The victory wasn’t easy but Zane Smith held off competitor Christian Eckes in the second overtime restart coming to the checkered flag at Michigan International Speedway. Smith found his opportunity after race leader Grant Enfinger spun from the lead and then making sure Eckes wasn’t going to get a run on him. The Californian finally got the win in just 12 starts in his Truck Series career.
“I really don’t know where to start. A lot of people don’t understand my situation with racing. It’s unbelievable I’ve made it to this point. Just thank you. A lot of this sport, as we all know, is about money and I don’t come from that. Making it to this point and to win and to be with such an awesome team like GMS Racing is something special,” said an emotional Smith. “I wish everyone could be here so I could celebrate with my parents and my girlfriend. Man, this is a lot to take in and it was awesome racing with all my friends. Man, an unbelievable day.”
Stages of 20-20-60 laps made up the original 100 lap race but two overtimes forced the race into 107 laps.
Prior to the event, major news came out of prerace inspection when ThorSport driver Johnny Sauter failed inspection due to a side panel violation. As a result, Sauter lost 10 driver points and ThorSport lost 10 owner points due to an L1 penalty. His crew chief, Joe Shear Jr. was also ejected for the race and replaced by Rich Lushes. Despite the penalty, Sauter was able to keep his starting position of 13th.
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Chandler Smith drew the pole via owner points.
Stage 1: Lap 1 – Lap 20
It didn’t take long for cautions to fly in throughout the 107 lap event. Cautions flew as early as Lap 3 when the No. 14 of Trey Hutchens and the No. 00 of Josh Reaume collided with each other on the frontstretch.
The second caution flew on Lap 14 for Christian Eckes as he spun on the backstretch. One final yellow of the stage flew for the No. 30 of Brennan Poole when he spun off Turn 4.
The yellow was too late in the stage to get enough green flag laps in, therefore series officials called the stage early and ended it under yellow. Birthday boy Brett Moffitt won Stage 1. Sheldon Creed, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Derek Kraus, Austin Hill, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Zane Smith and Chandler Smith completed the top 10.
Stage 2: Lap 24 – Lap 40
Before the second stage began, Zane Smith was penalized for too many crew over the wall.
Canadian Raphael Lessard led the early laps of the second stage but ran into trouble when his No. 4 Toyota Tundra had a left rear tire go flat, forcing Lessard to pit and lose valuable track position.
However, Johnny Sauter’s strategy of not pitting under the first stage break gave him the lead on Lap 29 and his first stage win of the 2020 Truck Series season. Moffitt, Gilliland, Enfinger, Gray, Creed, Hill, Nemechek, Kligerman and Kraus were the top 10.
Stage 3: Lap 47 – Lap 107
The third and final stage was littered with yellow flags. The first fell on Lap 49 for a wreck on the frontstretch. The No. 52 of Stewart Friesen spun after contact with the No. 18 of Eckes. Drivers Matt Crafton, Ryan Truex, Ty Majeski, and David Gravel were involved in the incident. Friesen suffered the most damage and was credited with a last place finish.
Another yellow came on Lap 60 for an incident between Chandler Smith and Kentucky native Ben Rhodes. It appears the two had an incident with each other laps prior to the wreck as Rhodes would retaliate and wreck Smith going into Turn 1. As a result, Smith’s day was done and he finished 38th after starting on the pole.
One of the most notable incidents that happened in the remaining laps was a battle between the two ThorSport teammates Enfinger and Sauter. Both were battling hard for position and the lead. Coming out of Turn 2, the air got taken off Sauter’s No. 13 truck and the Wisconsin native went crashing into the wall. While the team was able to get back out on the track, Sauter finished a disappointing 16th after contending for the win late.
Two more accidents slowed the race, including one red flag that lasted nine minutes and 46 seconds.
The defining moment came for Smith after the leaders took each other out. He would take the lead and hold on for the first checkered flag of his career.
“It’s a super cool place to get one (the victory) for Chevrolet,” Smith said about winning. “This is their home place. I think any manufacturer wants to win here (Michigan). I don’t know how many times they (Chevrolet) won here in a Truck, but it’s really cool to be a part of that.”
A record 11 cautions flew for 51 laps and 17 lead changes among 13 different drivers.
Official Results following the Henry Ford Health Systems 200
- Zane Smith, led one lap
- Christian Eckes
- Tanner Gray
- Tyler Ankrum
- Todd Gilliland, led three laps
- Brett Moffitt, won Stage 1, led 20 laps
- Raphael Lessard, led four laps
- Derek Kraus
- Parker Kligerman
- David Gravel
- Ben Rhodes
- Austin Hill, led 11 laps
- Tate Fogleman
- Dawson Cram, led three laps
- Ty Majeski
- Johnny Sauter, won Stage 2, led 18 laps
- Josh Reaume, led one lap
- Codie Rohrbaugh
- Ryan Truex
- Clay Greenfield
- Tyler Hill
- Jesse Iwuji
- Matt Crafton
- Cory Roper
- John Hunter Nemechek, led two laps
- Tim Viens
- Spencer Boyd
- Jennifer Jo Cobb
- Trey Hutchens III
- Sheldon Creed, 1 lap down, led one lap
- Norm Benning, 1 lap down
- Jordan Anderson, 1 lap down
- Grant Enfinger, 2 laps down, led 38 laps
- Ray Ciccarelli, 4 laps down
- Brennan Poole, OUT, Accident
- Jeb Burton, OUT, Accident
- Austin Wayne Self, 8 laps down
- Chandler Smith, OUT, Accident
- Stewart Friesen, OUT, Accident
Up Next: The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will make their debut on the Daytona Road Course Sunday, August 16 at noon ET live on Fox Sports 1. The new venue will also mark the start of the Triple Truck Challenge where drivers have a chance to earn up to $500,000.