As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series closes the book on its 16-race regular season, Chandler Smith and Kyle Busch Motorsports have demonstrated to the field that they’re legitimate threats for the victory, taking a dominant victory Saturday at Pocono Raceway.
Smith was able to hold back a hard-charging Ryan Preece to capture his fourth career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, in a battle that lasted throughout the majority of the race’s final stage.
The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver was able to get control of the event back in his hands, after a restart that stemmed from Spencer Boyd spinning his Young’s Motorsports machine in Turn Three, taking the lead back on Lap 47, and holding the top spot for the race’s final 14 laps.
Taking the lead back from Preece inside the final 15 laps was a retaliation on the David Gilliland Racing driver, who was able to sneak ahead of Smith just prior to the display of the race’s final caution flag.
The Talking Rock, Georgia-native’s victory adds five playoff points to his basket for the NASCAR Truck Series Playoffs, in addition to the 10 playoff points he receives for claiming second place in the regular-season championship.
Preece would hold onto the runner-up position until the race’s conclusion, picking up his fourth top-five finish in seven events this season, and his second consecutive top-two result.
Kyle Busch Motorsports continued to show their strength with John Hunter Nemechek and Corey Heim finishing in third and fourth, marking the organization’s first triple top-five result since Circuit of The Americas earlier this season.
In fifth place, Carson Hocevar recorded his third consecutive top-five result in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, bringing his season total up to six, as he looks to claim his first victory in the series.
Austin Hill – running his second NASCAR Truck Series event of the season for Spire Motorsports — finished in sixth place, with ThorSport Racing teammates Ty Majeski and Christian Eckes finishing seventh and eighth.
Derek Kraus – who came into Saturday’s 150-mile event only 19 points below the cutline — finished in ninth-place but fought power steering issues in the late stages of the event, all resulting in his failure to advance to the NASCAR Truck Series Playoffs.
Tanner Gray rounded out the top-10, marking the first time David Gilliland Racing has placed two trucks inside the top-10 since Atlanta in March.
After starting from the pole, Zane Smith finished the event in 13th, which was enough for him to capture the regular-season championship by 40 points over race-winner Chandler Smith.
Matt Crafton struggled on pit road throughout the day but recorded a 15th-place finish, which was enough to advance him into the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs, as he chases a record-tying fourth championship.
Crafton joins Zane Smith, Chandler Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, Carson Hocevar, Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger, and Ben Rhodes as the 10 drivers that will compete for the 2022 NCWTS title.
Next up for the Truck Series is a return to Indianapolis Raceway Park, for the first race of the ‘Round of 10’, where Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton will look to break out of the danger zone, and advance into the next round of the playoffs.