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Tracking the Trucks: Maiden Start, Maiden Win for Ryan Preece at Nashville

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In a Nutshell: Ryan Preece hasn’t had the best luck in the NASCAR Cup Series this year, but everything fell his way in the Camping World Truck Series’ Friday (June 18) night race at Nashville Superspeedway.

The Rackley Roofing 200 marked the first time the truckers had raced at the 1.333-mile superspeedway in a decade. Austin Dillon won that race; Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Parker Kligerman were the only three drivers in Friday’s race that also competed in the most recent event there in 2011 (to put it in perspective, Johanna Long, Max Papis and Todd Bodine were among the drivers who competed in that race 10 years ago).

Preece’s victory was his first in the Truck Series and came in his first-ever start, leading just eight laps. He piloted David Gilliland Racing’s No. 17 Ford F-150 and was followed by Todd Gilliland, Grant Enfinger, Zane Smith and Stewart Friesen.

See also
Ryan Preece Wins Nashville Truck Race in 1st Start

“I didn’t know what to expect, really,” Preece told FOX Sports 1 afterwards. “I didn’t know anything. I was just taking the guidance from my teammates. I told them I’d do better in the race than I did in qualifying and practice, and I lived up to that.”

The Win(s) That Could’ve Been

Enfinger took the lead after stage two and held off Preece’s No. 17 for some time, performing well once again in his split schedule with ThorSport Racing: he’s finished 11th or better in all seven starts with the No. 98 this season. He also led three times for a total of 39 circuits, but after their battle late in the going, Preece scooted by Enfinger with just seven laps left.

That left things open for Gilliland to take second, who’d had an impressive race to that point as well. While he never led, Gilliland started at the back after failing pre-race inspection and methodically cut through the field, failing to score stage points but ending up second when the checkered flag flew … despite a pit road commitment line violation sending him to the back.

See also
Todd Gilliland Drives From Back to 2nd Place at Nashville

Race Notes

  • Derek Kraus started on the pole and led 48 laps, but his race went south late when contact sent the No. 19 into the wall. He won the first stage and finished third in the second, but he moved up into Josh Berry and got turned while still running well with less than 40 laps left.

  • The racing seemed to improve throughout the night. Kraus and Austin Hill ran one-two while the field spread out through the first stage or so. But as the sun set, the lights came on and darkness settled in, passing seemed to become more frequent, the racing action became a bit more chaotic and things like this happened.

  • Ty Majeski recorded a top-10 finish in his part-time effort for ThorSport, tailing teammates Crafton and Ben Rhodes as the team swept sixth through eighth in the running order, while Jack Wood drove GMS Racing’s No. 24 to an 11th-place finish in just his third start.
  • Preece’s victory also broke a streak that dates to 2010’s two races: the previous four winners (two in 2010, two in 2011) all started from the pole. Preece started sixth.

2021 Rookie Report

No. 1 – Hailie Deegan
No. 02 – Kris Wright
No. 18 – Chandler Smith
No. 23 – Chase Purdy
No. 42 – Carson Hocevar

No. of rookies in the race: 5

No. of rookies in the top 10: 0

Rookie of the race: Chandler Smith, finished 13th

Point report: Again, the top two stay the same (John Hunter Nemechek and Rhodes), but Rhodes closed the gap, if only slightly, to a 70-point margin.

The single change in the standings’ top 20 came in the sixth and seventh spots, where Enfinger jumped over Sheldon Creed for sixth. Though he likely won’t receive a playoff waiver, Enfinger has done nothing short of making the most of his opportunities this year.

Series regular winners: Ben Rhodes (Daytona, Daytona road course); John Hunter Nemechek (Las Vegas, Richmond, Charlotte, Texas); Sheldon Creed (Darlington); Todd Gilliland (COTA)

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Up next: Prior to their week off ahead of Knoxville, the trucks visit the Poconos for a race at the Tricky Triangle. The four-race weekend — one Truck, one Xfinity and two Cup races — kicks off with the Trucks at noon ET on Saturday (June 26). Coverage will be on FOX Sports 1.

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