Corey Heim may have been the only driver entering this race already locked into the Championship 4, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t going for it. He looked to have the fastest truck in the field but after winning both Stage 1 and Stage 2, he fell back.
A plethora of tire strategies played out throughout the final run of the race. Ben Rhodes pitted under the final yellow in order to get slightly fresher tires than the rest of the field. He then charged forward, and ran extremely long to the finish in an aggressive move to narrowly escape elimination.
While Hocevar took the win, reigning Truck champ Zane Smith finished second and was knocked out of the playoffs. Rhodes held on for third, advancing by just one point over Nick Sanchez.
Grant Enfinger will join Heim, Hocevar, and Rhodes in the fight for the crown at Phoenix.
Along with Sanchez and Smith, Ty Majeski and Christian Eckes were also eliminated. Eckes appeared to be in a strong position, but a speeding penalty during the final stop derailed his efforts. Sanchez also lost several positions during the final pit sequence after colliding with another truck at pit entry.
UPDATE: After the race, NASCAR announced Smith’s No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford had been disqualified for violating NASCAR Rule Book number 14.4.7.I Windshield Support. The truck will be taken back to the R&D Center in Concord, N.C. The disqualification does not change the playoff results.
Front Row Motorsports released the following statement: “We are disappointed in the disqualification from today’s NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series event. We will continue to work and discuss with NASCAR officials back at the NACAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C. before making any further comment.”