The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season ended with a literal flash as lightning cut short Saturday’s United Rentals 176 at Watkins Glen International with twelve laps remaining. Austin Hill was the leader at the time of the delay, enabling him to score his second win of the year.
Hill started on the pole in the first Truck race at WGI since 2000, and he led the first four laps before Todd Gilliland took the spot. Gilliland, who won the most recent road race at COTA in May, would score the stage win ahead of Sheldon Creed, Derek Kraus, Josh Berry, Austin Wayne Self, A.J. Allmendinger, Paul Menard, Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes, and Ryan Truex. NASCAR newcomer Chad Chastain produced the lone caution of the stage when his truck stopped on lap seven.
The second stage ran green the entire distance as the lead was exchanged between Jack Wood, Carson Hocevar, Zane Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, and Hill. Hill would take the stage win ahead of Nemechek, Allmendinger, Smith, Creed, Tyler Ankrum, Hocevar, Gilliland, Ben Rhodes, and Sam Mayer.
As Hill continued to lead, Nemechek and Creed ran behind him. After a caution on lap 53 for Kraus spinning after contact with Allmendinger in turn four, ending the former’s playoff hopes, a red flag came on lap 60 for lightning. Despite efforts to wait out the storm, worries about clashing with the Xfinity Series race looming later in the day prompted NASCAR to call the race.
Albeit shortened by weather, the win is Hill’s second in a row after winning a month prior at Knoxville and his first on a road course. With a tenth-place finish, Hocevar locked himself into the playoffs alongside fellow rookie Chandler Smith. Although Smith, who crossed the finish in eighteenth, was eventually disqualified for failing post-race heights, he still qualifies for the playoffs.
“It was nervewracking, that’s for sure,” said Hill. “I didn’t know if we were going to go back green or not, but it feels so good to win on a road course. I’ve been wanting to win on a road course for a really long time—even back in the K&N (Pro Series, now ARCA Menards Series East/West) days, I felt like I would get around the road course fairly decent and finally we had a race that does everything we needed to do. I was really biting my nails there and then when that rain came and I didn’t know what was going to happen with the lightning and all that.”
Nemechek will enter the playoffs as the points leader after winning the regular season championship. Hill, Rhodes, Gilliland, and Creed are the other five drivers in the ten-person grid with race wins and are seeded as such. Smith, Matt Crafton, Hocevar, Smith, and Stewart Friesen round out the lineup.
UPDATE: Article has been updated to include Smith’s post-race inspection failure
|1||1||16||Austin Hill||Hattori Racing Enterprises||Toyota||61||Running|
|2||6||4||John Hunter Nemechek||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||61||Running|
|3||19||2||Sheldon Creed||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|4||2||38||Todd Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||61||Running|
|5||38||75||Parker Kligerman||Henderson Motorsports||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|6||8||21||Zane Smith||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|7||10||26||Tyler Ankrum||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|8||39||66||Paul Menard||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||61||Running|
|9||40||32||Sam Mayer*||Bret Holmes Racing||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|10||9||42||Carson Hocevar||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|11||21||25||Josh Berry*||Rackley WAR||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|12||23||02||Kaz Grala||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|13||15||98||Christian Eckes||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||61||Running|
|14||22||15||Tanner Gray||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||61||Running|
|15||5||99||Ben Rhodes||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||61||Running|
|16||20||22||Austin Wayne Self||AM Racing||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|17||12||40||Ryan Truex||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|18||16||51||Corey Heim||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||61||Running|
|19||18||1||Hailie Deegan||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||61||Running|
|20||17||52||Stewart Friesen||Halmar Friesen Racing||Toyota||61||Running|
|21||7||19||Derek Kraus||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Toyota||61||Running|
|22||4||88||Matt Crafton||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||61||Running|
|23||14||13||Johnny Sauter||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||61||Running|
|24||36||56||Timmy Hill||Hill Motorsports||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|25||27||24||Jack Wood||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|26||13||12||Tate Fogleman||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|27||25||23||A.J. Allmendinger*||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|28||11||30||Danny Bohn||On Point Motorsports||Toyota||61||Running|
|29||35||3||Bobby Reuse||Jordan Anderson Racing||Chevrolet||61||Running|
|30||37||49||Roger Reuse||CMI Motorsports||Ford||60||Running|
|31||33||33||Josh Reaume||Reaume Brothers Racing||Toyota||60||Running|
|32||24||34||Lawless Alan||Reaume Brothers Racing||Toyota||60||Running|
|33||34||20||Spencer Boyd||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||59||Running|
|34||31||45||Chad Chastain||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||58||Running|
|35||32||17||Taylor Gray||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||53||Running|
|36||28||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing||Ford||45||Running|
|37||26||6||Norm Benning||Norm Benning Racing||Chevrolet||40||Too Slow|
|38||30||9||Grant Enfinger||CR7 Motorsports||Chevrolet||8||Transmission|
|39||29||41||Will Rodgers*||Cram Racing Enterprises||Chevrolet||6||Transmission|
|40||3||18||Chandler Smith||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||61||Running (DSQ)|
* – Ineligible for Truck points