Race Weekend Central

Ross Chastain Wins Darlington Truck Race In Overtime

Exactly five years to the day after his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win with Niece Motorsports, a lot has changed for Ross Chastain.

What hasn’t changed is his signature winning celebration: smashing watermelons.

“A watermelon farmer just won Darlington,” Chastain said in a post-race interview on Fox Sports 1.

Chastain won the Buckle Up South Carolina 200 at Darlington Raceway on Friday (May 10), taking the lead away from Ty Majeski on an overtime restart.

Chastain caught the attention of the racing world at Darlington back in 2018, dominating an Xfinity race for Chip Ganassi Racing before a run-in with Kevin Harvick earned the ire of the former Cup champion. Many years and rides later, a Truck victory at the historic track mattered to the now multi-time Cup Series winner.

“Grit, I don’t know…it takes [crew chief] Phil Gould, it takes Niece Motorsports,” Chastain said. “We’ve been trying to win at Darlington…this is where my career changed, for better or worse, however all this works out. That first opportunity with [Chip Ganassi Racing] and Spire to put me together with that group…It’s so cool. We won Darlington.”

Majeski took the lead from Christian Eckes with 27 laps to go and was well out front before a caution with six laps to go. Majeski won the race off pit road, but opted to restart on the outside while Chastain took the inside lane. Majeski sputtered on the restart, nearly wrecking before recovering for a fifth-place finish.

“Obviously we should have taken the bottom there,” Majeski told Fox Sports 1. “I got the lead on the bottom and got beat once restarting on the top. It’s harder to fire on the top. You need help to do it. His help formulated before mine did. I didn’t get a great launch, spun them a little bit. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Nick Sanchez won the pole but was forced to start in the rear after his Rev Racing team replaced a wheel hub on his No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado. Sanchez worked through the field and finished second, not having enough to catch Chastain at the end.

“I just needed more time,” Sanchez said. “I feel like that’s the mantra of my night, I just ran out of time.” 

See also
Nick Sanchez Wins Darlington Trucks Pole

Ben Rhodes moved above the playoff cutline with a third-place finish. Eckes, the defending race winner, led 15 laps and finished fourth, while Majeski settled for fifth after leading the field coming to the green-white-checkered overtime.

Chase Purdy, Colby Howard, Taylor Gray, Ty Dillon and Tanner Gray rounded out the top 10.

Corey Heim swept both stages and led 75 laps, but a crash with 50 laps to go erased a winning opportunity and forced him into a 28th-place finish. 

Battling for third at the start of the final stage, Dean Thompson snapped loose underneath Heim and sent both trucks crashing in front of the field. Thompson, Rajah Caruth and Matt Crafton had their trucks destroyed in the crash. Layne Riggs and Jack Wood also received damage.

“It’s certainly disappointing,” Heim said. “We made it a lot better throughout the race I thought. We got tight at the end of stage one, made it better in stage two and was looking forward to making it a little better in stage three and hopefully running away with that one. Fortunately it wasn’t that easy and we got taken out. That’s part of it.”

Heim led every lap of stage one, holding off a charging Eckes for the stage win. Majeski swiped third away from Taylor Gray at the line and Riggs rounded out the top five.

Taylor Gray pitted from the lead midway through the second stage, allowing Heim to retake the lead and sweep the stages. With fresh tires, Caruth worked his way to second place with Eckes third, Majeski fourth and Enfinger fifth.

Taylor Gray suffered damage during a run-in with Sanchez and Tyler Ankrum. Gray would repair the damage and finish eighth while Ankrum fell several laps down and finished 26th.

Kyle Busch’s first career Truck start at Darlington was over before it started. After challenging Heim for the lead on lap one, Busch spun the No. 7 Chevy off turn two on lap two, slamming the nose into the inside wall. 

Busch managed to get back on track but only briefly before cutting a tire and bringing out the second caution of the night on lap 12. After winning his previous truck start at Texas, Busch finished 32nd, his first last-place finish in 175 career Truck Series starts.

Trucks Darlington Results

The Craftsman Truck Series travels to North Wilkesboro Speedway next Saturday for the Wright Brand 250. Coverage begins on Fox Sports 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

About the author

James Krause joined Frontstretch in March 2024 as a contributor. Krause was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from Northern Illinois University. He currently works in La Crosse, Wisconsin as a local sports reporter, including short track racing. Krause is a fan of football, auto racing, music, anime and video games.

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