The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series raced at Nashville Superspeedway on Friday, June 18, for the first time in a decade. This race kicked off a stacked weekend and featured wild moments, as well as some violent collisions. Cup Series driver Ryan Preece did not lead the most laps, but he took control at the perfect time, walking away with the custom Gibson guitar.
A wild battle ensued on the track with fewer than 20 laps remaining in the race. Grant Enfinger had the lead in the No. 98 ThorSport Toyota Tundra, but he had to deal with a hard-charging Preece. The Cup Series driver continued to fight for position, testing multiple lanes until there were only four laps remaining. Preece managed to overtake Enfinger and then he proceeded to build up a large lead en route to his first career Truck Series win.
Todd Gilliland also made moves of his own after receiving a pre-race penalty that sent him to the rear of the field. The driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford F-150 put himself in contention for a top-three finish while driving one of the fastest trucks in the field. He managed to pass Enfinger with fewer than five laps remaining and secured a second-place finish.
While Preece has 59 Xfinity Series starts on his career resume, as well as more than two full-time seasons in Cup, he had never competed in the Truck Series. However, he did not deal with any rookie issues. Preece performed well during the Rackley Roofing 200, working his way up through the field and capping off a truly memorable return to Nashville Superspeedway.
An Unexpected Issue Derailed William Byron’s Promising Outing
Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron took part in Friday’s race at Nashville in order to gain some experience at a track new to him. He struggled during the early practice sessions but readjusted to the No. 27 Rackley W.A.R. Chevrolet Silverado and posted one of the best laps in the field.
Byron continued to perform at a high level during the first two stages of the Truck Series race, racing in the top 10. He was running sixth in Stage 2 when an unexpected issue derailed his evening. A massive cloud of smoke poured out of Byron’s No. 27 Chevrolet, sending him to the garages.
According to play-by-play man Vince Welch, the engine “expired” as Byron took laps around the 1.33-mile concrete oval. Byron later told Fox Sports reporter Jamie Little that the truck had “stumbled” a few times early in the race. He initially thought that the issues were the wind, but he later realized that something was wrong with the engine.
With the engine ruined, Byron could only head back to the hauler disappointed that he couldn’t complete the race. However, he did gain some crucial experience at the concrete oval before watching his night come to an end. He will now enter the Ally 400 on Sunday, June 20, better prepared for the concrete oval outside of Nashville.
A Dream Afternoon Came to an End With a Hard Hit
When the Truck Series drivers headed to the green flag on Friday evening, a new person led the way. Derek Kraus, the driver of the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Toyota Tundra, sat on the pole for the first time in his career after posting the fastest lap in qualifying.
Kraus started the race at the front of the pack, and he proceeded to lead the way throughout the first stage. The 19-year-old won Stage 1 and continued to put on an impressive performance during Stage 2.
Unfortunately for Kraus, his night came to an early end after contact with Josh Berry’s No. 25 Rackley W.A.R. Chevrolet Silverado. Kraus tried to move up the track and take a spot in front of Berry, but there was not enough room. The front of Berry’s No. 25 contacted the rear of the No. 19 and sent Kraus violently into the wall.
The collision cut Kraus’ tire and sent sparks shooting into the air. The No. 19 came to a stop against the wall while the caution flag waved in the air. The young driver was able to climb from the destroyed truck, but he needed to lean against it for some time before entering the ambulance for the trip to the infield care center.
With only three races remaining in the regular season, Kraus has to make some moves to reach the playoffs. He will not have enough opportunities to build up points and leap from 15th in the standings to a playoff spot. His only way to contend for the championship will be to take the checkered flag.