After a dramatic finish in Saturday night’s running of the Eaton 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park, Justin Haley captured his first win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in just the 37th start of his career.
Grant Enfinger and Christian Eckes set the front row in qualifying earlier in the day. Three stages of 35/35/90 made up the 160 lap race. There was already action before the race started, however, as Ben Rhodes had a right front flat tire that put him a lap down for most of the race.
The race was clean and green in Stage 1 until the first caution on Lap 22 for Jordan Anderson who slowed on the track. Another caution occurred with three to go, as Dalton Sargeant cut down a left front tire after contact was made with Todd Gilliland.
With the late caution, this saw Stage 1 come to an end and pole sitter Enfinger collected the win.
The race resumed for Stage 2 on Lap 41 and went to Lap 70. Eckes was able to take the lead and hold on to win the stage, as it once again finished under yellow due to Matt Crafton who stopped on the track to enter pit road. Under yellow, the No. 88 Thorsport team made a battery change and was sent back. The team finally diagnosed the issue and it was an alternator problem.
The action picked up in the third and final stage. Kansas race winner, Noah Gragson, took the lead on the restart but on the same lap, Stage 2 winner Christian Eckes was spun out by Stewart Friesen and hit the wall ending the night for the 17-year-old.
After spending the whole race one lap down, Ben Rhodes was able to get his lap back and was finally back on the lead lap.
Several more cautions throughout the stage including one red flag that stopped the race. On Lap 98, Friesen was spun by Johnny Sauter on the backstretch. With 47 to go, a piece of debris cut through the oil pan of John Hunter Nemechek and had the No. 8 Truck leaving oil all the way around the track, ending his night. This also saw a hard accident between drivers Justin Fontaine and Tate Fogleman who collided with each other in Turns 1 and 2. This eventually put the red flag out.
After the clean up was made, the race resumed with 36 to go. Three more cautions in the remaining final laps slowed the pace once more. With 28 to go, Iowa winner Brett Moffitt, got loose and made contact with Ben Rhodes. Stage 1 winner and pole sitter, Grant Enfinger, had a left rear flat and left debris on the track causing a caution with 12 to go. The final caution came out after a restart with seven to go for debris. Race leader, Noah Gragson, had to come down pit road due to a flat tire and surrendered the race lead to Justin Haley.
With just two laps remaining, Haley was able to hold off his GMS Racing teammate Johnny Sauter for his first ever Truck Series victory.
There were nine cautions for 53 laps and one red flag during the race with seven lead changes among eight different leaders. Race-winner Haley led once for seven laps.
Gateway Motorsports Park NCWTS race results 6-24-18