After a plethora of wrecks and cautions among potential playoff contenders, Matt Crafton would come out ahead and collect the win in the second slate of the doubleheader at Kansas Speedway Saturday afternoon.
The win locks Crafton into the playoffs. The win also nets Crafton his first win since July 19, 2017 at Eldora Speedway.
While Chase Purdy started on the pole, Brandon Jones would briefly take the lead through the first two turns until Christian Eckes would overtake him on the backstretch on lap one. Zane Smith, however, would ride the bumper and eventually take the inside lane on turn two and three to overtake Eckes on lap seven.
Smith would shoot ahead to a second-plus lead over the runner-up and would hold the distance through the completion of stage one. The stage win for the 21-year-old would be his second on the season.
While Ben Rhodes would win the battle off pit road, Austin Hill would take the lead from him on the restart. Hill would only be able to hold off Smith for three laps, as the No. 21 for GMS Racing would retake the lead.
A Bryan Dauzat caution, however, would prevent Smith from rocketing ahead to a lengthy lead. The restart with 14 to go in the stage, however, would see Smith shoot ahead with the lead and hold it once more to pick up his third stage win on the season and second stage win on the day.
Stewart Friesen would win the race off pit road and would start at the top until Crafton and Brett Moffitt would jockey and take control of the lead. Sheldon Creed would overtake both on lap 72.
A spin from Travis Pastrana on the front stretch would pack the field together once more. However, Derek Kraus and Corey Roper would get trapped in the field and spin out on lap 77.
While the restart would come on lap 83, a big wreck would occur simultaneously after, as Clay Greenfield would get spun and would then involve Friesen, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Natalie Decker, Johnny Sauter, Spencer Davis, Robby Lyons, Tanner Gray, Ty Majeski and Codie Rohrbaugh.
After the red and yellow flag were both lifted, Creed would again shoot ahead on the inside to claim the lead. Tyler Ankrum and Brett Moffitt would get together to bring out another caution.
After a brief side-by-side battle on the restart with 34 to go, Hill would clear Creed and claim the lead. However, Creed would lose his bumper and would bring out another caution.
After the restart, Crafton and Eckes would battle for the lead. The former would overtake the latter and would hold him off to claim the victory.
Eckes would finish second. It is Eckes’ third top-10 finish in four races.
Rookie Tanner Gray scored his first career top-five finish with a fourth-place run.
Smith would be the highest Chevrolet finisher of the day, as he would finish ninth. Purdy, meanwhile, would finish 10th. For Purdy, the finish is his first career top-10 finish in the truck series and the best truck finish in his career.
The Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will return to racing at Michigan International Speedway Aug. 7.
Full race results: