Todd Gilliland snags Truck win on the Knoxville Dirt

Todd Gilliland took victory in his first start of the 2022 NASCAR Truck Series season, winning on the dirt at Knoxville.

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Gilliland, a full-time competitor in the Cup Series for Front Row Motorsports, decided to go trophy-hunting on the Knoxville dirt this weekend. The decision paid off with the young racer taking victory for the third time in his Truck Series career.

"The Cup Series is tough, just racing every single week," said Gilliland. "I've had like a million people ask me if this is really what you want to do on your off weekend and absolutely. Nothing beats racing. I've been telling everyone that I'm young and I wish I could do this every single weekend of the year. Just so happy for my whole team.

It was quite the Father's Day gift for Todd's father David Gilliland, who played the role of team owner in the Knoxville victory.

"I'm super proud," he said post-race. "I told him when the race started -- I said, 'Bud, all I want for Father's Day is that trophy.' And now we'll be taking it home on the plane with us."

Gilliland took the lead from John-Hunter Nemechek with ten laps to go and then hung on through a late-race restart to claim victory. He led 58 of 150 laps.

Zane Smith, Ty Majeski, Stewart Friesen, Derek Kraus, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Tyler Ankrum, and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-ten.

Stage 1

Kraus started the race from pole position, but it was Carson Hocevar who quickly took control of the race. Despite nose damage sustained in an earlier heat race, he was able to hold back all challengers.

It didn’t take long for the first incident with Dean Thomspon spinning off the nose of Christian Eckes on Lap 4.

Later, Ben Rhodes would challenge Hocevar briefly before falling back. As he faded, it became clear that something was wrong as his truck began to spit water and overheat. 

An incident involving Tanner Gray and Spencer Boyd offered an opportunity for Rhodes to fix the issue under caution. He fell a lap down, but remained in the race.

It was a one-lap shootout to end the stage, but it was one lap too many for Friesen. A right rear tire failure sent him up the track and to the back of the pack in a massive blow to his chances at a dirt win.

Hocevar took the stage win ahead of Gilliland, Nemechek, Kraus, Majeski, Enfinger, C. Smith, Brett Moffitt, Matt DiBenedetto, and Z. Smith

Stage 2

Hocevar led Kraus and Gilliland at the start of the second stage, which would fall back under yellow due to a bizarre incident. Jessica Friesen clipped the inside berm and actually rolled her truck and got stuck after landing back on her wheels.

On the ensuing restart, Gilliland took the lead from a dominant Hocevar, who suddenly slowed with an issue. An engine failure ended his night and what was looking to be a real shot at his first Truck Series victory. His teammate Tyler Carpenter suffered an engine failure right around the same time.

Gilliland would go on to win the stage ahead of Z. Smith, Nemechek, Moffit, Kraus, Enfinger, Kaz Grala, S. Friesen, Matt Crafton, and Ankrum.

Stage 3

There were some gamblers during the final stage break, staying out on old tires in hopes of gaining track position. 

Moffitt now led the way, but his stay at the front would be short-lived. NASCAR penalized him for jumping the restart and he was forced to come down pit road.

Enfinger then took over control of the race. He was also on older tires, and could not hang on for long as a charging Gilliland reclaimed the race lead with 49 laps to go.

After a caution for a truck that was off the pace, Nemechek was able to jump into the lead of the race. Todd Gilliland was able to fight back and took the lead again with just ten laps ago.

Jack Wood then spun in what was to be the ninth and final caution of the race, setting up a four-lap dash to the checkered flag.

Gilliland held strong on the restart and captured the checkered flag in his first start of the 2022 NASCAR Truck Series season.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led
1 17 United States Todd Gilliland Ford 150 1:28'54.059     58
2 4 United States John Hunter Nemechek Toyota 150 1:28'55.004 0.945 0.945 17
3 38 Zane Smith Ford 150 1:28'56.213 2.154 1.209  
4 66 United States Ty Majeski Toyota 150 1:28'56.846 2.787 0.633  
5 52 United States Stewart Friesen Toyota 150 1:28'57.010 2.951 0.164  
6 19 United States Derek Kraus Chevrolet 150 1:28'57.401 3.342 0.391  
7 88 United States Matt Crafton Toyota 150 1:28'57.880 3.821 0.479  
8 23 United States Grant Enfinger Chevrolet 150 1:28'58.022 3.963 0.142 10
9 16 United States Tyler Ankrum Toyota 150 1:28'58.143 4.084 0.121  
10 99 United States Ben Rhodes Toyota 150 1:28'58.278 4.219 0.135  
11 51 Buddy Kofoid Toyota 150 1:28'58.709 4.650 0.431  
12 98 United States Christian Eckes Toyota 150 1:28'58.844 4.785 0.135  
13 18 Chandler Smith Toyota 150 1:28'59.306 5.247 0.462  
14 25 United States Matt DiBenedetto Chevrolet 150 1:28'59.464 5.405 0.158  
15 1 United States Hailie Deegan Ford 150 1:28'59.888 5.829 0.424  
16 91 Colby Howard Chevrolet 150 1:29'01.715 7.656 1.827  
17 3 Dylan Westbrook Chevrolet 150 1:29'01.952 7.893 0.237  
18 45 Alan Lawless Chevrolet 150 1:29'03.127 9.068 1.175  
19 56 United States Timmy Hill Toyota 150 1:29'03.613 9.554 0.486  
20 61 United States Chase Purdy Toyota 150 1:29'03.710 9.651 0.097  
21 24 Jack Wood Chevrolet 149 1:29'02.629 1 Lap 1 Lap  
22 15 United States Tanner Gray Ford 149 1:29'02.874 1 Lap 0.245  
23 40 Dean Thompson Chevrolet 148 1:29'01.606 2 Laps 1 Lap  
24 30 United States Joey Gase Toyota 148 1:29'04.250 2 Laps 2.644  
25 9 Blaine Perkins Chevrolet 148 1:29'04.791 2 Laps 0.541  
26 02 United States Kaz Grala Chevrolet 148 1:29'05.158 2 Laps 0.367  
27 33 Brayton Laster Toyota 147 1:29'07.963 3 Laps 1 Lap  
28 44 United States Kris Wright Chevrolet 145 1:29'09.809 5 Laps 2 Laps  
29 12 United States Spencer Boyd Chevrolet 142 1:29'04.008 8 Laps 3 Laps  
30 43 Devon Rouse Chevrolet 140 1:29'17.703 10 Laps 2 Laps  
31 20 United States Thad Moffitt Chevrolet 139 1:29'07.012 11 Laps 1 Lap  
32 22 United States Brett Moffitt Chevrolet 124 1:12'16.877 26 Laps 15 Laps  
33 46 Bryson Mitchell Ford 110 1:03'45.209 40 Laps 14 Laps  
34 62 Jessica Friesen Toyota 76 53'36.639 74 Laps 34 Laps  
35 42 Carson Hocevar Chevrolet 66 39'46.522 84 Laps 10 Laps 65
36 41 Tyler Carpenter Chevrolet 65 39'26.675 85 Laps 1 Lap  
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