Ross Chastain wins in late race thriller at Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series visited the Midwest Friday night at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, as usual, it didn’t disappoint.

Ross Chastain passed Stewart Friesen with three laps to go, as Friesen ran out of gas and went on by to score his first career Truck Series win.

“Every win is huge,” Chastain said. “These guys, Al’s (Niece) first Trucks Series win. We each have won a Xfinity Series race, but you can’t rank one above the other. It is so hard to win in NASCAR. I know Kyle Busch has won, winning 200. Like that is incredible, I won two NASCAR races now. I can’t even put it in to words. I know Kyle (Busch) is like, gets up here and he’s mopy and oh well, I only won a Trucks race, but this means so much to all of us. There are so many people in this world that are working toward this goal and I know that, because we went through it. So yeah, I don’t rank one above the other, they all have their place, it only fuels us to win more.”

The Digital Ally 250 saw Matt Crafton on the pole and he led laps early.

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The first stage was 40 laps and there were some major incidents. On Lap 23, last week’s Dover winner Johnny Sauter suffered a mechanical issue which saw the truck fall off the pace. He eventually had to take it to the garage for a short while. On Lap 25, Brandon Jones spun out off Turn 4.

After that caution, however, there were no major incidents but some thrilling battles for the lead with Brett Moffitt and Stewart Friesen on Lap 28 with Friesen eventually taking the lead for good on lap 32 and winning the first stage.

Stage 2 began with Moffitt and Sheldon Creed on the front row for the restart. The next caution came out on Lap 52 for Natalie Decker who went sliding coming off Turn 4, getting all four tires off the ground and into the grass. Decker was not injured but her night was done early.

After the incident, there were six laps of racing and Friesen went on to win the second stage.

The fifth caution came out with 24 to go, as Moffitt and Grant Enfinger made contact with each other off the exit of Turn 2. The final incident of the day came with 20 to go for Josh Reaume’s No. 33 Truck, which stalled off the exit of Turn 4.

When the race started to wind down, the battle for the lead started to heat up with Chastain, Austin Hill and Todd Gilliland.

While some were questioning Friesen’s fuel mileage, his crew chief thought they would have enough gas to make it to the finish. But Chastain began to close in and eventually caught him as Friesen ran out of gas with three to go. Chastain went on by and captured the first Truck Series win of his career.

“You always want to win, but you saw Johnny (Sauter) won last week, drove away from Brett (Moffitt) at the end and had perfect handling truck and tonight, I never saw him. I don’t know if something happened to Johnny. Oh did it? I was gonna say, I never saw him. Different trucks come and go each week, and last week we had a terrible week and still finished 10th. I got out of the truck and stretched my back out because it was locking up, and my arms were jello. This week my arms were jello because I was fist bumping so hard. I dented in the roof because I was jumping up and down on it on the frontstretch.”

“Yeah, I mean you just show up each week. This Truck Series is so fun and any racing is fun when you have a team like this, and you show up and have speed. We showed up with this exact race truck in Texas. We walked in that morning of the garage for practice and our chest was out, and we walked out that night our tails were tucked in-between our legs because we were so bad. He (crew chief) was about to cut the dang cross bend out of it, raise it up and cut the frame apart. I wished he (crew chief) would have. You know, it’s like the highest of highs tonight and the lowest of lows in the same truck at Texas, where Al (Niece) had so much invested in that race and we were gonna fifth and we ended up finishing seventh, as the right rear tire ended up going flat at the end, but still a good night saw some promise. Just show up every week, get through practice, try not to have some big moments like I had, you know getting loose and show up and fight.”

Chastain led twice for five laps.

Ben Rhodes, Todd Gilliland, Austin Hill, Brandon Jones, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Brett Moffitt, Riley Herbst and Harrison Burton rounded out the top-10.

Enfinger still leads the points standings by 13 points over Brett Moffitt.

There were six cautions for 29 laps with 22 lead changes and a margin of Victory of .483 seconds.

Up Next: The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series heads east next weekend to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, May 17.

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