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Chastain Steals Truck Series Victory After Teammate Hocevar Crashes

(Photo: Kathryne Porter | The Podium Finish)

CONCORD, N.C. — Ross Chastain may not have had the strongest truck all night, but he put himself in position when it mattered most. After Carson Hocevar crashed on a green-white-checkered, Chastain took the lead and held off Grant Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek on the ensuing attempt to win his first Camping World Truck Series race of the year and the fourth of his career.

Chastain’s win in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 is his third NASCAR victory in 2022. The two previous wins came at Circuit of the Americas and Talladega Superspeedway in the Cup Series. He won on Friday after Hocevar, his Niece Motorsports teammate, led a race-high 57 laps.

“My thoughts are that Carson Hocevar won this race,” Chastain said. “He’s so good at 19 years old and a future star in this sport. Probably coming for my job or somebody else’s. It’s amazing to me that he’s 10 years younger than me and he’s doing things that I’m learning from him.”

Chastain, making his fourth Truck start of the season, qualified in the fifth position and placed fifth in Stage 1 and eighth in Stage 2. For most of Stage 3, Chastain ran outside the top five while Hocevar pulled away from Ryan Preece in the lead.

With four laps to go, Jesse Little and Tyler Ankrum crashed to bring out a caution and set up a green-white-checkered finish. Hocevar chose the inside lane and Chastain lined up behind him. On the restart, Chastain spun his tires and Hocevar took off without help. In Turn 3, Hocevar drove deep and made contact with Preece, eventually hitting the wall. Both Preece and Hocevar suffered damage.

“I messed up. I let him down,” Chastain said of Hocevar. “That put [Hocevar] in a really bad spot with Preece tight on his door and Preece knew what he was doing. You know what’s going to happen when you are racing for the win like that.”

Preece, who finished 11th after pitting for a flat tire, was critical 0f Hocevar on the first green-white-checkered attempt.

“All you kids watching right now wanting to get to this level, don’t do that,” Preece told FS1. “Race with respect, don’t wreck the guy on the outside of you trying to win your first race — it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Chastain took the lead under yellow after Preece pitted and controlled the restart from the outside on the second green-white-checkered attempt. Christian Eckes, who lined up on the inside, ran side-by-side with Chastain for the first lap and led the white flag lap. After Nemechek put them three-wide in Turn 1, Enfinger pushed Chastain down the backstretch and to the checkered flag.

“That’s why I took the top. The momentum is always going to come from the outside,” Chastain said on Enfinger. “There was two Toyotas lined up on the bottom and two Chevys lined up on top. My brother said it in his first race — ‘sweet, sweet Chevy power’ — and Chevys won.”

Notables

  • Grant Enfinger recorded his third top five in his last four races
  • John Hunter Nemechek finished in the top 10 for the seventh consecutive race
  • Christian Eckes recorded his third straight top five
  • Zane Smith led 52 laps and finished fifth
  • Kyle Busch finished seventh and is winless in his last five Truck Series starts
  • Stewart Friesen, last week’s winner at Texas, finished ninth
  • Ty Majeski, the polesitter, finished 13th
  • Carson Hocevar finished 16th after crashing late
  • Max Gutierrez finished 26th in his first Truck Series start

Results

STAGE 1: Zane Smith, Ty Majeski, Ryan Preece, Carson Hocevar, Ross Chastain, Kyle Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Christian Eckes, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2: Ben Rhodes, Christian Eckes, Ryan Preece, Carson Hocevar, John Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith, Matt DiBenedetto, Ross Chastain, Ty Majeski, Derek Kraus

FINAL: Ross Chastain, Grant Enfinger, John Hunter Nemechek, Christian Eckes, Zane Smith, Tanner Gray, Kyle Busch, Chandler Smith, Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes

Next

The Truck Series returns Saturday, June 4 for the Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway. The race is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1. Sheldon Creed is the defending race winner.

Nathan Solomon is a sophomore in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. He serves as the Sports Editor for his campus newspaper, The BonaVenture, and as the programming director for his campus radio station, WSBU 88.3FM. The station is rated the No. 4 college radio station in the country by Princeton Review. Solomon started his journalism career in 2018 when he began covering hometown Cornell basketball for IvyHoopsOnline. In 2019, Solomon joined Empire Sports Media to contribute New York Yankees' content and started covering NASCAR for the outlet in 2020. In 2021, he covered his first two NASCAR races with Empire Sports Media. Solomon joined TPF in September of 2021. He is also an NMPA journalist.

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