been slated to start from the second position) and had to serve a pass-through penalty after the green flag fell.

The L1 violation assessed against Busch’s truck and team, per the NASCAR Rule Book, is: 20.3.2.3 Rear Sub-Frame Assembly I-4 Track Bar Supports a. A maximum of one track bar mount frame support and a maximum of one track bar mount lateral support must be used.

It took Busch just 39 laps to roar through the 38-truck field to take the lead and led 82 laps in the 134-lap race. He wrapped things up following the last caution and restart, sailing away from the field in the final seven laps to earn the 58th Truck Series win of his career.

“The deal with the infraction was a fluke deal,” Busch told FS1. “That’s how these trucks were allowed to run last time here at Homestead. This thing has just been sitting on the side waiting for me to get back behind the wheel. It didn’t go to the fab shop, so it didn’t get a bar cut out that was legal here last year but not legal here this year. So, not sure if there was a performance advantage to it, just something we’ve been running but not allowed to do it anymore.”

Tyler Ankrum finished second, followed by Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott and Johnny Sauter.

More: Results, standings after Miami Truck race

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ross Chastain

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

Who had a good race: Tyler Ankrum ran solid much of the night to earn his first top-10 finish of the season. … Christian Eckes (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie.

Who had a bad race: It was a rough night for GMS Racing. Shortly after a restart on Lap 20, three of its trucks – Chase Elliott, Brett Moffitt and Zane Smith – were involved in a wreck. Only Elliott was able to continue and finished fourth. Moffitt finished 36th and Smith finished 37th.

Notable: This was Busch’s second win and third top-10 finish in a Truck this season. He also said that he expects his final Truck Series start this year will be at Texas on July 18. … There was a red flag of almost 16 minutes late in the race when Sheldon Creed ran into sand barrels at the entrance to pit road.

What’s next: The series is off next weekend and returns to action on Saturday, June 27, at Pocono Raceway (12:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Grant Enfinger wins Atlanta Truck race with last-lap pass of Austin Hill

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Grant Enfinger passed Austin Hill with one lap to go to win Saturday’s Vet Tix Camping World 200 Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The green-white-checker finish gave Enfinger his fourth career win and second this season (he also won the 2020 opener at Daytona). It also was Ford’s first-ever Truck Series win at the 1.54-mile track in Hampton, Georgia.

Kyle Busch won the first two stages and appeared to have the truck to win. But midway through the final segment, he was forced to pit after he skimmed the outside wall trying to avoid the slow-moving ride of Jordan Anderson.

To add insult to injury, Busch was penalized twice for speeding on pit road, ultimately dropping him three laps behind the leaders and ending his hopes of rebounding for the win. Busch came into the race having won nine times, plus three runner-ups and a third-place showing in his last 14 Truck Series starts dating back to Michigan in mid-2017.

MORE: Results, standings after Atlanta Trucks race

Hill finished second in Saturday’s race, followed by Christian Eckes, Todd Gilliland and Zane Smith. Sixth through 10th were Ross Chastain, Derek Kraus, Brett Moffitt, Ben Rhodes and Stewart Friesen.

Enfinger’s win was set up when Chase Elliott spun with three laps left in regulation time, bringing out the caution. Hill, who hails from Winston, Georgia, about 55 miles from Atlanta Motor Speedway, had a 4.5 second lead at the time.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

Who had a good race: Even though he failed to win, Hill still had a strong run nonetheless. Also kudos to Eckes for rallying to finish third, followed by a late surge by Gilliland.

Who had a bad race: Rookie Bryan Dauzat had two incidents in the first four laps of Stage 1. He parked his Truck after the second incident and finished last in the 40-truck field. … Matt Crafton got caught up in an accordion-type wreck on pit road after Stage 1 that caused significant damage to his front end. Still, Crafton managed to rally back to finish 12th.

Notable: A pair of teenagers started the race on the front row: series rookie Christian Eckes and Tyler Ankrum, both 19 years old. Eckes finished third, while Ankrum was 15th.

What’s next: The next Truck Series race is Saturday, June 13, at Homestead-Miami Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Also: A fox hopped across pit wall and ran across the track before exiting on the other side. No caution was called.

