The 10th race of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series took place this past weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park.
While there were a couple of surprises in the top-10, the same team that has been dominant for most of the season, wound up in victory lane, but this time with a different driver.
Here are my final four thoughts from the Villa Lighting Delivers the Eaton 200, before the Truck Series heads to Chicagoland Friday night.
- Justin Haley Scores First Career Win – Haley, who has been strong all year, finally earned his first career win and locked himself into the postseason Playoffs. While he was somewhat of a surprise winner, the No. 24 team had four top fives and six top-10 finishes before his first season. They were close to winning earlier this season, but just needed to find the right opportunity to strike and that’s what happened in Saturday night’s race. It’ll be interesting to see what the No. 24 GMS Racing team does in order to compete with teammate Johnny Sauter for the rest of the year.
- Noah Gragson Close Once Again – Same song, second verse for the No. 18 driver, Noah Gragson. After earning his first win of the season last month at Kansas, Gragson has been close many times to earning multiple victories but has fallen short so far. He had the truck to beat Saturday night, leading 63 times, but late race cautions hurt the team’s chances at winning and they had to settle for a disappointing 10th place. It’s only a matter of time before the team breaks out and start earning multiple victories.
- Zane Smith, Riley Herbst, Jesse Little, Chad Finley Have Career Nights – Smith, Herbst, and Finley, all ARCA series regulars, had a solid night at Gateway. Smith and Herbst who made their Truck Series debut, did a spectacular job, finishing fifth and eighth. Finley hasn’t competed in a Truck Series race since 2015 and finished sixth. Jesse Little was able to earn his fourth top-10 finish of the year. A great night for all the young stars involved.
- Question Marks Still A Concern For Hattori Racing – After earning two wins this season at Atlanta and Iowa, it sure seemed like the No. 16 team would be a challenger for the Truck Series championship postseason. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for Moffitt and Hattori Racing, at least for now. The No. 16 driver stated in Friday’s media availability that they were still unsure what their plans were past this weekend. And that still holds true. If Moffitt misses the race this weekend, he will not be able to get a waiver in order to compete postseason, because you have to compete in all the races. However, with today’s power of social media and the NASCAR fan base, they have been reaching out to companies all across the United States to sponsor the team in order to continue. While this would be great, it goes to show how unfortunate this is and how it’s tough to secure full-time sponsorship in the Truck Series.