Race Weekend Central

Tracking the Trucks: Truck No. 2 Gets Win No. 2 in Milestone Race for Truck Series

In A Nutshell

In a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race that devolved into fuel mileage and varying pit strategies, it was Nick Sanchez who came out on top, taking home a rather surprising win at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday (May 24).

Sanchez took the lead with nine laps to go and had to hold off Corey Heim to take home his first win since the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Sanchez also pockets an additional $50,000 courtesy of the Triple Truck Challenge, of which Charlotte is the first race.

See also
Nick Sanchez Wins Truck Race in Charlotte

Heim was by far the most dominant truck of the night (no surprise there) and finished second, but was later disqualified after NASCAR officials found three loose lug nuts on his No. 11.

The Top Truckers at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Winner: Nick Sanchez
Polesitter, Stage 2 Winner: Tanner Gray
Stage 1 Winner: Kaden Honeycutt
Most Laps Led (72 of 134 laps): Corey Heim
Biggest Mover: Christian Eckes (started 35th, finished 10th net 25 spots)
Rookie of the Race: Connor Mosack

Note: Heim swept the stages, but due to his DQ, he loses his stage wins. Honeycutt and Gray finished second in the stages, so they move up to the stage winners.

Top Storylines of the Race

  • Justin Carroll returned to the track after withdrawing from the race at North Wilkesboro Speedway due to illness. However, the No. 90 was one of two drivers, along with Jennifer Jo Cobb, to fail to make the field. Carroll has now failed to qualify in eight of the 15 races he and his family-owned team have attempted (that’s including his North Wilkesboro withdrawal).
  • It was a historically bad qualifiying session for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, as Tyler Ankrum, Christian Eckes, and Daniel Dye all started in the last three positions on the grid. Ankrum spun on his qualifying lap, Eckes did not take a lap after a practice incident, and Dye had a hung throttle issue. The team’s fourth truck, the No. 91 of Jack Wood, was the only one able to get a clean lap in, and he qualified eighth.
  • Gray started on pole and led twice for 11 laps, fresh off of his first career ARCA Menards Series win earlier in the afternoon. Gray was largely the third-best truck, behind Heim and Honeycutt, but a late near-spin relegated him to 17th in the final running order.
  • After a quiet first two stages, the final stage started off with a multi-truck crash when Ankrum was turned into turn 3, sending his No. 18 sliding up the track into the path of Thad Moffitt, who t-boned Ankrum. In avoidance of Ankrum, Keith McGee swerved down the track into the path of Jeffrey Earnhardt (making his first Truck Series start in 13 years and MBM Motorsports’ first Truck Series start in 10 years), sending both into the outside wall. All four trucks were done for the night.
  • Matt Crafton brought out the second caution for cause after cutting a tire and smacking the wall in turn 4. In a season that hasn’t gone to Crafton’s liking, the crash only further sets the No. 88 team behind.

The Winning Move

Following the caution for the multi-truck wreck, the field was largely split on strategy. Some came down pit road early, including Eckes, in hopes of stretching the fuel over nearly the entire final stage.

When the caution came out for the Crafton accident, most of the rest of the leaders, save for Chase Purdy, came down pit road for a little bit more comfortability in fuel mileage. Purdy assumed the lead, but was quickly passed by Eckes, who held the lead for most of the second half of the final stage. Meanwhile, Heim had been mired in traffic after the jack broke on his most recent pit stop.

That left Honeycutt with a prime opportunity as the first truck with the best fuel situation. He quickly ran down Eckes and Purdy as they fought for the lead, then got caught trying to pass Purdy, allowing Eckes to open the gap up. Finally, Honeycutt was able to get around Purdy when the latter scrubbed the wall. Unfortunately, the No. 77 ended up bringing the caution out and bunched the field up.

When Honeycutt brought the field down pit road for the final stop of the night, Eckes stayed out. Unfortunately, Honeycutt had his second pit road issue of the night (he had previously pulled a gas can out of his pit box) when the rear air hose had an issue. That effectively ended any chance for him to earn his first career win.

Heim also had a second issue on pit road when his crew couldn’t get all his lug nuts tight before he took off – an issue that ultimately got him DQ’ed. That left Eckes and Stefan Parsons on the front row for the final restart, but Sanchez quickly found his way around both drivers. As Eckes faded back, Heim found himself second, but Sanchez was able to effectively aero-block the No. 11 for the final laps to win his second career race.

Championship Rundown

Nobody new locks into the playoffs by virtue of a win. With five races left until the playoffs and six spots available, that means one spot will be decided via points. As it stands, Ty Majeski would hold that last playoff spot (assuming the next five races sees five different new winners) by 35 points over Taylor Gray.

