A year after achieving his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Nashville Superspeedway, Ryan Preece shined under the lights at Music City for a second consecutive season after surviving the late chaos while on worn tires to win the Rackley Roofing 200 on Friday, June 24.
The 31-year-old Preece from Berlin, Connecticut, led three times for a race-high 74 of 150-scheduled laps, including the final 49, as he had enough horsepower through three restarts to survive the chaos and fend off late challenges from both Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar under the final five laps to collect his second career victory in the series and in his sixth Truck start of the 2022 season.
With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Friday, Ryan Preece, who won last year’s Truck event at Nashville, claimed his first pole position in the series after posting a pole-winning lap at 160.925 mph in 29.753 seconds. Joining him on the front row was Zane Smith, who posted his best qualifying lap at 160.386 mph in 29.853 seconds.
When the green flag waved and the race started, Zane Smith and Preece dueled for the lead entering the first turn until Smith gained the advantage on the inside line entering the backstretch to assume the lead as he went on to lead the first lap. With Smith leading ahead of Preece, Corey Heim was in third ahead of Carson Hocevar and Stewart Friesen, who had Chandler Smith, Matt DiBenedetto and Derek Kraus pursuing him. By then, Tanner Gray, who made an unscheduled pit stop, was penalized for fueling prior to the green flag, where he was pinned a lap behind the field.
Seven laps into the event and with Zane Smith still leading, the first caution of the event flew when Matt Crafton made contact with rookie Jack Wood and sent Wood’s No. 24 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet Silverado RST into the outside wall between Turns 3 and 4 before he slid below the apron and forced the field to scatter to avoid being hit.
When the race proceeded under green on Lap 13, the field fanned out entering the first two turns as Zane Smith retained the lead followed by Preece, Hocevar, Heim, Friesen and Chandler Smith.
Nearing the Lap 20 mark, the second caution of the event flew when Camden Murphy spun and wrecked his No. 30 Rowdy Energy Toyota Tundra TRD Pro in Turn 2. At the time of caution, Zane Smith was leading ahead of Preece followed by Heim, Hocevar and Friesen while Chandler Smith, Derek Kraus, Matt DiBenedetto, Ty Majeski and Christian Eckes were in the top 10.
With the race restarting under green on Lap 24, Zane Smith gained another strong advantage on the outside lane to retain the lead as Preece, Heim and Friesen engaged in a three-wide battle for the runner-up spot with Preece prevailing in his No. 17 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford F-150. Soon after, Heim moved his No. 51 JBL Toyota Tundra TRD Pro into third place while Friesen settled in fourth place in front of Chandler Smith, Kraus, Hocevar and DiBenedetto.
Through the first 30 laps of the event, Zane Smith was leading by more than a second-and-a-half over Preece while Heim, Friesen, Chandler Smith, Kraus, Hocevar, Ty Majeski, DiBenedetto and Christian Eckes were in the top 10. By then, John Hunter Nemechek was in 11th ahead of Ben Rhodes, Tyler Ankrum, Grant Enfinger and Crafton while Hailie Deegan, Todd Bodine, Chase Purdy, Parker Kligerman and Colby Howard were in the top 20.
Ten laps later, Zane Smith continued to lead by more than a second over Preece while Heim Friesen and Chandler Smith remained in the top five. Meanwhile, Kraus and Hocevar battled for sixth place with the latter prevailing.
When the first stage concluded on Lap 45, Zane Smith cruised his No. 38 Speedco Ford F-150 to his sixth stage victory of the season. Preece settled in second followed by Heim, Friesen, Chandler Smith, Hocevar, Kraus, Majeski, DiBenedetto and Eckes were scored in the top 10. Behind, Colby Howard spun while in 18th place, but he was able to nurse his truck back to pit road under caution.
Under the stage break, the leaders led by Zane Smith pitted and Majeski emerged with the lead following a two-tire pit stop followed by Smith, Preece, Friesen, Heim and Hocevar. Following the pit stops, Jesse Little was penalized for an uncontrolled tire violation.
The second stage started on Lap 53 as Majeski and Zane Smith occupied the front row. At the start and with the field fanning out to multiple lanes entering the first turn, Zane Smith used the inside lane and four fresh tires to his advantage as he reassumed the lead followed by Preece while Majeski fell back to fourth behind Heim.
Nearing the Lap 60 mark, Colby Howard got into the outside wall entering Turn 3 after he cut a tire. Despite the incident, Howard was able to nurse his truck back to pit road and the race proceeded under green. By then, Zane Smith was leading by three-tenths of a second over Preece followed by Heim, Eckes and Chandler Smith while Majeski fell back to sixth ahead of Nemechek, Friesen, Hocevar and Kraus.
