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Race report

Zane Smith uses four-wide move to claim COTA Truck win

Zane Smith bypassed a three-wide battle for the lead and escaped with the NASCAR Truck Series win at Circuit of the Americas.

On a restart to start a second overtime, Kyle Busch led the way and Zane Smith – following a late-race spin – lined up sixth.

Entering Turn 3 with one lap to go, Stewart Friesen and Alex Bowman went side-by-side battling for second and the two pushed wide into the corner and into Busch.

While those three went wide, Smith dove to the inside to grab the lead and then held off John Hunter Nemechek by 3.529 seconds on the final lap to earn his second victory of the 2022 season and fifth of his career.

 

It’s also the second consecutive victory at COTA for Front Row Motorsports’ No. 38 Ford team, which won this race a year ago with driver Todd Gilliland.

“Truck races are crazy – you’re never out of it until you’re out of it,” Smith said. “What a statement by this team. It’s so crazy to win back-to-back on a road course like this.

“So many people to thank. It was a wild one but it’s never over until it’s over.”

Busch ended up third, Ben Rhodes was fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the top-five.

Completing the top-10 were Christian Eckes, Tyler Ankrum, Carson Hocevar, Friesen and Grant Enfinger.

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Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, several lead-lap trucks elected to pit but Busch stayed out and inherited the lead.

He led the way on the restart on Lap 30 followed by Chandler Smith and Friesen.

Hailie Deegan’s truck stalled in Turn 8 on Lap 30, which brought out the fifth caution of the race.

The race resumed on Lap 33 with Busch still out front followed by Chandler Smith and Hocevar.

On Lap 34, Matt DiBenedetto’s truck stalled on track with a broken drive line to bring out a caution. Kris Wright and Zane Smith also went for spins on that lap.

When the race returned to green on Lap 36, Busch was followed by Hocevar, Friesen, Parker Kligerman and Chandler Smith.

With five laps remaining, Busch was working hard trying to keep Friesen at bay with Bowman having moved up to third.

With four to go, Bowman got around Friesen and moved into the runner-up position.

With two laps remaining, NASCAR was forced to display a caution when the No. 46 of Matt Jaskol stalled on the track, which sent the race into a two-lap overtime.

To start the overtime, Busch remained out front followed by Bowman, Friesen, Kligerman and Nemechek.

Several trucks spun on the restart with Kaz Grala getting stuck in the Turn 6 gravel trap forcing another caution and a second overtime. On the restart, it was Busch, Bowman and Friesen.

Stage 2

Zane Smith completed a sweep of both stage wins, holding off Rhodes to take the Stage 2 win.

Derek Kraus finished third, Busch fourth and Chandler Smith rounded out the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, those trucks that did not pit prior to the stage break did so with Zane Smith the first off pit road.

Busch stayed out and inherited the lead and led the way when the race returned to green on Lap 15.

Dean Thompson went off course in Turn 8 and stalled which brought out a caution on Lap 16.

The race resumed on Lap 18 with Busch out front followed by Kligerman and Bowman.

Nemechek moved up to second on Lap 19, 1.5 seconds behind Busch, with Bowman in third. The following lap, Bowman got back around Nemechek to reclaim the runner-up position.

NASCAR displayed a caution on Lap 21 after Matt Crafton’s No. 88 got stuck in the gravel pit in Turn 19 after contact with Chase Purdy.

 

Many lead-lap trucks elected to pit with Bowman the first off pit road. Nemechek was among those who stayed out and led the way on the restart on Lap 23.

Coming to the start of Lap 24, Zane Smith spun Nemechek while the two were battling for the lead, which left Smith as the leader.

Nemechek was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during his pit stop and had to serve a pass-through penalty.

Rhodes moved into second with two laps remaining in the stage.

Stage 1

Zane Smith held off a last-lap charge from Friesen to take the Stage 1 win, his first of the 2022 season.

Rhodes was third, Kraus fourth and Ankrum rounded out the top-five.

Sheldon Creed started on the pole but had to start the race from the rear of the field after his team had to make a fuel pump change. Bowman ended up leading the first lap.

Austin Wayne Self locked up his brakes and wrecked on Lap 1 but the race remained green and he was able to continue on. Taylor Gray also received some damage in the incident.

Busch went to the inside of Bowman just before the start of Lap 3 and grabbed the lead.

With eight laps remaining in the stage, Kligerman got around Bowman to move into the second position, 2.9 seconds behind Busch.

With three laps to go, several drivers elected to pit before the stage break, including Busch. That turned the lead over to Kligerman on Lap 9.

Kligerman elected to pit on Lap 9, which turned the lead over to Zane Smith on Lap 10.

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