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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Rajah Caruth Scores Popular Victory at Las Vegas

Rajah Caruth celebrates a thrilling victory in the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo: Myk Crawford | The Podium Finish)

LAS VEGAS — On a banner day for 21-year-old Rajah Caruth of Washington, it only seemed fair for an equally memorable Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In just his 30th career NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start, Caruth capitalized at the 1.5-mile intermediate track. Starting from the pole position, the Drive for Diversity alum rocketed to a popular first career victory.

The driver of the No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado, fielded by Spire Motorsports, was a constant presence at the front of the field. Although Caruth surrendered the lead to Christian Eckes in the opening seven laps, he placed a respectable second to Ty Majeski, who drove from sixth to the number one spot by Laps 14 and 19.

Once Stage 2 was underway, Caruth was patient, steady and poised in his competitive truck. The sim to reality racer drove to the lead on Lap 34, passing Majeski for a 17-lap stint at the front of the pack.

During the caution-free Stage 2, Majeski’s No. 98 Curb Records 60 Years Ford F-150 was hooked up on the long run. Majeski regained the lead on Lap 51, scooting by Caruth to win Stage 2 while Corey Heim tallied a runner-up ahead of Caruth.

The action and intensity picked up in Stage 3 despite Dean Thompson’s Turn 4 accident on Lap 69, prompting the only caution in the final leg of the race. Following the caution period, it became a bit of a who would blink first duel to the finish. Kyle Busch, Nick Sanchez, Heim, Majeski, Taylor Gray, Christopher Bell, Chase Purdy and Mason Massey enjoyed stints toward the front of the field for the next 45 laps.

On Lap 114, Caruth returned to the front, expertly navigating through the lapped traffic with precision and ease. Holding onto a healthy lead that fluctuated between 0.8 to 1.3 seconds in the final 21 laps, Caruth drove a determined, focused race toward the checkered flag.

Rajah Caruth celebrates his first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win with a smoke show at Las Vegas. (Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

In the end, Caruth prevailed, besting Tyler Ankrum by 0.851 seconds. History was made in terms of Caruth becoming the third African American racer to win a major NASCAR race as he joined Wendell Scott and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.

After the customary burnout and acknowledgment of the crowd on the start/finish line stripe, Caruth spoke to FOX NASCAR’s Josh Sims about his win.

“It’s surreal. Thank you so much to and Mr. H (Rick Hendrick) for putting me in this thing all year along with the men and women at Spire,” Caruth said. “They had a lot of work this winter and the decal shop’s been working very hard too. So, glad to get the win for Team Chevy. Can’t thank my family enough. So many people have helped me get to this point. I can’t believe it.”

Sooner or later, Ankrum will return to Victory Lane after his maiden Truck win at Kentucky in 2019. For now, all he could consider was how he ran out of time as he had to get past some lapped traffic.

“Yea, if we had 10 more… we were coming there in the end,” Ankrum said to FOX NASCAR’s Bob Pockrass. “The lapped traffic was finally thinning out, so I was able to get some clean air on my nose and was able to distance myself from Corey. He’s a very talented guy. He’s going to race very hard and very smart.

“And to fend off a guy like him is very difficult to do, including Taylor, including Rajah. I mean, he passed me to go win the race. We had a very good race. We executed well. We made few, minimal mistakes and that’s all you can really ask for with a race.”

Although Heim tallied another strong podium in as many weeks, he could not help but take some of the onus on a potential victory slipping away in the final laps for his No. 11 Safelite Toyota Tundra team.

“I think there were a lot of variables,” Heim observed. I made some mistakes on the cycle there. I could have executed a lot better there on pit road, and when I got back out there, I was messing with the 18 (Tyler Ankrum) too much. Just want to say a huge congratulations to Rajah (Caruth). He’s the first guy to come and congratulate you when you win, and he’s such a humble dude.

“Congrats to Rajah, and a huge thank you to TRICON Garage and Toyota Racing for everything they do. We had a rocketship tonight, and I feel like if we executed as a whole team, including me, I feel like we would have been in victory lane tonight. It happens, and we will use it as motivation for the team. Huge thank you to them, Toyota and Safelite.”

On Caruth’s X profile, he has a pinned post of Martin Truex Jr.’s celebration from Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2017 with the words “One day.” As Caruth progresses in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Friday night’s historical moment lends credence to Caruth’s belief in becoming a future Cup contender and champion.

Likewise, Caruth tipped his cap to his hardy crew at the track and shop for making one of his dreams come true. It is a long way from the young man who attended a NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway in September of 2014.

From sim to reality, Rajah Caruth is making a dream come true for the kid who attended a Cup race at Richmond Raceway in September of 2014. (Photo: Myk Crawford | The Podium Finish)

“I stayed cool,” he said. “We lost track position in that little portion of the race. We stayed in the game and it was just one step, one punch, one round at a time. My guys had me a great stop and we just executed. There’s more to come, for sure.”

