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NASCAR Truck: Justin Haley scores first win at Gateway

MADISON, IL – JUNE 23: Justin Haley, driver of the #24 Fraternal Order Of Eagles Chevrolet, celebrates with crew member after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 23, 2018 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After 37-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, Justin Haley became a first-time winner in the series Saturday night when he took the checkered flag in the Eaton 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., near St. Louis.

“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid,” Haley said. “Every time you start doubting yourself, you get in a situation like this. I’m about to cry, man; that was amazing. I raced my heart out, and that’s all I’ve worked for my whole life. Thank you to Fraternal Order of Eagles, Todd Braun, everyone, my mom, my family; it’s been an incredible experience, and you never know when you get to race again.”

Haley took the lead from Noah Gragson on a restart and led the final seven laps en route to his win. Those seven laps included a final restart with two laps remaining with Johnny Sauter alongside in second. Todd Gilliland got by Sauter to take second on the final restart to also post a career-best finish.

“I’m pretty happy with where I finished,” Gilliland said. “I guess I need to communicate better what I think I need for the race. The track just changes so much in these trucks compared to the K&N cars. It’s just about keep bringing fast trucks to the race track every week and our finishing positions keep moving up. It’s just about being there at the end, and any time you can be inside the top-five with a green-white-checkered, you’re in a pretty decent spot.”

Sauter finished third. Myatt Snider was fourth, and Zane Smith finished fifth in his Truck Series debut.

After losing the lead to Haley in the closing laps, Gragson wound up 10th after a deflating tire and an unscheduled pit stop. Gragson led a race-high 63 laps, running up front for most of the 90 laps that made up the third and final stage of the 160-lap race. Brett Moffitt, though, did take the lead from him on a restart near the halfway point of the race and led 18 laps before his crew had difficulty fueling his truck, and he had to return to pit road because of the issue.

Grant Enfinger won the first 35-lap stage and Christian Eckes the second. After starting on the pole, Enfinger led the entire opening stage. Then, Eckes took the lead during the caution between the first two stages through pit strategy and led the remainder of the second.

Both drivers had trouble after their stage wins, though. Enfinger suffered multiple tire problems, the last resulting in an unscheduled pit stop in the final 20 laps. Enfinger was caught up in an incident with Stewart Friesen soon after his stage win. Friesen was able to continue, but Eckes retired to the garage after leading 34 laps.

Other top-10 finishers included Chad Finley in sixth, Jesse Little in seventh, Riley Herbst eighth and Cody Coughlin ninth.

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Posted by on June 24, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Camping World Truck. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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