Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: Rowdy Emerges with Six-Shooters at Texas

In A Nutshell

Kyle Busch was not going to be denied in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, despite the best efforts of Corey Heim and Christian Eckes.

Busch held off Heim to win his second Truck Series race of the season and the 66th of his career. Busch had to survive a series of late restarts, including the final one in which he wasn’t the leader. Despite leading the most laps and sweeping the stages, the Truckers made him earn this one.

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Kyle Busch Hangs On for Truck Series Win at Texas

Heim had to settle for second, with Nick Sanchez in third. Eckes faded to fourth despite leading on the final restart with 10 laps to go. Zane Smith rounded out the top five.

The Top Truckers at Texas Motor Speedway

Winner, Stage One and Two Winner, Most Laps Led (90 of 167 laps): Kyle Busch
Polesitter: Nick Sanchez
Rookie of the Race: Conner Jones
Biggest Mover: Tanner Gray (started 34th, finished eighth)

Top Storylines of the Race

  • It only took a lap and a half before a multi-truck accident occurred. Thad Moffitt had an apparent steering issue, causing his No. 46 to veer left and get clobbered by Tyler Ankrum, who had to start in the rear after crashing in practice and moving to a backup. Moffitt then careened into the No. 20 of Memphis Villarreal, who couldn’t sneak through on the outside and also suffered heavy damage. All three drivers were done for the night.
  • Following a Rajah Caruth spin on lap 12, the race went green, save for stage breaks, all the way until lap 130, when Layne Riggs crashed at the tail end of a green flag pit cycle to bring out a late caution.
  • The usual Truck Series late-race meltdown began to emerge with a couple of late-race cautions, but luckily the racing didn’t get disrespectful and any contact late in the race was mostly incidental.

The Winning Move

The stats will show that Busch absolutely dominated the race, and while that’s true, the cautions at the end of the race sure made him work for it.

At the time of the Riggs caution, two drivers had yet to make their final pit stop: Smith and Lawless Alan. Plus, several drivers were trapped at least one lap down, causing only 16 drivers to take the restart on the lead lap.

Then Kris Wright and Stewart Friesen collided to bring out a caution just four laps later. When the race restarted with 16 laps to go, there was another quick caution on the same lap for a multi-truck accident that ended Grant Enfinger‘s night.

During that near-lap of racing, Eckes was able to get to Busch’s outside and was deemed the leader when the caution came out.

When the race restarted for the final time with 10 laps to go, Eckes was able to clear the field. But Busch quickly tracked him back down just two laps later, passing him with eight laps to go and never looking back.

Both Heim and Sanchez made their way around Eckes as well after Eckes’ No. 19 slipped up the track shortly after losing the lead.

Championship Rundown

No one new joins Sanchez, Caruth, Eckes and Heim in the playoffs. Six spots are still up for grabs with nine races left in the regular season.

Ankrum’s involvement in the lap 2 crash is a huge blow for him in points, as he has been a threat for the regular season championship since the beginning of the season. He falls to sixth as Eckes takes over the point lead by two points over Heim. Ty Majeski is third, just 12 points back of Eckes.

Down at the cut line, Enfinger holds the 10th and final playoff spot by just five points over Daniel Dye. With nine races left, the field is still far from set, but some semblance of a playoff picture is starting to take shape.

Rookie Report

Riggs was on pace to finish around sixth or seventh before encountering several issues in the final 55 laps that saw him finish the race behind the wall. With Moffitt and Villarreal crashed out on lap 2, Jones ends up with Rookie of the Race almost by default.

In his return to the seat after missing the last two races, Jones was the only rookie to stay out of trouble, and in doing so, keeps his Rookie of the Year hopes alive. While 18th isn’t the greatest finish, just finishing the race keeps him in the hunt for ROTY as a part-timer.

No. 20 – Memphis Villarreal (34th)
No. 38 – Layne Riggs (31st)
No. 46 – Thad Moffitt (33rd)
No. 66 – Conner Jones (18th)

One Big Takeaway From This Race

Even with a driver change, Henderson Motorsports is still one of the biggest little teams in the series.

After spending the last six seasons with Parker Kligerman (and one-off races with Sam Mayer and Sean Hingorani) in a run that included two wins, the team brought Stefan Parsons on board for the 2024 season.

So far, the No. 75 team hasn’t missed a beat.

Parsons has made four starts so far this season, finishing in the top-20 in all of them. At Daytona International Speedway and Texas, Parsons finished in the top 10. And neither finish was by luck either. At Daytona, Parsons was in a late crash and rallied back to sixth. As for Texas, Parsons took advantage of the late cautions and straight up raced his way to ninth.

Not only does this show that Henderson hasn’t lost all the momentum it gained with Kligerman, it shows that Parsons has talent that hasn’t been realized yet. The son of Phil Parsons and nephew of the late Benny Parsons hasn’t really found himself in competitive equipment at any point in his career.

Henderson is really no different. However, Parsons has continued the standard of outperforming the No. 75 ride. If the pace continues for both Henderson and Parsons, could the two team up for a full-time run come 2025? Or will Parsons find another ride that is possibly more competitive than what he’s normally driven a la Josh Williams in the NASCAR Xfinity Series?

If there’s one underdog to watch throughout the rest of 2024, it’s the part-time No. 75 team based out of Abingdon, Va.

See also
Lawless Alan Finishes 11th, Continues to Show Improvement

Talkin’ Truckers

Busch celebrates NASCAR career win No. 231:

Ankrum and Moffitt give their sides of the lap 2 accident:

Enfinger explains what happened on the restart with 16 laps to go:

“Probably the worst race of my career.” – Caruth disappointed with his night despite rebounding 12th:

Dye caps a career-night with a sixth-place finish:

Sanchez, Smith and Heim each summarize their nights:

Friesen finished 13th after late-race contact with Wright:

Alan, Gray and Parsons break down their nights, with Alan in particular benefitting from the caution just before the end of the green flag pit cycle:

Paint Scheme of the Race

It was incredibly hard to choose one single paint scheme to highlight, so we’re highlighting two.

In his first start since Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch returned to the track with an early nominee for Truck Series paint scheme of the year. Hell, maybe even firesuit of the year too.

Busch and Spire Motorsports partnered with Realtree for Texas, combining camo and bright green to form a contradictory yet awesome paint scheme that made Busch stand out under the lights.

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Jeffrey Earnhardt Running Truck Race at Charlotte for MBM

Meanwhile, Friesen’s No. 52 wasn’t it’s typical blue-and-red self in the Lone Star State, instead partnering with Chili’s to bring fans a truck that is literally the Chili’s menu.

Chili’s originally partnered with Corey Lajoie in the NASCAR Cup Series for the Daytona 500. This time, it returned to sponsor Friesen, and instead of a regular paint scheme like it did with Lajoie, it decided to put its whole menu all over the truck.

Yes, the entire menu is on there, spread all throughout Friesen’s truck.

Honestly, Friesen’s No. 52 looks more camouflaged than Busch’s No. 7 with the way his scheme is designed.

I wonder if anyone decided to go to Chili’s after the race. If so, I wonder if they already knew what they wanted thanks to Friesen’s No. 52.

Next Stop

From the heart of Texas to the Heartland of Kansas.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has a two-week rest before heading to Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 4. Enfinger is the defending winner of the spring race.

Coverage for the Heart of America 200 will begin at approximately 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. FOX Sports 1 once again will carry the television broadcast, while the Motor Racing Network continues it’s season-long radio coverage of the Truck Series.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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