It takes a village to succeed and Caruth made it clear that his core support system goes beyond his family and friends. In this case, it is the diligent men and women at the Spire campus who have banded together as one.

“I’ve had some really good people in my life,” he shared. “It’s just a testament to my team. Everybody at Spire’s pulling in one direction and they’ve done a great job for giving us four fast trucks but also getting the Cup stuff closer to where it needs to be. So, everybody’s been working really hard.

“Like I said in my TV interview, the decal shop’s been really busting their tails. Same with our marketing department, our PR folks and obviously, our parts room guys and everybody at the shop. I’m really grateful for today and just trying to take in the moment.”

By all means, Caruth’s victory is another shot in the arm for NASCAR’s diversity movement with two of the three opening Truck Series races won by drivers from the Drive for Diversity program. For those aspiring to be like Caruth, he offered some encouraging, truthful words about the trials and tribulations to reach one of the top levels in motorsports.

It may have been a long road for Rajah Caruth to get from there to here but he knew his time was finally near in Las Vegas. (Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

“I think for me, it’s not easy,” Caruth said. “If you think it’s just kinda wake up and be on there and in front of you, it’s not. You’ve just gotta put in the work and listen – emphasis on listen. I think about my first years racing on iRacing and learning how to be fast on there and making a lot of mistakes, honestly, it was kind of the same when I started in real life. And I just listened to the people who wanted to help me.

“And I put in the work, the late nights, the early mornings, showing up and I caught some breaks for sure. I’d say to those kids, cause I know there’s a lot of them out there that were in similar spots as me, that y’all can do it and you’ve gotta put in the work, pay attention, and do the right thing, and it’ll work out.”

Stage 1 Top 10 Results
  1. Ty Majeski
  2. Rajah Caruth
  3. Stewart Friesen
  4. Tyler Ankrum
  5. Corey Heim
  6. Christopher Bell (i)
  7. Taylor Gray
  8. Kyle Busch (i)
  9. Grant Enfinger
  10. Matt Crafton
Stage 2 Top 10 Results
  1. Ty Majeski
  2. Corey Heim
  3. Rajah Caruth
  4. Taylor Gray
  5. Kyle Busch (i)
  6. Nick Sanchez
  7. Grant Enfinger
  8. Zane Smith (i)
  9. Stewart Friesen
  10. Matt Crafton
Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Race Results
Finish Start Car No. Driver Sponsor/Make Status
1 1 71 Rajah Caruth Chevrolet Running
2 5 18 Tyler Ankrum LiUNA! Chevrolet Running
3 25 11 Corey Heim Safelite Toyota Running
4 19 17 Taylor Gray Mobil 1 Toyota Running
5 14 1 Christopher Bell (i) Mobil 1 Toyota Running
6 2 19 Christian Eckes NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Running
7 15 88 Matt Crafton Black Label Bacon/Menards Ford Running
8 7 91 Zane Smith (i) Instacoat Premium Products Chevrolet Running
9 10 9 Grant Enfinger Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Running
10 6 98 Ty Majeski Curb Records 60 Years Ford Running
11 12 13 Jake Garcia Quanta Services Ford Running
12 20 32 Bret Holmes Precision Garage Door Chevrolet Running
13 13 99 Ben Rhodes Kubota Ford Running
14 26 66 Conner Jones (R) Cincinnati Ford Running
15 4 7 Kyle Busch (i) Group 1001 Chevrolet Running
16 11 77 Chase Purdy Bama Buggies Chevrolet Running
17 8 2 Nick Sanchez Gainbridge Chevrolet Running
18 3 52 Stewart Friesen Halmar International Toyota Running
19 18 45 Connor Mosack Chevy Accessories Chevrolet Running
20 24 15 Tanner Gray Dead On Tools Toyota Running
21 29 02 Mason Massey Anderson Power Services Chevrolet Running
22 21 38 Layne Riggs (R) Love’s RV Stops Ford Running
23 28 33 Lawless Alan AUTOChargeIt Mobil Ford Running
24 9 43 Daniel Dye NAPA Nightvision Chevrolet Running
25 30 46 Thad Moffitt (R) South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Running
26 16 25 Ty Dillon Rackley Roofing Chevrolet Running
27 31 22 Keith McGee More Core Ford Running
28 17 41 Bayley Currey Niece Chevrolet Running
29 32 76 Spencer Boyd Nor-Cal Equipment Rentals Chevrolet Running
30 23 5 Dean Thompson Thompson Pipe Group Chevrolet Running
31 22 42 Matt Mills J.F. Electric/Utilitra Chevrolet Running
32 27 56 Timmy Hill Coble Enterprises/UNITS Toyota Electrical


Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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