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For the first time in 414 races, Greg Biffle got into a truck and raced in the Gander Outdoor Truck Series.
He didn’t miss a beat. Biffle, who hasn’t raced in NASCAR since 2016, won the 23rd Annual SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. For the win, Biffle’s team gets a $50,000 bonus as part of the Triple Truck Challenge.
Biffle is not scheduled to race in the next two Truck races of the Challenge, but he could win up to an additional $450,000 if he raced and won those as well. Kyle Busch Motorsports owner Kyle Busch hinted that Biffle could be back.
I would b happy to sir! Let’s chat! https://t.co/2zDeB8e2Vc
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) June 8, 2019
The race was halted by a plethora of cautions, but no restart was more important than the restart with under 10 laps to go. Biffle, who stayed out during green flag pit stops, had to conserve fuel while also trying to hold off a charging Matt Crafton, who was itching for his first win since 2017.
— Texas Motor Speedway (@TXMotorSpeedway) June 8, 2019
“It means a lot to me” Biffle said in victory lane. ” Thanks to Kyle [Busch] for giving me that opportunity to drive this truck. Everybody that has stayed behind Kyle Busch Motorsports. Gander Outdoor Series. I love this series.”
“I’m just so excited to be here. It is hard to figure out how to pass. It is the first time for me with this new package, but I figured it out how to [pass] at the end.”
It was the first NASCAR race for the 2000 Truck champion since the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2016.
Crafton finished second with Tyler Ankrum scoring his career-best finish in third just hours after receiving his high school diploma during driver introductions. Grant Enfinger finished fourth, with Biffle’s KBM teammate Harrison Burton rounding out the top five.
Stage 3 got off to a ruckus restart like only the Truck Series could showcase. Tyler Dippel, Sheldon Creed and Ben Rhodes were battling for the lead until Dippel got loose in Turn 4 and was struggling to save it. Eventually, his tire gave way, and he backed it into the fence in Turn 1 for the 10th caution of the day, a Texas Truck record.
Once they got back going, Rhodes’s truck tried to shift into gear and the transmission was not working. The crew diagnosed on pit road that Rhodes only had fourth gear. Before he got to pit road though, the caution waved for a multi-truck incident involving Natalie Decker, Spencer Boyd and Trey Hutchens III.
The rest of the field went back racing with Biffle getting the lead from Enfinger and leading in the Truck Series for the first time since 2001 (414 races). Stewart Friesen had a huge run and tried to get to Biffle’s bumper before Friesen lost control of his truck and backed it into the fence.
— Beth Lunkenheimer (@NASCARBeth) June 8, 2019
Later, Biffle, Creed and others pitted, and Austin Hill took the lead. He held onto it until he had to pit with 25 laps to go. However, a caution with 15 laps to go changed everything as the No. 22 of Austin Wayne Self slowed on the apron and was not able to get it going again.
That’s when Ankrum, Creed and other pitted while Biffle and Cory Roper stayed out. Biffle got a huge launch on the final restart, and despite being tracked down by Crafton, held on to win his 17th career Truck win.
Todd Gilliland started on the pole and led the first five laps before relinquishing the lead to Enfinger. However, that was most of the green flag racing during that stage as Turn 2 was calamity corner for multiple trucks.
Five cautions interrupted the first stage, with four of those coming due to contact in Turn 2. Gus Dean spun it around and backed it in to the fence on lap 12. That was followed up with Kyle Benjamin backing it in on lap 22. Codie Rohrbaugh continued the streak by spinning and making contact with the wall on lap 29, and Angela Ruch finished the job by wrecking her Niece Motorsports truck with nine laps to go in Stage 1.
Johnny Sauter, however, managed to stay out of trouble and collected the playoff point and 10 overall points by winning the stage.
Stage 2 was caution-heavy like stage 1, but unlike the previous stage, the first incident collected a huge championship contender. Sauter got together with Hill, backing the No. 13 Ford into the Turn 4 wall. Sauter went on to finish 12th, but for the five-time Texas winner, it was a huge disappointment.
Cory Roper spun it around with 14 to go in Turn 2, but unlike the previous four drivers that spun out in that turn, Roper did not hit anything and continued to finish ninth — Roper Racing’s first ever top 10.
The wrecking continued as polesitter Gilliland was the next victim. Gilliland had led 31 laps early, but once again, Turn 2 was calamity corner, and he backed it into the fence. It has been a tough season for the second year driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports, as his owner Kyle Busch has been publicly outspoken that his drivers better “get their sh** together.”
The stage went green after this caution, but there was definite action that could have resulted in yellows being waved. Ankrum was battling Friesen for second when he got loose in Turn 4 and spun his Toyota down pit road without hitting anything. With one lap to go in the stage, Jordan Anderson got loose in Turn 2 and also kept it off the wall. He ended up going a lap down but was able to continue.
Rhodes hung on to win Stage 2 and collect a playoff point.
The trucks will continue the second race of the Triple Truck Challenge at Iowa Speedway next Saturday (June 15), followed by the final leg at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway the following week.