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Crafton holds off Eckes to break winless streak

2nd Truck race of weekend doubleheader
Saturday, July 25, 2020

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Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series e.p.t 200
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series e.p.t 200
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

After a 67-race winless streak, former NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series champion Matt Crafton earned victory in Saturday’s e.p.t. 200 at Kansas Speedway.

After taking the lead following the final restart on Lap 113 of the 134-lap event at the 1.5-mile track, Crafton, the defending series champion, never looked back, but Kyle Busch Motorsports rookie Christian Eckes didn’t make it easy on the veteran. Eckes mounted a charge with less than 10 laps remaining, getting within less than a car length of Crafton’s No. 88 ThorSport Motorsports Chevrolet before giving up in defeat.

“It’s very, very sweet,” Crafton told FS1. “Not a lot of give up in these guys … The 18 (Eckes) had a little bit of speed, he was making me nervous right there. … I drove it in too deep a couple times, slid the nose. I’d slide the nose and he’d make up ground.”

Eckes held on to finish second, with Grant Enfinger, Tanner Gray and Crafton’s teammate Ben Rhodes completing the top five in the second race of a doubleheader at Kansas for the Gander Trucks.

“I tried moving around and we sucked yesterday," said Eckes. "We were so damn bad, but Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and the guys, I can’t say enough about them. They made some really good adjustments today and we got it way better last night. P2 is still good, but of course we wish we still won. In the same aspect, from where we even started today, finishing second is still pretty close. Just have to go back and figure out what we can do better. Overall, proud of my Safelite Tundra guys.”

“I thought I got a little tight, but I got a hole in the nose and just got tight behind him (Matt Crafton).  We sucked yesterday. I can’t sugar coat it, we were terrible. Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and the guys worked really, really hard last night and this morning to get it better. We still started the race a little bit off, but the truck came to us and was perfect at the end. I just got a little tight behind him. I was good in one corner and not the other. Just need to get back to the lab and get a little better I guess.”

Lap 94 spelled disaster for a trio of GMS Racing trucks when Zane Smith made contact with teammate Tyler Ankrum at the exit of Turn 4. Ankrum lost control of his No. 26 Chevrolet, plowing into Moffitt’s No. 23 Chevrolet. The crash ended the day early for both Anrkum and Moffitt.

Sheldon Creed brought out the 10th and final caution of the race when he hit the wall at the exit of Turn 4 on Lap 107. Creed lost control of the No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet after earlier contact with the wall produced significant right-rear quarter panel and spoiler damage.

The red flag was displayed for a brief period following a Lap 83 crash with huge playoff implications involving postseason favorites Johnny Sauter, Stewart Friesen, along with Natalie Decker and Codie Rohrbaugh.

Travis Pastrana, competing in his first NASCAR national series event since the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September 2017, suffered a flat tire in the early stages of the event. During the final stage on Lap 72, Pastrana spun the No. 40 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet off of Turn 4, sliding through the infield grass. Pastrana finished 22nd.

Austin Hill, winner of Friday night’s race at Kansas, finished sixth after leading laps throughout the event.

The top 15 trucks in Saturday’s lineup were inverted based on the results from Friday night’s race, with Chase Purdy starting on the pole. NASCAR Next’s Smith won Stage 1 and 2 in the No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet, finishing ninth.

Saturday’s Gander Trucks race was realigned from Chicagoland Speedway due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gander Trucks will return to the track on Friday, Aug. 7 at Michigan International Speedway (6 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCA Radio).

Results

FinStrNo.DriverTeamLapsStatusLed
11288Matt CraftonFord134Running23
2318Christian Eckes #Safelite AutoGlass Toyota134Running6
31398Grant EnfingerFarm Paint Curb Records Ford134Running0
41815Tanner Gray #Ford/Ford Performance Ford134Running3
5999Ben RhodesTenda Heal Ford134Running1
61516Austin HillUnited Rentals Toyota134Running19
71119Derek Kraus #ENEOS Toyota134Running0
8251Brandon Jones(i)Delta Faucet/Menards Toyota134Running0
91021Zane Smith #MRC Construction Chevrolet134Running50
10124Chase PurdyBAMABUGGIES.com Chevrolet134Running0
11164Raphael Lessard #Mobil 1 Toyota134Running0
12430Brennan Poole(i)RememberEveryoneDeployed.org Toyota134Running0
131722Austin Wayne SelfGO TEXAN/AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet134Running0
142911Spencer Davis #Polar Bear Coolers Toyota134Running0
15303Jordan AndersonBommarito.com/BG Services Chevrolet134Running0
161956Tyler HillHill Motorsports Chevrolet134Running0
17222Tate Fogleman #Solid Rock Carriers Chevrolet134Running0
182320Spencer BoydSteelesafe Shelters Chevrolet134Running0
19250Ryan Huff556 Body Ops Toyota133Running0
20638Todd GillilandSpeedco Ford133Running0
212697Robby Lyons II(i)Sunwest Construction Chevrolet133Running0
223440Travis PastranaPlan B Sales Chevrolet132Running0
233733Kevin DonahueFirst Responder Racing Toyota130Running0
243249Ray CiccarelliCMI Motorsports Chevrolet130Running0
25356Norm BenningH & H Transport Chevrolet129Running0
2682Sheldon CreedChevy Accessories Chevrolet118DVP18
271423Brett MoffittDestiny Homes Chevrolet94Accident11
283326Tyler AnkrumLiuna! Chevrolet92Accident0
29249Codie RohrbaughGrant County Mulch Chevrolet91DVP0
30545Ty Majeski #Studio 45 Tavern Chevrolet90DVP0
312868Clay GreenfieldRackley Roofing Toyota90DVP0
323110Jennifer Jo CobbFastener Supply Company Chevrolet87DVP0
33713Johnny SauterVivitar Ford83Accident0
342752Stewart FriesenHalmar Racing To Beat Hunger Toyota82Accident3
352144Natalie DeckerRuedebusch Development Chevrolet82Accident0
36204Cory RoperCarQuest Ford77Accident0
373628Bryan DauzatFDNY Racing/American Genomics Chevrolet61Electrical0

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