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Tracking the Trucks: Zane Smith Scores 2nd Career Win at Dover

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In a Nutshell: Zane Smith scored his second win in the last three races Friday evening at Dover International Speedway. The rookie made a near-perfect restart with three laps remaining to hold off veterans Matt Crafton and Brett Moffitt en route to his fourth top 10 in the last five races.

Crafton and Moffitt, who led a season-high 50 laps, ended up second and third, respectively. Todd Gilliland tied his season-best finish in fourth, and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five.

Stewart Friesen Scores Back-to-Back Top 10s

For the first time in a season that’s best characterized as dismal, Stewart Friesen posted back-to-back top-10 finishes with a ninth-place run at Dover, despite a late-race spin that brought out the final yellow with just seven laps remaining.

Because there were so few trucks on the lead lap, Friesen was able to restart 10th with three laps to go.

“It was solid. We unloaded probably better than we did all year, and ran in the top 10,” Friesen said. “It was just a tough track position deal, but the Halmar Tundra was good. It was crazy there at the end. It looked like some oil got laid down, and I spun in it.

“It’s a tough caliber of teams this year. There are 20 guys that can win every week, so back-to-back top-10s, we will take it and keep building the notebook.”

For Friesen, it’s some much-needed momentum in a season that his seen the No. 52 team struggle in almost every way you could imagine. Heading into World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway next weekend, Friesen looks to capitalize on that momentum at a track where he led 20 laps and finished third last season.

“We have some good notes. Obviously, everything is a little bit different this year than in years past. We will just keep trying to build that notebook and use some of our experience there. The shifting in (turns) one and two is unique for Gateway, so I got that down pretty good last year and was able to utilize that a little better than I did in years past. Looking forward to it.”

Friesen will need a win to make this year’s playoff field as he’s currently 97 points outside the cut line with just three races remaining.

Quick Hits:

  • Crafton’s runner-up finish marked his sixth top five in the last seven races, including a win at Kansas Speedway last month. It’s quite the turnaround for the No. 88 team that posted just a single top five in the first six races of the year (fourth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway). The defending champion is quickly making a case for why he’ll be one to watch during the playoffs, though a lack of playoff points to carry through the final seven races (he has just five from the Kansas win) will work against Crafton down the stretch.
  • Zane Smith’s victory on Friday at Dover scored him a $50,000 bonus in the second race of the Triple Truck Challenge. That also means the $300,000 bonus for winning all three races in the challenge is off the table. If he or Sheldon Creed can win at World Wide Technology Raceway next weekend, they’ll earn an additional $50,000 bonus.
  • Derek Kraus led his first laps in the Truck Series Friday at Dover en route to a 10th-place finish. Utilizing the slower truck of Dawson Cram, Kraus passed Chandler Smith for the lead near the end of stage two and held the top spot for nine laps before giving it up to eventual winner Zane Smith.

  • Following a 28th-place run on the Daytona International Speedway road course that saw him spin multiple times, Carson Hocevar posted a career-best 12th-place finish at Dover. It was just his fourth Truck Series start and his second of the 2020 season.

https://twitter.com/CarsonHocevar/status/1296957808408006658

  • After winning the ARCA Menards East Series race earlier in the day, Sam Mayer made his first 2020 Truck Series start. With just three previous series starts under his belt, Mayer quietly posted a career-best 15th-place finish.
  • The depth of the Truck Series fields is starting to show the longer-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Cory Roper and Codie Rohrbaugh ran the first 12 races of the season but were left sidelined due to funding. Additionally, On Point Motorsports, which had Brennan Poole behind the wheel for 11 races and added Danny Bohn to finish out the year, skipped Dover to prepare for next weekend’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

Rookie Report

2020 Rookie of the Year Candidates

Tate Fogleman – No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet
Raphael Lessard – No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota
Spencer Davis – No. 11 Spencer Davis Motorsports Toyota
Zane Smith – No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet
Tanner Gray – No. 15 DGR-Crosley Ford
Christian Eckes – No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota
Derek Kraus – No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Toyota
Ty Majeski – No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet

Number of Rookies in Race: 8

Number of Rookies finishing in the Top 10: 2; Zane Smith, finished first; Derek Kraus, finished 10th

Rookie of the Race: Smith

Points Update: Zane Smith moved up a position to second in the standings and gained ground on Austin Hill, whose point lead shrank to 41 markers. Moffitt dropped to third, followed by Eckes, who moved up one spot to fourth. Rhodes rounds out the top five.

Creed remains sixth, followed by ThorSport Racing teammates Crafton and Grant Enfinger. Tyler Ankrum and Gilliland round out the top 10, though neither one is secure in their spot about the playoff cut line. Ankrum holds a nine-point advantage over 11th-place Kraus, while Gilliland’s cushion is just four markers with three races remaining to set the playoff field.

Series-regular winners this season (locked into 2020 playoffs): Enfinger (Daytona, Atlanta), Creed (Kentucky, Daytona road course), Hill (Kansas 1), Crafton (Kansas 2), Zane Smith (Michigan, Dover)

Up Next: The Truck Series heads to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway for the third and final race in the Triple Truck Challenge. Coverage for the WWT Raceway 200 presented by CK Power begins at 12 p.m. ET, Sunday, Aug. 30 on FOX Sports 1; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate or SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.

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