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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Tailgate Talk: Mayer Earns First Truck Win at Bristol!

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series headed to Bristol Motor Speedway for the first round of its playoffs on Thursday night, and it was a GMS Racing showdown. Every one of the 200 laps was led by one of three GMS Racing drivers: Brett Moffitt, Tyler Ankrum, and Sam Mayer.

Brett Moffitt was strong early on at Bristol! (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Moffitt in Dominant Form in Stage One…

The first stage was dominated by Brett Moffitt, who led every lap after polesitter Grant Enfinger’s mechanical woes put him behind early. The stage was not without turmoil for another Playoff driver, though. Austin Hill sustained damage on the opening lap of the event after contact with the outside wall. The issues would compound all day for Hill, who finished 25th, five laps down.

But Stage Two is Ankrum’s Show

Under the first stage caution, Tyler Ankrum and a couple others stayed out, and Ankrum would dominate stage two for his first career stage win. The stage was slowed once for an incident between Danny Bohn and Spencer Boyd, both of whom would continue.

Sam Mayer enjoyed a well-deserved burnout after 200 punishing laps at the Last Great Colosseum.(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Young Gun Mayer Takes Victory

On pit stops, the lead swapped once again, back in Moffitt’s favor, after a miscommunication left Ankrum on track for an extra lap under caution. However, after the caution flew for the fourth and final time due to a hard wreck for Austin Wayne Self, Moffitt’s 17-year-old teammate Sam Mayer was within striking distance, and got by Moffitt shortly after the restart, with only 30 laps remaining. Mayer drove away and took victory by over four seconds over teammate Moffitt.

The victory is Mayer’s first Truck win in only his seventh career start. Earlier in the week, the Wisconsin driver announced a deal with JR Motorsports to drive half of 2021 and full-time in 2022 in the XFINITY Series. Mayer has seven victories between the ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series East this season, and currently leads the East points, where he is full-time. He also won the ARCA race later on Thursday night, giving him two wins in a single evening, an extremely rare feat in NASCAR.

Brett Moffitt lost out on victory again at Bristol, but he still has reason to smile under that mask. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Not All Bad for Winless Moffitt

Brett Moffitt continues a consistent season, but still has a goose egg in the win column. Bristol was his fourth runner-up finish this season, and his third behind a GMS Racing teammate. Even more astonishingly, Moffitt has led laps in ten out of the last eleven races, and despite scoring seven top five finishes in that span, is still winless. The good news for Moffitt, though, is that, because of Austin Hill’s rough day, Moffitt is the new points leader by eight points over teammate Sheldon Creed.

Austin Hill’s nice new trophy doesn’t mean much after a rough go at Bristol. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Hill’s in a Hole

Speaking of Hill… the regular-season champion is not in a good place. Despite his playoff points, Hill fell to eighth in the playoff standings, the cutoff position. He sits only two points above ninth-place Christian Eckes, in prime position for elimination, especially with Talladega as the cutoff race. The only sure way for Hill to advance is a win at Las Vegas, because everything goes out the window when the trucks hit the high banks at ‘Dega.

The Race is On…

That really applies to everyone, though. With Mayer winning, nobody is locked into the next round, meaning anything short of a win at Las Vegas could lead to elimination should disaster strike at Talladega. Even points leader Brett Moffitt is only 36 points to the good over the cutoff line. A solid cushion, to be sure, but one that could vanish if things don’t go smoothly at Vegas and Talladega.

The race is on to avoid elimination and advance to the round of eight! The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series hits the track next at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, September 25th at 9 pm eastern time on Fox Sports 1.

A 21-year-old computer science and data science double major, Matteo has been watching NASCAR for more than a decade and has been involved in the NASCAR media scene for over five years. He finds enjoyment in both photography and writing and his passion for the sport is unmatched.

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