Bulky NASCAR Camping World Trucks on the twists and turns of Circuit of the Americas? What could go wrong?
For Zane Smith, not a whole lot. He won the first two stages of Saturday’s XPEL 225 and snuck by overtime contact involving leaders Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, and Stewart Friesen to win his second race of the season.
Xfinity Series rookie and 2020 Truck champion Sheldon Creed won the pole, but never had a chance as his #20 truck was plagued by mechanical issues throughout the weekend: a fuel pump change dropped him to the rear for the green flag, and he had worked his way up to the top ten in two laps before a transmission failure resulted in retirement. He is just the third pole-sitter in Truck Series history to finish last after Rich Bickle at Colorado 1996 and David Reutimann at Homestead 2005. With Creed out of the picture, the lead was held by Cup Series regulars as Bowman led the opening lap before Busch claimed it. Although Busch led much of the first stage, he and much of the field pitted before its conclusion which cycled the top spot to Smith. Smith, whose Front Row Motorsports team won the inaugural Truck race at COTA with Todd Gilliland in 2021, claimed the stage victory ahead of Friesen, Ben Rhodes, Derek Kraus, Tyler Ankrum, Matt DiBenedetto, Timmy Hill, Christian Eckes, Busch, and Parker Kligerman.
Dean Thompson‘s truck lost power shortly after Stage #2 began to produce the first race-related caution. Over the ensuing laps, multiple drivers spun or went off course, which culminated in another yellow flag for Chase Purdy spinning Matt Crafton through the gravel. Crafton retaliated later in the stage while Smith spun John Hunter Nemechek for the lead and eventual stage win. Rhodes, Kraus, Chandler Smith, DiBenedetto, Friesen, Carson Hocevar, Hill, and Kligerman followed.
Hailie Deegan‘s difficult month—which consisted of a crash at Las Vegas, a power steering failure in the Mint 400, and a ghastly fire at Atlanta—continued as her truck stopped twice on lap 29 for the next caution. DiBenedetto was the next victim four laps later when his rear end failed.
Another restart came with seven laps remaining as Busch led Hocevar, though Friesen quickly got by the latter. Bowman overtook Friesen for second two laps later. A clusters of spinners and Matt Jaskol‘s stopped vehicle activated overtime with three laps remaining.
Busch and Bowman comprised the front row to begin overtime, though they only completed half a circuit before the caution came out for Kaz Grala‘s beached truck. A second try saw Busch clear the field while Friesen got by Bowman, but Bowman attempted a move down Friesen and Busch’s inside that sent all three drivers wide and allowed Zane Smith to slip by for the lead. Busch, who had choice words about Bowman when he won the Cup race at Las Vegas, was approached by him following the race before telling media, “I felt like we deserved that one, but it doesn’t matter if you deserve it or not. It’s just a matter if you get it. You have to be the first one to the checkered flag to win these things and we just weren’t.”
“52 (Friesen) just turned left when I was inside of him and put us at an angle where neither one of us way [sic] going to make the corner,” Bowman tweeted (followed by a pair of replies correcting the grammatical error).
As Bowman fought with Nemechek for second, Smith ran off with the victory. It is the fifth of his career and first on a road course.
|1||2||38||Zane Smith||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||46||Running|
|2||11||4||John Hunter Nemechek||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||46||Running|
|3||5||51||Kyle Busch*||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||46||Running|
|4||13||99||Ben Rhodes||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|5||12||18||Chandler Smith||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||46||Running|
|6||8||98||Christian Eckes||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|7||10||16||Tyler Ankrum||Hattori Racing Enterprises||Toyota||46||Running|
|8||6||42||Carson Hocevar||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|9||7||52||Stewart Friesen||Halmar Friesen Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|10||16||23||Grant Enfinger||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|11||24||45||Lawless Alan||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|12||14||19||Derek Kraus||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|13||20||88||Matt Crafton||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|14||18||02||Kaz Grala||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|15||17||44||Kris Wright||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|16||22||61||Chase Purdy||Hattori Racing Enterprises||Toyota||46||Running|
|17||28||15||Tanner Gray||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||46||Running|
|18||31||30||Tate Fogleman||On Point Motorsports||Toyota||46||Running|
|19||4||75||Parker Kligerman||Henderson Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|20||32||43||Brad Pérez||Reaume Brothers Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|21||34||33||Will Rodgers*||Reaume Brothers Racing||Toyota||46||Running|
|22||25||56||Timmy Hill||Hill Motorsports||Toyota||46||Running|
|23||30||12||Spencer Boyd||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|24||26||91||Colby Howard||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|25||3||7||Alex Bowman*||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||46||Running|
|26||9||17||Taylor Gray||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||46||Running|
|27||15||22||Austin Wayne Self||AM Racing||Chevrolet||45||Running|
|28||21||37||Logan Bearden||AM Racing||Chevrolet||42||Fuel Pump|
|29||33||40||Dean Thompson||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||40||Running|
|30||19||66||Ty Majeski||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||39||Running|
|31||36||25||Matt DiBenedetto||Rackley WAR||Chevrolet||32||Rear Gear|
|32||27||24||Jack Wood||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||31||DVP|
|33||35||46||Matt Jaskol||G2G Racing||Toyota||30||Electrical|
|34||23||1||Hailie Deegan||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||29||Accident|
|35||29||9||Blaine Perkins||CR7 Motorsports||Chevrolet||3||Transmission|
|36||1||20||Sheldon Creed*||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||1||Drivetrain|
|DNQ||79||John Atwell||Atwell Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||5||Tyler Hill||Hill Motorsports||Toyota|
|DNQ||47||Samuel Lecomte||G2G Racing||Toyota|
* – Ineligible for Truck points