Then on Lap 69, the caution flew when Hocevar and Nemechek made contact entering the backstretch, which sent Nemechek’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro spinning through the backstretch grass. The incident occurred while both were battling for eighth place. During the caution period, some like Hocevar, Hailie Deegan, DiBenedetto, Kris Wright, Jesse Little, Stefan Parsons, Kligerman, Tyler Ankrum, Rhodes and Majeski pitted while the rest led by Zane Smith remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Hocevar was penalized for speeding while exiting pit road.
When the race restarted under green on Lap 73, Preece received a push from Eckes on the inside lane to move into the lead ahead of Zane Smith as the field behind jumbled for positions. As Preece maintained the lead ahead of Zane Smith, Heim and Eckes battled for third in front of Friesen while Bodine battled Kraus for sixth ahead of Chandler Smith, Grant Enfinger and Rhodes.
By Lap 80, Preece was leading by six-tenths of a second over Zane Smith while Heim, Eckes, Friesen, Kraus, Bodine, Rhodes, Chandler Smith and Enfinger were in the top 10. Behind, Majeski was in 11th ahead of Crafton, Max Gutierrez, Ankrum, Chase Purdy, Nemechek, Hocevar, DiBenedetto, Kligerman and Dean Thompson.
Ten laps later, Preece remained as the leader by more than a second over Zane Smith while Heim, Eckes, and Friesen remained in the top five.
When the second stage concluded on Lap 95, Preece, who encountered lapped traffic, claimed his third stage victory of the season. Zane Smith settled in second followed by Heim, Eckes, Friesen, Kraus, Rhodes, Majeski, Bodine and Enfinger.
Under the stage break, the leaders led by Preece pitted and Parker Kligerman exited with the top spot following a two-tire pit stop followed by Preece, Eckes, Friesen, Stef Parsons and Rhodes. Following the pit stops, Chandler Smith was penalized for removing equipment out of his pit stall.
With 48 laps remaining, the final stage started. At the start, Preece took off with the lead on the inside lane and on four fresh tires followed by Eckes and Friesen while the field fanned out and stacked up around Kligerman, who was struggling to keep pace, entering the first two turns.
Eight laps later, Preece was leading by more than a second over Eckes while Friesen, Enfinger, and Zane Smith were in the top five. Rhodes was in sixth ahead of teammate Majeski, Hocevar, Heim and Kligerman while Crafton, Kraus, DiBenedetto, Max Gutierrez and Hailie Deegan were in the top 15.
Then with 31 laps remaining, the caution flew when Bodine spun his No. 62 Camping World Toyota Tundra TRD Pro through the frontstretch. During the caution period, some led by Hocevar pitted while the rest led by Preece remained on the track.
With 26 laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Preece and Eckes dueled for the lead and the field fanned out entering the first two turns as both Rhodes and Chandler Smith nearly got turned sideways through the frontstretch grass.
Three laps later and with the field jostling and scrambling for positions amid those with fresh tires compared to those on old tires, the caution returned when a four-wide action between Majeski, Heim, Enfinger and DiBenedetto that resulted in the latter three colliding and wrecking hard against one another and into the Turn 3 outside wall, leaving DiBenedetto, Enfinger and Heim with demolished trucks.
When the field attempted to restart with 15 laps remaining, the caution quickly returned when Deegan spun into Howard through the frontstretch as the field fanned out to avoid hitting Deegan.
Down to the final 10 laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, Preece took off with the lead followed by Eckes and a hard-charging Zane Smith as the field fanned out and battled behind. Behind, Bodine scrapped the wall as sparks flew out of his truck, but the race remained under green as Zane Smith started his bid to challenge Preece for the win. Behind, Hocevar moved up to third while Majeski and Eckes were in the top five.
With five laps remaining, Preece remained as the leader by nearly a second over Zane Smith followed by Hocevar, Majeski and Eckes while Friesen, Max Gutierrez, Ankrum, Crafton and Kligerman were in the top 10.
When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Preece, who was being pressured by both Zane Smith and Hocevar under the final five laps, retained the lead by two-tenths of a second with Hocevar trailing close behind. In Turn 1, Zane Smith attempted to make his move beneath Preece, but Preece threw a block and Hocevar was able to draw himself alongside Smith’s truck, which lost momentum entering the backstretch, in a bid for the runner-up spot. While Hocevar battled Smith, Preece was able to run away from his challengers and cycle back to the finish line for his first checkered flag of the 2022 season and for his second consecutive Gibson guitar trophy.
In addition to claiming his second consecutive victory at Nashville, Preece claimed his second Camping World Truck Series career win in his eighth series start, the fourth career victory for David Gilliland Racing and the second consecutive victory for DGR’s No. 17 Ford F-150 team. As an added bonus, Preece claimed the second of three $50,000 bonuses from the Triple Truck Challenge.
“I don’t ever like [the battle] to be that close,” Smith said on FS1. “My hats off to [David Gilliland Racing] and this Hunt Brothers Ford F-150. We’re getting a second guitar! I might have to start a band! I like it. That sounds good. I just want you guys to know [that] a lot of this is built in the shop. The speed is built in the shop and these guys work their tails off, and I know what it takes to win races. They gave me a phenomenal race car, so just proud to be the one holding the steering wheel. The biggest thing I had was clean air and to put as much dirty air on [Zane Smith] as possible. I wasn’t giving up.”
Behind, Zane Smith edged Hocevar to claim the runner-up spot while Majeski and Friesen finished in the top five.
“Clean air [was what I needed,” Smith said. “Ryan just did a really good job of shutting my air off there. Just really, really though to pass. Once we had that really bad [pit] stop, [I] lost 10 spots, I was worried. To battle back there and contend for a win says a lot about my SpeedCo Ford F-150 and my Front Row [Motorsports] team. Just man, another fast Ford. Just not quite enough.”
“I thought it was just gonna be like our year,” Hocevar said. “We run really good and have something happen, but I’m tired. I’m actually wore out. I haven’t really got to work out or do anything, so I’m a little winded, but the No. 42 truck was pretty good. We struggled to find the balance there and finally hit it almost too late. It’s tough. It is so hard to win these races and hard to get passed. Clean air is so important. I had twenty-something lap better tires than [the leaders]…My best chance was to push [Smith] and let him take the shot. I didn’t have enough momentum built up when [Smith and Preece] got close and lost their momentum. Finally, we finished, probably, where we deserved to finish.”
Ecks, Ankrum, Max Gutierrez, Nemechek and Crafton completed the top 10 on the track. Notably, Rhodes finished 12th behind Kraus, Chandler Smith settled in 15th, Kligerman ended up in 20th and Bodine concluded his night in 27th, one spot ahead of Deegan.
There were seven lead changes for four different leaders. The race featured eight cautions for 43 laps.
With two races remaining of the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular-season stretch, Zane Smith leads the regular-season standings by 21 points over John Hunter Nemechek, 30 over Ben Rhodes, 35 over Chandler Smith and 53 over both Stewart Friesen and Ty Majeski.
Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes, John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith and Stewart Friesen are tentatively locked into the 2022 Truck Playoffs based on winning at least once throughout the season while Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger, and Matt Crafton are above the top-10 cutline based on points. Derek Kraus trails the top-10 cutline to the Playoffs by 29 points, Tyler Ankrum trails by 50, Matt DiBenedetto trails by 62, Tanner Gray trails by 70 and Chase Purdy trails by 109.
1. Ryan Preece, 74 laps led, Stage 2 winner
2. Zane Smith, 70 laps led, Stage 1 winner
3. Carson Hocevar
4. Ty Majeski, four laps led
5. Stewart Friesen
6. Christian Eckes
7. Tyler Ankrum
8. Max Gutierrez
9. John Hunter Nemechek
10. Matt Crafton
11. Derek Kraus
12. Ben Rhodes
13. Chase Purdy
14. Dean Thompson
15. Chandler Smith
16. Colby Howard
17. Kris Wright
18. Blaine Perkins
19. Jesse Little
20. Parker Kligerman, two laps led
21. Kaden Honeycutt
22. Stefan Parsons
23. Timmy Hill
24. Lawless Alan
25. Spencer Boyd
26. Nick Leitz
27. Todd Bodine, two laps down
28. Hailie Deegan, six laps down
29. Chris Hacker, six laps down
30. Tanner Gray, seven laps down
31. Matt DiBenedetto – OUT, Accident
32. Grant Enfinger – OUT, Accident
33. Corey Heim – OUT, Accident
34. Camden Murphy – OUT, Accident
35. Jack Wood – OUT, Accident
36. Chase Janes – OUT, Rear gear
The 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season will next continue to Lexington, Ohio, to compete for the first time at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which will also mark the third and final Triple Truck Challenge event of the season. The event is scheduled to occur on July 9 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1.