Ryan Preece wins truck debut to start new era at Nashville

The Camping World Truck Series returned to Nashville Superspeedway for the first time since 2011, when Austin Dillon came away the winner.

Derek Kraus, who came into the race 78 points below the cutline, dominated during Friday afternoon’s qualifying session to earn his first-career pole.

Kraus led every lap of stage one to pick up his first stage win of the 2021 season.

However, his strong day ended in sparks as during the final stage, Kraus got loose and made contact with the wall. His truck suffered major damage that forced him to retire from the race, leading to his fourth DNF of the season.

Chandler Smith, who came into the race the first driver below the playoff cutline, won the race off pit road to begin the second stage and led every lap after the restart to win stage two, his first stage win of the season. However, he slipped toward the middle of the pack in the final stage to finish 13th.

Grant Enfinger, who is not currently eligible for the playoffs since he is only running part-time for ThorSport Racing, led for most of the final stage after pitting during a caution in stage two. He was able to stretch out his fuel throughout the final stage and finished third.

Enfinger was passed with seven laps to go by Ryan Preece, who currently is a full-time driver for JTG Daugherty Racing in the Cup Series. Preece ran in his first-ever truck series race in the No. 17 car for David Gilliland Racing. Preece passed Enfinger for the lead and held on for the victory. Preece becomes the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win their debut race in the truck series.

This is Preece’s first win in the three-major NASCAR series since the 2018 race at Bristol in the Xfinity Series.

Preece’s teammate for the race, Todd Gilliland, started at the rear as his truck was not ready for qualifying and had to pass pre-race tech inspections to race. Gilliland worked his way through the track and passed Enfinger for second place with a few laps left in the race. Gilliland’s second-place finish gives him his fifth top-five finish of the season.

Zane Smith finished fourth to pick up his first top-five finish of the season.

Stewart Friesen finished fifth for his third top-five finish of the season.

John Hunter Nemechek, the points leader in the truck series, also started at the rear and worked his way for a 10th-place finish, his 10th top-10 of the season.

William Byron, who races full-time for Hendrick Motorsports, raced for Rackley WAR in the No. 27 car for his first truck series race since 2016, but had to retire his car in the second stage after his engine failed during the race.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns on Saturday, June 26 for the CRC Brackleen 150 at Pocono Raceway.

Unofficial race results:

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