Gateway was the venue for the 11th race of the 2019 Truck Series season that took place late Saturday night.
It was an uncharacteristic race, with only five cautions, three for actual incidents that took place on the track. There were 14 lead changes, but once someone was up front, the leader could pull away for a while and remain dominant. This was seen with Stewart Friesen who led for 19 laps, Grant Enfinger for 33 laps, Christian Eckes for 12 laps on his first stint out front and 45 laps on his final stint, and the eventual race winner Ross Chastain who led the final 19 laps.
The CarShield 200 was one of those races, where if you had a great truck, you were out front. However, if you didn’t, you would struggle for most of the night.
Ross Chastain took home his second win of the season and continues his climb to the top-20 in points for a shot at the championship. Other drivers like Friesen and Eckes, were left frustrated after making last-lap contact with each other. You could also make a case for Harrison Burton, who also got involved in an incident late relegating him to a 16th place finish when he was running in the top-10 prior to the contact.
What else happened though in the CarShield 200? Here is a look at this week’s four takeaways from Gateway.
- ThorSport Class Of Field – Throughout the night, especially when the checkered flag flew, race fans saw ThorSport place all four of their trucks in the top-10. Enfinger was the highest finisher out of the camp, finishing sixth after winning both stages. Ben Rhodes and the No. 99 Carolina Nut Company Ford F-150 finished eighth, Matt Crafton was ninth and Myatt Snider (who did well under pressure replacing the suspended Johnny Sauter) finished 10th after finishing ninth and second in both stages. It really would have been quite something if Snider could have pulled off the upset victory.
- Sauter Has Impressive Showing At Dick Trickle 99 – While the Truck Series was running at Gateway, Sauter spent his weekend and suspension racing the Super Late Model classic in Wisconsin. He finished second behind short track star Ty Majeski. After the race, Sauter stayed to sign autographs for the fans and stated, that he has no regrets for his actions at Iowa. It will be interesting to watch this story unfold, as Sauter returns to the track this weekend at Chicagoland and if it affects his championship chances at all. He is currently 10th in the standings, two positions outside the top eight.
- Chandler Smith Continues Impressive Drive – In only two starts, the rising star continues to deliver on the track and is impressing the NASCAR world, gaining more popularity. Smith competed once again in a Kyle Busch Motorsports entry Saturday night, this time in the No. 46 entry. He again showcased his talent and finished 14th and ninth in both stages. When the checkered flag flew, Smith was in the fourth position in the final running order. He competed in the ARCA Menards Series race a few hours, but Smith’s chances of winning were cut short due to a broken axle.
- Too Late Of A Race – When race fans woke up Saturday morning, they more than likely saw an unusual start time for the race of 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. local. When all was said and done Saturday night, it was a little after midnight when the final word was given by NASCAR, stating that Chastain was the official winner. Night racing can be challenging time-wise and even though there were rain showers earlier in the day and that would have delayed the race start, it certainly doesn’t do much for overnight ratings. I hope next year NASCAR will consider an earlier start time for the race. One solution would be to schedule the practices and qualifying the day before and just go racing the next day. Hopefully, NASCAR will look at a different time slot next year.