In a Nutshell: Ryan took the checkered flag 0.270 seconds ahead of Miguel Paludo, who scored his career-best finish, in Saturday afternoon’s Pocono Mountains 125. Blaney took the lead in the second and final green-white-checkered finish to score his second career win. Rookie German Quiroga, Joey Coulter and Ross Chastain rounded out the top 5.
Who Should Have Won: Ryan Blaney. After starting sixth, Blaney wasted little time in pulling up behind teammate Ross Chastain. Just nine laps into the race, the driver of the No. 29 Ford took the top spot from his teammate on lap 10 and held it until hitting pit road during green flag pit stops. On a lap 47 restart, Blaney took the field four wide and grabbed the top spot, one that he would relinquish to German Quiroga on the first green-white-checkered attempt. But the driver of the No. 29 got one more shot on the final GWC and took the lead for the final two laps en route to his first win of the year.
Did you miss the race? In this section of Tracking the Trucks, you’ll find the major storylines that went on all in one place.
*Bodine Shine in One-Off With TSM Until…*
Earlier this week, Todd Bodine signed on with Turner Scott Motorsports for a one-race deal to pilot the No. 30 Chevrolet (his first career start behind the wheel of a Chevrolet). After rain washed out Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Bodine started seventh based on practice speeds and wasted little time getting into the top 5. A beautifully executed three-wide move with Ross Chastain and Miguel Paludo allowed him to move to the second spot just 11 laps in.
Following a round of green flag pit stops, Bodine found himself out in the front of the field with a nearly two-second lead over teammate Miguel Paludo, and though the driver of the No. 32 managed to chip away the lead, it was Bodine who maintained the top spot and appeared to be on the way to his first victory since Dover last June. But a lap 47 restart after a debris caution saw Bodine get loose and slide up the track just moments before he turned across James Buescher’s right front corner. Though he avoided damage from the spin, Bodine was forced to pit for tires and was left to settle for an 11th-place finish.
*Ehrgott Falters in NASCAR Debut*
Just four years removed from a torn artery in his neck that threatened to permanently sideline his racing career, sprint car driver Ricky Ehrgott made his Truck Series debut on Saturday afternoon. Ehrgott started 26th after qualifying was rained out on Saturday morning, but his debut race was cut very short when he spun heading into turn one on the very first lap, smacked the wall and caused significant left side damage to the No. 81 Rev1 Power Services / Platinum Wealth Partners Toyota. Though the team worked feverishly to repair the damage done, Ehrgott ran just two laps before taking the truck to the garage with terminal damage. He was credited with a 36th-place result.
Clearly, Ehrgott’s debut was far from his goal to “finish the race competitively.” It’s pretty easy to point to a lack of experience behind the wheel of a truck, a green race track after early morning rains and the difficulty level of the Tricky Triangle as the reason Ehrgott didn’t even make it through lap one before turning the truck around. But with all of that said, it would be nice to see Ehrgott have another shot behind the wheel where he’s able to run more than two laps just to see what he’s capable of doing in a truck.
- Darrell Wallace, Jr. cost himself with a rookie mistake on the first lap of Saturday afternoon’s race. After getting a strong start when the green flag flew, the driver of the No. 54 Toyota changed lanes prior to crossing the start / finish line and was penalized and had to move to the tail end of the field. But despite that mistake, Wallace, Jr. recovered and finish a solid seventh, his seventh top-10 result this year.
- Defending champion James Buescher ran inside the top 10 for much of the afternoon and looked like he was on the way to his third top-5 finish of the season. But bad luck hit the driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet again this week as he spun coming out of turn 3 and was left to settle with a disappointing 21st-place finish. The result dropped him one spot to fourth in the standings, 64 points behind leader Matt Crafton.
- Saturday afternoon’s race was slowed by four cautions for ten laps, but three of those four yellows flew in the final 12 circuits. Following the first yellow on lap one, the field raced under the green flag for 39 laps before a debris caution.
- Joey Coulter headed into Saturday afternoon’s race with high hopes of defending his first career victory from 2012, however he struggled for much of the day with tight conditions. Taking advantage of the third caution, Coulter pitted for four tires and made up a substantial amount of ground, bringing home his second consecutive fourth-place result.
