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Matt Mills Overcomes Early Engine Issues to Secure 11th-Place Finish at Darlington

Matt Mills Darlington Raceway Buckle Up South Carolina 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford,

It had been an absolutely trying season for Matt Mills and the No. 42 Niece Motorsports team heading into Friday night’s Buckle Up South Carolina 200 at Darlington Raceway. But Mills, who had yet to record a top-20 in the opening eight events of the season, was able to score a solid 11th-place finish on Friday night.

For Mills, 27, the top-15 finish made him feel like his teammate Ross Chastain, who was celebrating in victory lane.

“It feels like a win,” Mills explained, “even though there was a little bit of disappointment because we were so close to a top-10. Just didn’t need that caution there at the end. We were going to be ninth, and that was going to be a good day, but I knew a caution was going to come out. I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy for us. But still, an 11th.”

While the finishes hadn’t been there leading up to Friday night, Mills has had speed on occasion throughout the 2024 season. Mechanical gremlins and on-track incidents have foiled would-be decent runs throughout the year. A similar issue nearly wiped out his best run of the season before it ever truly began on Friday evening.

“We kind of had a scare there at the beginning,” Mills revealed. “We were having some motor issues, luckily Ilmor came in and we were able to fix it in two stops and started working our way back through the field. We felt like we had a fast truck there at the beginning, but we kind of got paused out with that.”

With the engine issues in the rear view mirror, Mills was able to focus on the task at hand — getting a decent finish. He was able to do that, and he credits what he feels was the best truck he’s had this year.

“We’ve had speed to be acceptable this year, and it’s something that we’ve kind of built on. And I feel like this weekend was one of the best trucks I’ve had,” Mills explained.

Now, Mills, who feels like he did a good job limiting mistakes from behind the wheel, and the No. 42 Niece Motorsports team will look to continue building solid results as the season continues to progress.

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