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NASCAR Truck: Justin Haley wins in first playoff race

BOWMANVILLE, ON – AUGUST 26: Justin Haley, driver of the #24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet, celebrates his victory at the 6th Annual Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Mosport Park on August 26, 2018 in Bowmanville, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2018 playoff contender Justin Haley got a leg up on the competition Sunday, winning the postseason-opening Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

“That was amazing. I knew going in there, (Noah) Gragson was probably going to do something not the smartest. That was going to line us up pretty good,” Haley said. “I saw it coming and I knew we were in the catbird’s seat.”

Haley was third in the running order for the final restart that set the race up for a two-lap sprint to the win. But the first two trucks in the running order, driven by Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson, made contact and spun in the final turn of the final lap while racing for the lead and the win.

“Should never have let him (Gragson) get to me,” Gilliland said. “Should have just given him the inside, maybe let him wreck himself. I don’t know. He’s done that to me on like five or six road courses. It sucks. We had the fastest truck, and we didn’t win again. I’m going to have to talk to him for sure.”

Gilliland was the leader prior to the contact. He wound up 11th at the checkered flag. Gragson still managed a top-10 finish, finishing ninth.

“I’d go fight him right now, but I can’t,” Gilliland said. “I just need to get my emotions in check and go talk to him, but I’m extremely mad.”

John Hunter Nemechek finished second and Brett Moffitt was third. Timothy Peters finished fourth as the third driver of the No. 25 GMS Racing Chevrolet in less than a week. Matt Crafton rounded out the top-five.

Gragson led a race-high 35 laps, mostly in the two 20-lap stages that made up the first 40-laps of the race that was scheduled for 64 laps but was extended an extra lap by an overtime restart. He won both stages.

After Ben Rhodes started on the pole and led the first six laps, Gragson took the lead on lap seven and led the remainder of the first stage. Peters, though, was up front early in stage two with a strategy of splitting the race in half and only pitting once at the halfway mark. After staying out between stages one and two, he led the first few laps of the second stage before Gragson retook the lead.

Pit strategy cost Gragson the lead, again, after the second stage. Johnny Sauter was among the drivers who pitted during a caution that came out at the halfway point of the race and opted to stay out the remaining distance. As a result, he was the leader in the opening laps of the third stage.

Gilliland got up to second on the next restart inside the final 15 laps of the race, and a few laps later, he took the lead and Gragson moved into second. Sauter was back in sixth by the checkered flag.

Other top-10 finishers included Stewart Friesen in seventh, Austin Hill in eighth and Alex Tagliani in 10th.

Rhodes was the only playoff driver to finish the race outside the top-10. He wound up 14th after spinning in the final two laps.

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Posted by on August 27, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR,NASCAR Gander Outdoors 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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