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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Nick Sanchez Earns Hard Fought Podium

Nick Sanchez battles Stewart Friesen during the Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

MADISON, Ill. – One week after his second career win, Nick Sanchez just seemed destined to finish third at World Wide Technology Raceway.

On paper it was that simple- the sophomore started third, finished third in both stages and finished the Toyota 200 in third.

However, a lot happened along the way.

Sanchez had lost ground in the final stage before benefiting from a late caution.

He marched all the way up from ninth before the caution to third after` the final 23-lap run, a couple laps away from making a charge on Christian Eckes for second.

While he believes he could have gotten by Eckes, Sanchez knows he was not getting to race winner Corey Heim.

“I had fresher tires,” Sanchez said. “I think I could have gotten to second and I would’ve ran out of time to catch the No. 11. Pretty bummed because I feel like I had just as good of speed as them.”

Sanchez spent most of the day in the second tier of drivers, behind the dominant trucks of Heim, Eckes and Ty Majeski.

Differing strategies allowed Sanchez to lead 10 laps on the day, as he spent a lot of the race battling drivers like Ben Rhodes and Tanner Gray.

Nick Sanchez has run seventh or better in the last seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

Sanchez stayed out later than anyone before the final green flag pit stop, which allowed him to pounce during the final stretch of the race.

Eckes’ third-place finish also coincides with the only two drivers he is chasing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings.

It is not the first time that Heim, Eckes and Sanchez have decided the race among themselves, and Sanchez says it is important to remain in the conversation every week.

“There’s a pretty minute group of people that run up front every week,” Sanchez said. “You start to realize how these people race you. They all race really clean, but you start to pick up on tendencies. Hopefully one of these weeks I can use that to my advantage and keep on doing it.”

The Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway capped-off a five week streak of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races.

Sanchez scored a win, three top-fives and five top-10s in the stretch. His last finish worse than seventh was back at Circuit of the Americas.

Sanchez says, as much racing the series has done recently, he does not want to take a break.

“I love racing every week,” Sanchez said. “I feel like, good or bad result the previous week, it’s a clean slate the next. Luckily all my results have been relatively good. I think my worst is seventh. I wish we had another five-week stretch, these three weeks off is going to suck. You just learn consistency.”

Sanchez is going to have to wait three weeks to continue his strong season, as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns June 28 for the Rackley Roofing 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.

Sanchez had arguably his best race of the 2023 season last year at Nashville, scoring a pole, leading 37 laps and finishing in third behind Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith.

Harry Loomis is a 23-year old co-managing editor of The Podium Finish. He joined TPF in September 2023, having previously written for his own racing outlet. He graduated from Missouri Western State University in May 2023, earning his degree in Convergent Journalism. At Missouri Western, Loomis became the Sports Director of Griffon Media, becoming a trusted member of the student newspaper and weekly newscasts. A passionate race fan since age six, Loomis is originally from St. Charles, MO, and is a big NHL and MLB fan.

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