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No practice, no qualifying, no problem for drivers

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It’s another example of the new normal – at least for now: elimination of practice and qualifying for most NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck races due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While most crew chiefs might like to keep practice and qualifying to optimally set up cars for race day, some drivers seem to be of the opposite mindset.

“From a driver standpoint, I personally like it like a lot of (drivers) because I feel it puts a little more in the driver’s hands because everybody starts off on an even playing field, nobody’s car is going to drive perfectly, you have to figure it out and adapt,” Xfinity Series driver Chase Briscoe said during a Thursday media conference call. “It’s super important for the crew chief and team to unload somewhat close because you have to still be close, you can’t be way off in left field and still make something happen.

“But yeah, I think we could definitely limit practice. Looking back on it, if I was a rookie and at a place like Darlington, it would be tough to just start the race and figure it out. I think 15-20 minutes, maybe, of practice, just enough to make sure your travels are set, and you’re not going to bottom out or anything crazy. And then the drivers get at least a look at the track and just shake everything down.

“Maybe that’s a potential thing we can do down the road to shorten practice. … It takes me back to my dirt racing days where you show up, you get two laps (of practice) and you’re racing. I’ve enjoyed it, I feel like it’s been good for our team because we’re typically pretty close in practice as it is, so it’s been good for us.”

Veteran drivers like reigning Truck Series champ Matt Crafton also likes the run-what-you-brung aspect.

“It’s interesting how we’ve done this, like with Charlotte, we went with what we’ve known and what we’ve ran with the last couple years, and the baseline setup and what we ended up with and started from there,” Crafton said in the teleconference. “I think it’s a lot harder for some of the rookies that don’t have a whole lot of notebook to lean on.

“It’s a good thing for the veterans to have more of a notebook, but I love it (no practice or qualifying), to be honest. It’s kind of a cool thing that we’re doing with no practice. The last time we did that was at Kentucky (2015) and I actually won the race because it was rained out practice and qualifying. Under the circumstances we’re going through right now, I’m glad at least we’re racing.”

Fellow Truck Series driver Zane Smith, who earned a career-best third-place finish last week at Charlotte, said not having practice is “100% absolutely” a disadvantage for rookie drivers not to have practice or qualifying – but he’s also quickly learned to adapt.

“This deal kind of sucks for me, but I’ve always kind of liked where you line ‘em up and race,” Smith said. “It’s kind of like you’ve got what you’ve got and figure out as soon as you can.

“That’s what I did in Charlotte. … I tested at Atlanta not too long ago and that was my first time on a mile-and-a-half in a truck. But racing a truck and driving a truck are two entirely different things.”

Still, Smith found a bit of humor about racing Saturday at Atlanta without practice and qualifying.

“I can’t wait to see my heart rate right after Stage 1,” Smith, who turns 21 next Tuesday, said with a chuckle. “I have this Apple Watch and it tracks all that and it’s kind of cool to see after the race.

“I could tell I was out of breath after Stage 1 (last week at Charlotte) from starting near the back and coming to the front. But at least this time, I think I’ll start top 10 because they changed the points deal, so that’ll make my job a lot easier – I hope.”

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Starting lineup for Tuesday’s Truck race at Charlotte

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Ben Rhodes will start on the pole for Tuesday night’s NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Rhodes got the pole via a random draw.

Tyler Ankrum starts second and will be followed by Tanner Gray, Matt Crafton and points leader Austin Hill.

Click here for Truck starting lineup

It is a 40-truck field. Kyle Busch starts 16th, Chase Elliott starts 26th and John Hunter Nemechek starts 38th.

Here is how the lineup was set:

  • Positions 1 -10:  The first 10 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up Eligibility will be assigned starting positions 1st – 10th using a random draw.
  • Positions 11 – 21:  The next 11 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 11- 21 using a random draw.
  • positions 22 – 32: The next 11 NGROTS Teams based on the Adverse Conditions Line Up eligibility will be assigned starting positions 22nd – 32nd  using a random draw.
  • Any vehicles that are eligible for the Event in position 33rd – 40th will be assigned starting positions based on their order of eligibility.

The Truck series races at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday. It is the first Truck race since Feb. 21 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.