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NASCAR Truck: Zane Smith keeps title hopes alive with Martinsville win

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – OCTOBER 30: Zane Smith, driver of the #21 MRC Construction Chevrolet, celebrates in the Ruoff Mortgage victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series United Rentals 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2021 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT


Zane Smith needed to win the United Rentals 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Saturday to be among the four drivers racing for the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship next weekend at Phoenix Raceway. After Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen wrecked at the white flag, Smith completed his assignment to advance to the championship round.


“I did not want Todd in front of me. I got shoved from being by the 16 (Austin Hill), so it wasn’t all me,” Smith said. “I’m looking for a job; right now I have nothing. I haven’t been able to sleep right since last year, and I’ll do whatever it takes to win the damn thing.”

Smith’s competition for the season title at Phoenix will include ThorSport Racing teammates Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton, along with regular-season champ John Hunter Nemechek, despite Nemechek’s early exit ftom the race because of a crash resulting from contact from Austin Wayne Self on lap 130 of the race that was scheduled for 200 laps but extended to 204 laps by an overtime restart.


“He (Self) shouldn’t be out here if he’s just going to hook someone in the right rear and turn them in the fence,” Nemechek said. “NASCAR should definitely look at that. It’s playoff contention. You’ve got to have respect, and he doesn’t. It is what it is. Hopefully, we make it to the final four, and we definitely will have something for them in Phoenix.”


Austin Hill finished second at Martinsville, Tanner Gray was third, Chandler Smith fourth, and Crafton rounded out the top-five.


Despite the top-five race finish, Chandler Smith was eliminated from championship contention, along with Friesen, reigning Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed and Carson Hocevar.


Creed missed advancement by a four-point deficit to Nemechek.


After Nemechek started on the pole and Todd Gilliland alongside in second, Gilliland dominated the first 100 laps of the race, including stage wins on laps 50 and 100. Nemechek ran in the top-three throughout the first half of the race and led the only two laps not led by Gilliland in the first two stages, leading those two laps after a lap-72 restart.


Pit strategies varied at the halfway point of the race. While drivers including Gilliland and Nemechek pitted after stage two completed, drivers including Zane Smith and Hocevar stayed out to restart up front for the second half of the race after making pit stops during a lap-80 debris caution.

Hocevar was penalized for jumping a restart from a lap-142 caution as Zane Smith continued to lead.


Gilliland retook the lead on lap 174. In all, he led a race-high 133 laps by the checkered flag and finished 25th.

Parker Kligerman finished sixth at Martinsville, Rhodes was seventh and Taylor Gray eighth. Creed finished ninth after pitting during a lap-185 caution. Timmy Hill rounded out the top-10.


The yellow flag waved 13 times in Saturday’s race, including eight cautions for on-track incidents in the second half of the race.

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Posted by on October 30, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Camping World Truck Series,Featured,NASCAR. 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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