In just seven Truck Series starts, 17-year-old Sam Mayer played spoiler for the playoff Truck Series drivers as he became the second-youngest winner in series history after passing GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt with less than 30 to go to achieve his first Truck Series victory.
“What? Oh my gosh, Bristol dude. I love this place,” Mayer said after the race. “This is win No. 3 for me here and man, I don’t know what to say. I can’t thank the guys back at the shop enough.
“They work their tails off. We fired off so good. We only made like one trackbar adjustment all day, that’s it. That feels so good.”
Despite heavy rain showers earlier in the day due to the remnants of Hurricane Sally, NASCAR officials were able to get the half-mile track dried just in time for the 200-lap event which marked the first of seven playoff races for the Truck Series. Stages of 55-55-90 laps made up the three stages. And only one driver, Jennifer Jo Cobb, had to drop to the rear due to unapproved adjustments.
Stage 1: Lap 1 – Lap 55
The action was quick from the start and as early as Lap 5 when playoff driver Austin Hill found trouble after contact with the No. 52 of Stewart Friesen. The contact gave Hill right-rear bumper damage which hurt the handling of the No. 16 Toyota. Eventually, the yellow would fly on Lap 8 when the debris flew off the No. 16.
Throughout the rest of the stage, there were no cautions but a few notable incidents among other playoff drivers. It was reported after the Lap 13 restart that Grant Enfinger faced potential issues as he reported the engine kept shutting off and on. Fast forward to Lap 34, when Friesen had handling problems with his No. 52 truck. Although the issue was never diagnosed throughout the race, the Halmar Friesen Racing team reported the truck could have had an ignition problem.
From there, Brett Moffitt took the stage victory with Tyler Ankrum, Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith, Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Mayer, Derek Kraus, Johnny Sauter, and Christian Eckes completing the Top 10.
Stage 2: Lap 67 – Lap 110
Just one caution slowed the second stage after the No. 30 of Danny Bohn spun off Turn 4 when contact was made with the No. 20 of Spencer Boyd. However, during the caution, playoff driver Creed came to pit road to take fresh tires and adjustments for the No. 2 Chevy but was penalized for being too fast on pit road.
The rest of the stage remained green, only this time Ankrum took the top spot for the Stage 2 victory. Sauter, Moffitt, Zane Smith, Mayer, Kraus, Crafton, Carson Hocevar, Parker Kligerman, and Eckes rounded out the Top 10 finishers.
During the stage break caution, Sauter and Friesen were penalized for being too fast entering pit road and were sent to the rear prior to the Stage 3 restart. Meanwhile, Stage 2 winner Ankrum, missed his pit box the first time coming to pit road as he and the No. 26 team had a miscommunication and Ankrum was forced to come down pit road a second time to finally make his pit stop.
Stage 3: Lap 119 – Lap 200
Like Stage 2, the final stage was surprisingly clean with just a few minor incidents. On Lap 150, Creed and Kraus make notable contact on the backstretch. Despite the contact, both drivers were able to keep racing and no yellow was flown. Unfortunately, the night would only get worse for playoff contender Austin Hill who was involved in an incident seven laps later on Lap 157 when the No. 22 of Austin Wayne Self came up the track and got turned by Hill going into Turn(s) 3 and 4. After the contact, Hill came to pit road to fix the damage but received a penalty for too many men over the pit wall and he also owed NASCAR two laps due to being under the damage vehicle policy from an earlier incident.
The last restart of the night came with 33 to go with Moffitt leading the way. However, it was his GMS Racing teammate, Mayer, who shined under the lights after taking the lead with 29 to go on the backstretch. From there, Mayer had a rocket ship with his No. 24 Chevy and went on to claim his first Truck Series victory with Moffitt following in the second position.
Mayer led just one time for 30 laps.
There were five cautions for 41 laps and four lead changes among three different leaders.
Updated Playoff Grid following Round 1 at Bristol Motor Speedway
- Brett Moffitt, +36
- Sheldon Creed, +28
- Zane Smith, +25
- Grant Enfinger, +24
- Tyler Ankrum, +19
- Matt Crafton, +13
- Ben Rhodes, +6
- Austin Hill, +2
- Christian Eckes, -2
- Todd Gilliland, -8
Official Results following the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
- Sam Mayer, led 30 laps
- Brett Moffitt, led 117 laps, won Stage 1
- Tanner Gray
- Parker Kligerman
- Chandler Smith
- Grant Enfinger
- Tyler Ankrum, led 53 laps, won Stage 2
- Ross Chastain
- Johnny Sauter
- Matt Crafton
- Sheldon Creed
- Christian Eckes
- Ben Rhodes
- Todd Gilliland
- Derek Kraus
- Zane Smith, 1 lap down
- Carson Hocevar, 1 lap down
- Raphael Lessard, 1 lap down
- Camden Murphy, 1 lap down
- Timmy Hill, 3 laps down
- Tate Fogleman, 3 laps down
- Clay Greenfield, 3 laps down
- Jordan Anderson, 3 laps down
- Danny Bohn, 4 laps down
- Austin Hill, 5 laps down
- Josh Bilicki, 8 laps down
- Spencer Boyd, 8 laps down
- Jennifer Jo Cobb, 10 laps down
- Natalie Decker, 14 laps down
- Cody Erickson, 17 laps down
- Codie Rohrbaugh, OUT, Brakes
- Stewart Friesen, 33 laps down
- Austin Wayne Self, OUT, Crash
- Norm Benning, OUT, Suspension
- Josh Reaume, OUT, Suspension
- Trevor Bayne, Originally finished fifth, but was disqualified for failing post-race tech.
Up Next: The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will continue its 2020 Playoff run next Friday, Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, live at 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and MRN Radio.