Enfinger Survives to Win a Wild World of Westgate 200

by Justin Schuoler On Sat, Sep. 15, 2018

Grant Enfinger celebrates his win in Las Vegas and secures his spot in the second round of the Playoffs. Photo by Rachel Myers for Speedway Media.

After a wild race with 5-wide passing, Grant Enfinger emerges on top to grab the win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the World of Westgate 200 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“Unbelievable day,” Enfinger said with a big sigh of relief. “[David] Pepper over here is pretty dry is it comes, so it’s kinda happy to see him get choked up a bit. We’ve put together a couple individual performances that could’ve won a race throughout the year, and this was the first time we put the whole package together. It’s a testament to ThorSport Racing.”

Johnny Sauter was rarely in the top ten, but managed to get better throughout the night. The final stage and restarts had his truck fighting for the win.

“We were off a little bit,” Sauter shared in the media center after the race. “So hats off to Joe and all my guys for working it all over. We drove to the lead, and felt like we were in good shape, but caution after caution after caution. Struggled on the restarts tonight, so we have work to do there.”

Sauter explained more specific frustrations claiming some competitors had built motors.

“Restarts are crazy. You have built motors out there that can turn an additional 1500 RPMs going on the restarts, so you feel very vulnerable. The No. 16 and 88 had built motors, and you’re at a disadvantage especially late in the race, and it’s been that way all year. It’s starting to really piss me off.”

Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton completed the results of the top five finishers. The other three playoff contenders were Brett Moffit, Stewart Friesen and Noah Gragson, who finished 11th, 17th and 18th respectively.

“We didn’t start off the best,” Haley said as he addressed the media. “We didn’t qualify too well, and were running with Johnny [Sauter] there. I’m really tired since I’m still on east coast time, but it was a good night. I agree with Johnny on the built motor statement, and it definitely is a disadvantage. I think it’s going to be a bigger disadvantage going into Homestead where there’s tire fall off.”

As Haley made these statements, Sauter was nodding his head.

Noah Gragson Leads All Laps in Stage 1

While running the second lap of competition, Tanner Thorson in the No. 20 GO Share Chevrolet swerved in the entry of Turn 4 to avoid a collision, causing his truck to drift outside of the preferred racing line and smacked the outside wall. His truck started to smoke from the damage along the front stretch, but before he could complete the third lap and enter pit road, his truck caught fire at the entrance of pit road, bringing out the first yellow of the race. He was evaluated and released from the infield care center.

As the field took the green for the second time of the evening, Matt Crafton, who started from the back, made an exciting 5-wide move on the back stretch to fight his way up to the sixth position. Joe Nemechek was the only other truck that

At the end of the first stage, Noah Gragson not only led all 30 laps but ran in front to over a four second lead over John Hunter Nemechek, 52, 4, 51. This was Gragson’s 10th stage win of the season.

Grant Enfinger Claims the Stage 2 Victory

As the field took the green flag for the second stage, Grant Enfinger was the dominant truck leading the most laps. On Lap 46, Bo LeMastus spun in Turn 3 to bring out the third yellow flag of the night. The second stage also saw more lead changes.

Gragson started to lead the opening laps, but was quickly passed by Friesen. Grant Enfinger put his truck out in front for one lap before Friesen reclaimed the top spot. The last 11 laps were led by Enfinger. The only yellow flag in the second stage was for the No. 17 Toyota of LeMastus.

Strategies Unfold in the Final Stage

Todd Gilliland was running in the top 10 for most of the race, but on lap 82, was battling with Friesen. On the front stretch, Gilliland tried to tuck in behind Friesen entering Turn 1, but Jesse Little was too close behind Friesen. Gilliland and Little made contact, sending Gilliland into the outside wall.

During pit stops, the various strategies between the teams began to unfold. Enfinger was the only truck that elected for fuel only. A small handful of drivers got right-side tires, and the rest of the field, including Gragson and Sauter, received full service.

With almost thirty laps to go, a four-wide pass on the backstretch caused contact with the outer two drivers. Gragson, the furthest to the outside, receive right front damage and a lap later, blew the left front tire. While he was able to keep it off the wall and enter pit road, he also received a commitment line violation as he entered pit road too late.

Friesen slipped out of Turn 4 and slid through the grass. Because of all the debris that got tossed onto the track, NASCAR through the yellow flag, trapping Noah Gragson a lap down. Gragson visited pit road multiple times after the right rear tire started to go flat.

With 13 laps to go, Cory Roper’s truck stalled on the front stretch to bring out the yellow flag. Brandon Jones also brought his Toyota Tundra on pit road, and as the crew raised the hood, it appeared that his truck was done for the race.

Stewart Friesen spun again on lap 130 to bring out the caution with five laps to go.

Three Attempts to Finish the World of Westgate 200

The "Big One" erupts at Vegas during the second overtime finish attempt. Photo by Rachel Myers for Speedway Media.

The “Big One” erupts at Vegas during the second overtime finish attempt. Photo by Rachel Myers for Speedway Media.

On the first attempt to finish the race with a green-white-checkered, it all started on the restart. While Brett Moffit got a great start on the outside, Johnny Sauter slightly slipped on the restart, but was able to stay within a truck-length of Moffit. However, Ben Rhodes made a move to the inside on the apron going into Turn 1. That forced both drivers to back out of the throttle and cram the field behind them. Sauter played defense on the exit of Turn 2 and along the backstretch. Thinking he was clear, he tried to close the door on Enfinger, but contact between the two trucks caused Sauter to go sideways slightly on the backstretch, but towards the back of the field. Cody Caughlin ended up spinning out, making heavy contact with the inside wall. The yellow came out before the leaders took the white flag, forcing a second attempt to finish the race.

On this restart, the field seemed to have a better start as a whole. Moffit still had a strong restart, but as the field entered the backstretch, mayhem began to unfold. By the time they entered Turn 3, there were three different 3-wide battles, one 4-wide battle and one 5-wide battle. Before the leaders could get to the start/finish line, the No. 25 truck of Timothy Peters was sideways in the exit of Turn 4. Roughly nine trucks were involved, including John Hunter Nemechek, TJ Bell, Jordan Anderson and Austin Hill.

The race was red flagged for just over ten minutes to clean up debris and fluid from pit road entrance, in the grass and along the front stretch.

The final attempt was heartbreak for Moffit. When the green flag waved for the last restart, Moffit’s truck appeared to not pick up fuel in time, as he barely got out of Sauter’s way in the outside lane. Moffit would eventually get back up to speed, but not before most of the field got around him. He finished 11th.

“Just ran out of fuel,” Moffit shared “I didn’t put enough in the pick up.”

Enfinger to his inside took full advantage and cleared the field going into Turn 1. He never looked back, leading the final two laps to claim the victory over Johnny Sauter.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races again at Talladega Superspeedway on October 13. Visit the Talladega Superspeedway website to purchase tickets today!

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Unofficial Race Results for the 22Nd Annual World Of Westgate 200 – Friday, September 14, 2018
Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Las Vegas, NV – 1.5 Mile Paved
Total Race Length – 144 Laps – 216 Miles

Pos St Trk Driver Team Make
1 3 98 Grant Enfinger (P) Champion Power Equipment/Curb Records Ford
2 6 21 Johnny Sauter (P) Allegiant Chevrolet
3 12 24 Justin Haley (P) Fraternal Order Of Eagles Chevrolet
4 18 41 Ben Rhodes (P) The Carolina Nut Co. Ford
5 29 88 Matt Crafton (P) Ideal Door/Menards Ford
6 13 13 Myatt Snider # Century Container Ford
7 24 15 Ross Chastain(i) Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
8 21 30 Austin Theriault Cross Insurance Toyota
9 25 22 Austin Wayne Self GO TEXAN Chevrolet
10 4 54 Chris Eggleston H2O Fire Protection Toyota
11 9 16 Brett Moffitt (P) TZ Toyota
12 27 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Waldo’s Painting Company Chevrolet
13 20 7 Korbin Forrister TruClear Toyota
14 30 45 Justin Fontaine # ProMATIC Automation/Superior Essex Chevrolet
15 26 97 Jesse Little JJL Motorsports Ford
16 28 83 Bayley Currey Chevrolet
17 2 52 Stewart Friesen (P) We Build America Chevrolet
18 1 18 Noah Gragson (P) Safelite AutoGlass Toyota
19 14 25 Timothy Peters Kingman Chevrolet
20 32 3 Jordan Anderson Commercial Property Services Chevrolet
21 23 38 TJ Bell Niece Equipment Chevrolet
22 8 8 John Hunter Nemechek(i) Berry’s Manufacturing Chevrolet
23 16 02 Austin Hill Young’s Building Systems/Randco Chevrolet
24 15 2 Cody Coughlin GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD Chevrolet
25 19 04 Cory Roper Preferred Industrial Contractors Inc. Ford
26 7 51 Brandon Jones(i) Delta Faucet/Menards Toyota
27 10 4 Todd Gilliland # JBL/SiriusXM Toyota
28 31 49 Wendell Chavous Sobriety Nation Chevrolet
29 5 46 Riley Herbst Advance Auto Parts Toyota
30 17 17 Bo LeMastus # Crosley Brands Toyota
31 22 87 Joe Nemechek Harrah’s Chevrolet
32 11 20 Tanner Thorson GO Share Chevrolet

(P) Playoff Contender
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
(#) Rookie

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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