- Timothy Peters’ No. 17 Toyota failed post-race inspection for being too low. After finishing 14th, Peters sits eighth in points, however that’s likely to change come penalty day next week. Earlier this year when Ryan Blaney’s truck was found too low, NASCAR handed down a six-point penalty to both the driver and the truck owner as well as a $5,000 fine. Should Peters suffer the same fate, he’ll drop to tenth in the standings.
Truck Rookie Report
2013 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Ryan Blaney (No. 29)
Jeb Burton (No. 4)
Brennan Newberry (No. 14)
German Quiroga, Jr. (No. 77)
Ryan Truex (No. 30)
Darrell Wallace, Jr. (No. 54)
No. of Rookies in the Race:
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 4; Ryan Blaney, finished first; German Quiroga, finished third; Darrell Wallace, Jr., finished seventh; Brennan Newberry, finished 10th
Rookie of the Race: Ryan Blaney
Each week we’ll take a look at the championship picture and find out which drivers were affected the most by the racing on track.
*Biggest Winner: Race winner *Ryan Blaney took advantage of the his victory and the problems a few of the drivers ahead of him had on Saturday afternoon and jumped five positions to third. At the halfway point of the year, Blaney finds himself 62 points behind the leader and one ten behind second-place driver and fellow rookie Jeb Burton.
*Biggest Loser: *Johnny Sauter took a huge hit in the points after being caught up by Ty Dillon on the first of two green-white-checkered attempts. Joey Coulter made a strong move outside Dillon, and Sauter chose to capitalize on the momentum he had on the high side of the track. But as the driver of the No. 98 Toyota moved outside Dillon, the driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet moved up the track, slamming both drivers into the outside wall. Sauter was left to settle for a disappointing 19th-place result that dropped him five spots in the standings to tenth.
*Points Update:* Matt Crafton padded his point lead to 52 markers over rookie Jeb Burton. Race winner Ryan Blaney moved up five spots to third, while defending champion James Buescher dropped one position to fourth. Ty Dillon dropped one spot and rounds out the top 5.
Fifth through tenth find themselves separated by a mere nine points right now. Brendan Gaughan gained one position and sits just seven points outside the top 5. Miguel Paludo jumped three spots to seventh, while Timothy Peters dropped two positions to eighth. Rookie Darrell Wallace, Jr. and Johnny Sauter, who dropped five positions round out the top 10.
“These Ford motors really gave us the pull we needed on restarts and that is what it came down to. It is hard to stay in front if you’re the leader. You’re kind of just a sitting duck because everyone lays back. I was fortunate enough to get a good restart at the end. That 32 (Paludo) took the 77 (Quiroga) three wide and slowed him down a little bit. I don’t think we could do it without these Ford engines, Cooper Standard, Draw-Tite and Reese Towpower. I just have to thank Brad Keselowski for giving me a chance. This is cool. It’s a lot of fun.” Ryan Blaney
“It was really fun. I chose the outside on the start of the race, and I think it was the wrong lane. The guys at the bottom put us three wide. I had a shot on the last restart and unfortunately couldn’t get it cleared. Congratulations to those guys (No. 29 team). I’m really proud of Accudoc, Turner Scott Motorsports and all my guys. Second place is huge for us. We’ve been struggling a little bit with bad luck, but we are super strong this year. I’m looking forward to the next race.” Miguel Paludo
“It was very fun. I told Dan (Stillman, crew chief) that the No. 77 was great. I was just driving. We went to the front and then I couldn’t keep it. It was a good day for us. I’m very happy, and hopefully this second part of the season, we can continue to finish in the top 10.
Up Next: The Camping World Truck Series takes a weekend off before heading to Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 17th. Last season Nelson Piquet, Jr. used a fuel mileage gamble to score his first career win by nearly ten seconds over Kyle Busch. The National Guard 200 will be televised on live FOX Sports 1 beginning at 12:00 PM ET; it can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate or SiriusXM Channel 90.
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