Frontstretch’s Truck Series content is presented by American Trucks
What looked to be Ross Chastain’s race to win fizzled away in the closing laps during Friday night’s (Sept. 13) World of Westgate 200 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Instead, Austin Hill passed Chastain to earn his third victory of the season and clinch a spot in the next round of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoffs.
Hill had stayed out while the rest of the field pitted, but crew chief Scott Zipadelli called the team down under the final caution for fresh tires. The No. 16 Toyota still had the speed to make up lost track position, running down Chastain and passing him with 12 laps remaining.
Meanwhile, Chastain, who won both stages, took home his eighth top five of the season and third top-10 finish in five races at Las Vegas. Pole sitter Christian Eckes was third, his second top five in six races this year with Kyle Busch Motorsports. Sheldon Creed finished fourth and Todd Gilliland placed fifth, his fourth top-five run of the year.
Things took a strange turn from the beginning of this race, as Grant Enfinger had an oil leak and retired. The motor problem cost Enfinger, the regular season champion, a shot at making the Round of 6.
Update: Regular season champion Grant Enfinger is done for the night and will not advance to the next round of the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/WiDYrT8SPH
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) September 14, 2019
Friesen also had a problem as the team believed they lost a cylinder in the first stage. The team worked to replace plug wires and put its driver back on the track, though he was two laps down.
Later, an odd occurrence to two ThorSport teammates happened around lap 41 when both Crafton and Johnny Sauter’s trucks started smoking and showing fire near the right front at almost the exact same time.
— NASCAR Gander Trucks (@NASCAR_Trucks) September 14, 2019
Sauter tried to return to the race, but his truck began smoking again, so he ultimately went to the garage. His playoff hopes went up in smoke along with Enfinger, clearing the way for Ankrum to earn the sixth and final spot.
There was another caution for Tyler Dippel‘s motor expiring on lap 82; he ended up in 26th position.
Altogether, there were six caution periods including stage breaks. Five drivers in all retired due to engine failure but 14 trucks remained on the lead lap at the finish.
Now, the Truck Series has itself a long break. The first race in the next round of the GOTS playoffs is the Sugarlands Shine 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. The race will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET.