MADISON, Ill. — It was Zane Smith’s race to lose.
He stayed out to take the lead in the final 30 laps of the Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Even with four new tires, Grant Enfinger wasn’t eating into his lead. Smith’s car was just too strong on medium to long runs.
But then Lawless Alan threw a monkey wrench into the runaway operation with a spin with 10 laps to go.
Now it’s anyone’s race.
With six to go, Ty Majeski powers off Turn 2 and pulls inside of Smith.
Even down the backstretch.
Even entering Turn 3.
“Low air pressures and we had the splitter bent, got into Turn 3 obviously trying to get ahead of the No. 38, hit the splitter, had to check up, and went up the racetrack,” Majeski said. “Obviously when you go up the racetrack, his side took the air from mine, and I went around and wrecked us both.”
As a result, Enfinger passed underneath the wreck to retake the lead and drove onto victory.
“I don’t know if we were just on the limit right there on the end, but I think Ty just did what I did last year to Zane,” Enfinger said.
Smith spoke to Majeski after the race, both to see if someone got into him and just what his plan was.
“I saw an interview earlier where at this track he has more experience here than any others,” he said. “He still races like it’s his first time here. We see time and time again that the guy on the bottom has to be a little conservative, and that’s why the leaders always choose the top.”
Ultimately, it doesn’t hurt either Smith or Majeski, points-wise. Majeski leaves Gateway second, one point behind Corey Heim (who missed Saturday’s race with an illness). Meanwhile, Smith remains fourth, with two wins to book his ticket to the playoffs.
It doesn’t ease the heartbreaking loss for Smith, however.
“I mean, I kind of did it to myself staying in this series,” he said. “It is pretty unbelievable how scary some of these guys are. We’ve just had, now, four bad weeks – some self-inflicted, but our day obviously snowballed once we get around some of these guys. It’s just frustrating.”