The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series returned to Iowa Speedway this weekend for their 10th race of the 2019 season.
It was quite a newsworthy race with original winner Ross Chastain being disqualified and Brett Moffitt being declared the new winner, along with Johnny Sauter being parked by NASCAR officials for an incident with Austin Hill under caution. The Truck Series race was quite possibly one of the most talked about events in recent NASCAR memory this season.
It was the first time in nearly 25 years that a race win has been taken away. What’s more amazing is that Moffitt became the first winner to not lead a single lap in 66 years.
On the other hand, we had a young, up and coming phenomenon who is making a name for himself in the ARCA Menards Series and is considered a future NASCAR Cup Series star in the years to come.
So what else happened in the event? Here’s a look at this week’s four takeaways.
- Chandler Smith Impressive In Rookie Debut – You’ve probably already heard a lot about Smith from this past weekend, but seriously, this kid is impressive and is the next real deal. Sure, qualifying was rained out which gave him the advantage of the pole position but he remained strong throughout the race. Smith led the first 55 laps of the event before a late stage caution forced him to come down pit road to fix his radio issues. Despite those radio issues, he continued to work his way back into the top-10 to finish fourth in Stage 2. However, another unfortunate circumstance took place at the end of the stage, as Smith was caught speeding on pit road which sent him to the back of the field. The highest position Smith was able to obtain after that was fifth, but he eventually had to settle for an eighth-place finish. Not bad for your first time out in a Truck Series start. Expect more big things to come from Smith in the future. He’s also setting the ARCA world on fire earning four career wins, 11 top fives and 14 top-10 finishes, along with seven poles over a span of 14 races. It’s quite impressive for a driver who is only 16-years-old.
- ThorSport Racing Continues Strong Championship Run – Despite Sauter being parked and finishing 28th, ThorSport Racing continued their run toward a championship this season. Both drivers Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton each won a stage respectively. Crafton won the first stage and Rhodes the second. Grant Enfinger was up there as well finishing second in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2 after post-race inspection. Before Sauter was parked, he was up there as well, finishing third in Stage 1 and 10th in Stage 2. ThorSport has three of their four drivers in the top five point standings. Enfinger leads over Crafton by 47 points, with Rhodes in fifth. Sauter now sits on the cut off line in eighth, 103 points behind. He will be suspended for Gateway, but will still remain playoff eligible, despite the suspension. Now, Enfinger, Crafton and Rhodes all just need a win to help their chances even more.
- Johnny Sauter Suspended – Well, we’ve all been waiting for it and Sauter has been suspended for the upcoming race at Gateway this weekend but at what cost? I’ve always learned, while one is at fault for their actions, the other is too. I think it would have only been right for both drivers to be suspended this weekend to learn from their actions. Oh by the way, if you’re near Dells Raceway Park Saturday night, Sauter will be there as well, as he tweeted below.
Change of plans…Dells Raceway Park Saturday night Dick Trickle 99! Ya know a Real Racer #DickTrickle #SupportYourLocalShortTrack pic.twitter.com/SIxEDeUIbv— Johnny Sauter (@JohnnySauter) June 18, 2019
4. Stewart Friesen Gets Top Five Finish – Lost in all the controversy following Sunday’s race is Friesen and his No. 52 Halmar Racing team, who earned another top-five finish this season. Friesen and his team finished 10th, and sixth in both stages respectively. It was his six top-10 finish of the season and he currently sits third in the point standings, 49 points behind Grant Enfinger.