NASCAR Truck Series

Zane Smith sneaks into Truck Championship Round with United Rentals 200 win

2 Mins read
Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Somehow, some way, Zane Smith will fight for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. Despite entering the last race at Martinsville Speedway before the season finale outside of the top four and with just one top-five finish, he slipped into the lead as a wreck took out the leaders on the final lap to clinch his first win of the season and a spot in the Championship Round. It is his second time in as many years in which he made the final round, and he hopes to improve a spot from his runner-up points finish in 2020.

The Truck Series has drawn scrutiny throughout the season for its high frequency of wrecks, which many have chalked up to inexperience as the lowest tier of NASCAR’s three national divisions or even a lack of mutual respect between drivers. In any case, Saturday’s United Rentals 200 did little to reduce those comments as thirteen cautions (excluding the yellow to signal the end of Stage #2) were waved, resulting in an average of just 8.2 laps being run under green.

Some of the incidents took out playoff contenders, most notably with John Hunter Nemechek being turned by non-playoff driver Austin Wayne Self into the wall on lap 131. Although he retired and finished thirty-ninth, his domination of the season leading up to the race kept him above the cut line.

“(Self) shouldn’t be out here if he’s just going to hook someone in the right rear and turn them in the fence,” said Nemechek. “NASCAR should definitely look at that. It’s playoff contention. You’ve got to have respect and he doesn’t.”

Other wrecks were compounded by the overall physical nature of short track racing, as was the case with Parker Kligerman spinning Johnny Sauter on lap 178 in retaliation for vice versa occurring twenty laps earlier. Both incidents resulted in cautions.

Perhaps the most pivotal incident came in overtime after Corey Heim and Dawson Cram wrecked. Todd Gilliland, who had dominated the event, faced challenges from Smith and Stewart Friesen, both of whom were fighting to get into the final round. After a lap of battling, Friesen bounced off the wall coming to the white flag and clipped Gilliland before spinning himself entering turn one. Smith committed to the inside to take the lead as the caution came out, securing his first win of the year and qualify for the final round.

With a driver outside the top four winning, Smith leapfrogged reigning champion Sheldon Creed for one of the final spots. Despite not having a win, Matt Crafton finished fifth to join Smith, Nemechek, and Ben Rhodes. Crafton is seeking his fourth title, which would tie him with Ron Hornaday Jr. for the most in Truck history.

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
1921Zane SmithGMS RacingChevrolet204Running
21016Austin HillHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota204Running
32715Tanner GrayDavid Gilliland RacingFord204Running
4618Chandler SmithKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota204Running
5588Matt CraftonThorSport RacingToyota204Running
63075Parker KligermanHenderson MotorsportsChevrolet204Running
7399Ben RhodesThorSport RacingToyota204Running
83917Taylor GrayDavid Gilliland RacingFord204Running
942Sheldon CreedGMS RacingChevrolet204Running
102456Timmy HillHill MotorsportsChevrolet204Running
112851Corey HeimKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota204Running
12842Carson HocevarNiece MotorsportsChevrolet204Running
132602Kris WrightYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet204Running
141430Danny BohnOn Point MotorsportsToyota204Running
151820Spencer BoydYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet204Running
163745Chris HackerNiece MotorsportsChevrolet204Running
17752Stewart FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota204Running
181212Tate FoglemanYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet204Running
19231Hailie DeeganDavid Gilliland RacingFord204Running
202122Austin Wayne SelfAM RacingChevrolet204Running
211598Grant EnfingerThorSport RacingToyota204Running
222032Bret HolmesBret Holmes RacingChevrolet204Running
233341Dawson CramCram Racing EnterprisesChevrolet204Running
241719Derek KrausMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingToyota204Running
25238Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord203Running
261926Tyler AnkrumGMS RacingChevrolet203Running
273424Jack WoodGMS RacingChevrolet203Running
282525Josh Berry*Rackley WARChevrolet203Running
293611Spencer DavisSpencer Davis MotorsportsToyota202Running
303833Jesse IwujiReaume Brothers RacingToyota202Running
312213Johnny SauterThorSport RacingToyota201Running
32313Sage Karam*Jordan Anderson RacingChevrolet200Running
331140Ryan TruexNiece MotorsportsChevrolet198Running
343534Josh ReaumeReaume Brothers RacingToyota198Running
354049Roger ReuseCMI MotorsportsFord193Running
363210Jennifer Jo CobbJennifer Jo Cobb RacingFord190Running
371604Cory RoperRoper RacingFord188Running
38299Colby Howard*CR7 MotorsportsChevrolet174Running
3914John Hunter NemechekKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota129Accident
401323Chase PurdyGMS RacingChevrolet33Rear Gear
Bold – Currently in playoffs
Underline – Eliminated from playoffs
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Truck points
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History major at San Jose State University and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
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