Meanwhile, Heim’s DQ allows Eckes to break open his regular season championship lead, as he now leads the No. 11 by 30 points. As drivers can only score a maximum of 60 points per race, Heim has a pretty substantial hole to climb out of, given that he’s already half a race behind. Sanchez sits third, 50 points back. All three drivers with more than one win this season sit first through third.

At the cut line, Ben Rhodes sits on the bubble, but now the gap has expanded to a whopping 32 points over Stewart Friesen, who takes over 11th place following Crafton’s crash and his own runner-up finish.

A maximum of 300 points are still on the line leading up to the playoffs, so unless you’re one of the four drivers with a win, no one should be resting easy right now.

Rookie Report

I’m not sure where he came from or what Spire Motorsports did to his truck, but Connor Mosack came out to play all night against the full-timers. Mosack’s night didn’t get off to a hot start, as a brake issue in the ARCA race ended his night before it really began.

But in the Truck Series, Mosack was a regular in the top 10 thanks to his seventh-place starting position, and at times was challenging for positions as high as second. Eventually, Mosack came home eighth (ninth before Heim’s DQ), earning him Rookie of the Race in his fifth Truck Series start.

No. 7 – Connor Mosack (eighth)
No. 20 – Memphis Villarreal (29th)
No. 38 – Layne Riggs (27th)
No. 46 – Thad Moffitt (33rd)
No. 66 – Conner Jones (11th)
No. 90 – Justin Carroll (failed to qualify)

One Big Takeaway From This Race

The race marked the 700th start for the Truck Series.

700.

That’s a big number. In the grand scheme of NASCAR, it isn’t that big, as both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series have many, many more races under their belts. But the fact that a racing series around pickup trucks has made it to start No. 700 is wild to think about.

Not only that, it’s become the third tier of a multi-tier empire that NASCAR has built over its 76 year history. And not only was this start No. 700, it also comes in the series’ 30th anniversary. Start No. 800 (assuming the schedule doesn’t change in number) will come in the 18th race of the 2028 season.

Math was never my strong sui, but by my calculations (again, assuming the number of races on the schedule never changes), it will be 13 seasons until we see the series 1000th start – during the series’ 43rd season of competition in 2017.

Longevity is rare. So enjoy this milestone, because it doesn’t come around often.

But would you believe me if I told you that the sanctioning body isn’t the only one celebrating 700 starts?

Chris Showalter is the truck chief on Sanchez’s No. 2, and he is also celebrating his 700th Truck Series start. That’s right, Showalter is the only person (to public knowledge) that has worked every single NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

To celebrate such an occasion, Showalter was presented with a special graphic that was also placed on the side of Sanchez’s No. 2 truck.

And fittingly, Sanchez went out and won the race for him as a nice present. Not just for his milestone anniversary, but also his birthday.

As I said, longevity is rare. Congratulations, Chris.

And here’s to 700 more Truck Series races.

Talkin’ Truckers

Rev Racing is “feeling good” after Sanchez’s victory:

Sanchez, Friesen, Grant Enfinger (third), Matt Mills (fourth), Jake Garcia (sixth), and Mosack (eighth) all recap their nights:

Heim (before his DQ) said the race got away from him after pit road issues:

Honeycutt vows to return to Charlotte and “claim what’s ours” after missing out on his first career win:

Ankrum, Moffitt, McGee and Earnhardt all react to what they saw in their multi-truck crash to begin the final stage:

Paint Scheme of the Race

Much like choosing the best throwback at Darlington Raceway, choosing the best patriotic scheme on Memorial Day weekend is extremely difficult, as several teams remix their normal schemes with patriotic colors. Other teams decide to just unveil special sponsors with completely new paint schemes.

This week, why not give the best-looking paint scheme to No. 1?

While Destiny Homes is a new sponsor for Brett Moffitt this season, his truck was decorated with military green and white, with a black number to make sure he stood out.

There are two ways patriotic schemes are normally done: Red, white and blue colors, or military colors (green, camo, etc.). TRICON Garage chose the latter, and it made Moffitt’s truck look absolutely beautiful in the Charlotte lights.

Next Stop

Meet me in St. Louis.

The Craftsman Truck Series heads to World Wide Technology Raceway for its annual trip to Gateway on June 1. The race serves as a de facto doubleheader with the Xfinity Series, which is competing at Portland International Raceway later in the afternoon. Enfinger is the defending winner of the race, while Sanchez has a chance to capture $150,000 should he win a second Triple Truck Challenge race.

Coverage for the Toyota 200 Presented by CK Power begins on Saturday, June 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET. For the first time this season, the Truck Series’ television coverage shifts away from FOX Sports 1, instead airing on FOX itself (check your local listings). Meanwhile, Motor Racing Network continues its season-long radio coverage of the Truck Series.

About the author

Frontstretch.com

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. 

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

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