Justin Haley takes dramatic maiden Truck win at Gateway
GMS Racing's Justin Haley led just seven laps en route to his first ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, surviving a two-lap shootout to the checkered flag at Gateway Motorsports Park.
The victory came in Haley's in 37th career start, making him the seventh different winner this season. Additionally, he now qualifies for the CWTS Playoffs.
"Yeah man, I've been dreaming of this as a little kid," he said in Victory Lane. "Every time you start to doubt yourself, you get into situations like this.
"This is amazing. I raced my heart out. That's what I've raced for my whole life.
"Its been an incredible experience."
Grant Enfinger led the field from the green flag from pole position, the second of his career and first since 2016. He went on to led all 35 laps in the opening stage.
Enfinger took the green and white checkered flag under caution after holding off Matt Crafton, Christian Eckes, Noah Gragson in the first stint of the race.
The yellow was needed after Dalton Sargeant and Todd Gilliland made contact racing for position on Lap 30, causing Sargeant to cut a tire that ended with him in the outside wall.
But the first caution of the race came a bit earlier when Jordan Anderson slowed on the track and had to be pushed back to the pits.
Gragson followed Enfinger in second at the end of the stage with Crafton third and defending race winner John Hunter Nemechek fourth. Justin Haley completed the top five.
Finishing sixth through tenth was last week’s winner Brett Moffitt, then Eckes, Jesse Little, Johnny Sauter and Stewart Friesen.
Eckes might be the youngest driver in the field at just 17, but he showed the poise of a veteran in the second stage at Gateway, coming out of the pits in the lead and pacing the field every lap to win the segment in just his second CWTS start.
Just like Stage 1, the second stage ended under caution after Crafton slowed on the track and failed to make it back to the pits with a dead battery.
Before the caution, Eckes, driving the No. 46 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra, built his lead close to two seconds before the caution flag bunched up the field.
Sauter finished second with Gilliland, Gragson and Moffitt completing the top five. Nemechek was sixth with Little and Stage 1 winner Enfinger seventh and eighth, respectively. Friesen and Justin Haley rounded out the top 10.
Just like he did last week at Iowa Speedway, Moffitt was leading the field in the final stage and was battling Gragson for the top spot when he and all the lead-lap trucks pitted after contact between contenders Friesen and Sauter brought out the fifth caution of the race.
During the pit stops, Moffitt’s team had trouble fueling the truck and after having to make an additional pit stop, he fell back to 19th-place for the restart.
Gragson led Nemechek to the green flag to start the final stage and cruised away until the sixth caution of the race, which came when Nemechek droppedfluid on the track, collecting Justin Fontaine and Tate Fogleman -- both of whom lost control after hitting the fluid.
After a lengthy caution period and red flg for clean up, Gragson remained out front, but there was plenty of action behind him. Moffitt, who battled all the way up to fifth, spun and hit the wall after contact with Ben Rhodes with 28 laps to go.
The first of two late cautions tightened the field up once again to set up a seven-lap shootout. Gragson got shuffled back on the restart with Haley shooting out to the lead before the ninth and final caution of the race set up a two-lap sprint to the finish.
Haley got another strong restart as Sauter and Moffitt made contact in Turn 1. Moffitt spun and fell back, but the race remained green.
Moffitt was able to fend off both Gilliland and Sauter, who finished second and third, respectively. Myatt Snider was fourth and Zane Smith finished fifth in his debut.
Chad Finley finished a very impressive sixth with Little seventh and Herbst eighth. Cody Coughlin came home ninth and Gragson rebounded to tenth.
|16||22||Austin Wayne Self||Chevrolet||160||8.296||21|
|18||33||Josh Reaume||Chevrolet||159||1 lap||19|
|19||41||Ben Rhodes||Ford||157||3 laps||18|
|20||88||Matt Crafton||Ford||156||4 laps||25|
|21||98||Grant Enfinger||Ford||153||7 laps||36||29|
|22||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevrolet||148||12 laps||15|
|23||3||Jordan Anderson||Chevrolet||144||16 laps||14|
|24||6||Norm Benning||Chevrolet||121||39 laps||Clutch||13|
|25||8||John Hunter Nemechek||Chevrolet||113||47 laps||1||Oil leak|
|26||45||Justin Fontaine||Chevrolet||113||47 laps||Accident||11|
|27||20||Tate Fogleman||Chevrolet||113||47 laps||Accident||10|
|28||46||Christian Eckes||Toyota||76||84 laps||34||Accident||23|
|29||50||Ross Chastain||Chevrolet||43||117 laps||Vibration|
|30||25||Dalton Sargeant||Chevrolet||31||129 laps||Accident||7|
|31||15||Bryant Barnhill||Chevrolet||5||155 laps||Engine||6|
|32||87||Joe Nemechek||Chevrolet||0||Electrical||5 |
Five things to watch in NASCAR trucks race at Gateway
Max Tullman's NASCAR Truck debut moved up to Chicagoland