In typical Atlanta Motor Speedway fashion, there was a last-lap dash and pass to the finish in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Vet Tix Camping World 200 race. This time, however, it was between Grant Enfinger and Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Austin Hill.
Hill had led up until a late caution that flew with four laps to go when Chase Elliott spun off Turn 4. When the event went back green, Hill got a good jump on the restart, but it was eventually ThorSport Racing’s Enfinger who took home the win over Hill by 0.215 seconds.
“It was definitely wild, that’s for sure,” Enfinger said. “We didn’t lead too many laps, but we led the ones that counted. It was just a unbelievable, Farmpaint Ford F-150 on the short run. We didn’t have everything that we needed to make a real run at those guys, to keep up with Chase (Elliott) and Kyle (Busch) on the long run. We were decent on the long run, but we weren’t great. On the short run, I knew if it came down to it, we could make it happen if we had a good restart.”
“Fortunately, we got a good restart,” he continued. “Austin (Hill) blocked me on the backstretch and I felt like we could probably clear him either way but I was kind of glad he went to the bottom. I never used that move, but I (had) seen Kyle (Busch) and Johnny (Sauter) be successful with that same move. From there, it was just a matter of holding him (Hill) off and we had the speed to do that.”
Stages 30-30-70 made up the 130 lapper for the fourth race of the season with a competition caution on lap 15. Kyle Busch Motorsports driver, Christian Eckes, drew the pole earlier in the week while Tyler Ankrum of GMS Racing drew outside pole.
Stage 1: Lap 1 – Lap 30
Eckes led early on but the race was slowed a couple of times by the No. 28 of Bryan Dauzat. Dauzat spun around twice, once on Lap 2, and a second time on Lap 12. Eventually, Dauzat would be out of the race, due to the damaged vehicle policy.
Before the competition yellow, KBM teammates, Eckes and Kyle Busch traded the lead. When the yellow flew, Johnny Sauter, Zane Smith, Brennan Poole, Stewart Friesen, and Ankrum were among the drivers to pit under yellow.
As the race went back green on Lap 16, Eckes got ahead for the lead but Busch took the top spot on Lap 24. KBM Team Owner Busch went on to win Stage 1 with Elliott, Eckes, Smith, Hill, Brett Moffitt, Sheldon Creed, Ross Chastain, Sauter, and Enfinger rounding out the top-10.
When the leaders pitted, there was a log jam on pit road and a collision. Ryan Truex, who was ahead of John Hunter Nemechek, checked up which caused Nemechek to run into the back of the No. 40 truck. Seasoned veteran, Matt Crafton also received front-end damage to his No. 88 machine after the incident and Nemechek had left-rear quarter panel damage to his Truck as well.
However, Sauter and Chastain were too fast on pit road and Angela Ruch was penalized for pitting outside the box. TJ Bell was also penalized for improper fueling. Zane Smith did not elect to pit, stayed out and was deemed the new leader for the Stage 2 restart.
Stage 2: Lap 36 – Lap 60
After staying out hoping for track position, Smith fell back and was almost run over by drivers with fresher tires in the back.
Last week’s winner, Elliott, took the lead on Lap 38 and held it until Lap 51 when Busch once again made his way to the top of the leaderboard. The two traded positions before a caution halted the field when Austin Wayne Self in the No. 22 was stopped sideways off Turn 4. A few drivers, including Ruch, had to make some extra moves to avoid the sitting truck.
When the stage restarted with four to go, there wasn’t much of a challenge for Busch and he took the stage win. Enfinger, Kraus, Chastain, Gilliland, Eckes, Sauter, Raphael Lessard, Crafton, and Hill completed the top-10 finishers in the second stage.
Stage 3: Lap 66 – Lap 136
The final stage saw the longest green-flag run of the day with 62 laps. Busch took the lead from Niece Motorsports’ Chastain with 44 to go and it looked as though he would set sail.
The final round of green-flag pit stops began with 35 to go with Chastain the first to start the sequence. Busch pitted from the lead one lap later. Meanwhile, Elliott had troubles slowing when he tried to pit and was forced to make an extra lap.
When Busch pitted, he was too fast on pit road and was given a penalty. As Busch re-entered the track, he nearly got into the No. 3 of Jordan Anderson in Turns 3 and 4. However, the No. 51 Cessna Tundra, was too fast again on pit road when Busch served the initial penalty. Receiving two penalties in a row would eventually end Busch’s chances of winning the race.
After that, Georgia native Hill was in prime position as he inherited the lead during the pit stop cycle. He appeared to be on his way to score the big victory until Elliott went spinning around in the No. 24 Hooters machine off Turn 4 with four to go, setting up an overtime restart.
There were some questions as to whether Hill would pit and everyone else would stay out or if Hill stayed out and everyone else would pit. However, all the lead lap trucks pitted under the final yellow.
Eventually, a two-lap dash to the finish ensued and anybody inside the top five had a chance to win. But when it came down to it, Enfinger and Hill were the two trying to get to the finish line first. Enfinger was on the outside while Hill was on the inside. Enfinger was able to get Hill loose just enough to take the lead and would score the first Atlanta victory of his career.
In 2020, Enfinger has earned two wins early in the season.
“Obviously, it started at Daytona,” he said. “Superspeedways can be so crazy and hit and miss. It’s something I like though. The fact we won at Daytona and I shouldn’t say this, but shouldn’t be the reason we won today. That, however, changes our mindset at the shop even before we get here. Like my spotter, Chris Lambert said, ‘we won this race at the shop.’ Some of those guys can’t even celebrate with me right now, so we won this for the shop. We might not have made the same move, had we not won (at Daytona) and we would be points racing. Thankfully, we get to take some of Marcus Lemonis’ (CEO of Gander RV and Camping World) money home to those who deserve it.”
Enfinger led twice for seven laps and now has four career victories. Not only did the Alabama native score his fourth career victory, he and the team picked up the $25,000 bonus from Marcus Lemonis.
There were six cautions for 28 laps and 14 lead changes among seven different drivers.
Note: Following the post-race inspection, Sauter’s 17th place finish was disqualified due to an unspecified tire modification. He was relegated to last place in the finishing order. This moves everyone who finished after him up one spot in the results.
- Grant Enfinger, led seven laps
- Austin Hill, led 36 laps
- Christian Eckes, 18 laps
- Todd Gilliland
- Zane Smith, led five laps
- Ross Chastain, led 17 laps
- Derek Kraus
- Brett Moffitt
- Ben Rhodes
- Stewart Friesen
- Tanner Gray
- Matt Crafton
- Ryan Truex
- Sheldon Creed
- Tyler Ankrum
- Jeb Burton
- Johnny Sauter – DQ – Officially scored in last place
- Brennan Poole
- Raphael Lessard
- Ty Majeski, one lap down
- Chase Elliott, one lap down
- Kyle Busch, one lap down
- Timmy Hill, one lap down
- Cory Roper, one lap down
- John Hunter Nemechek, one lap down
- Spencer Davis, two laps down
- Clay Greenfield, two laps down
- Spencer Boyd, two laps down
- Angela Ruch, two laps down
- Korbin Forrister, two laps down
- Austin Wayne Self, four laps down
- Tate Fogleman, four laps down
- Bayley Currey, five laps down
- Codie Rohrbaugh, six laps down
- Gray Gaulding, seven laps down
- Jesse Little, nine laps down
- Jennifer Jo Cobb, OUT, Too Slow
- Jordan Anderson, OUT, Crash
- TJ Bell, OUT, Clutch
- Bryan Dauzat, OUT, Damage Vehicle Policy