Truck Series Drivers Avoid ‘Event Horizon’ During Charlotte Race

Getty Ben Rhodes (front) races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Craftsman Truck Series drivers have a reputation for making overly aggressive moves while battling for the win. This was not the case at Charlotte Motor Speedway as they avoided the point of no return.

The Truck Series race on May 26 was a relatively tame affair. The first two stages went caution free and then the third only had three small incidents. The drivers were able to complete the final 25 laps without any hectic restarts, which greatly surprised winner Ben Rhodes.

“The funny thing is I think drivers are starting to get to a point where they know how far they can push the envelope,” Rhodes told media members after celebrating his win. “They get right to the event horizon without getting pulled into the wreck and then they back off, so they’re really good at figuring that out right now.

“I just hope we can keep that up, but the moves are still like uber-aggressive. It’s tough to deal with sometimes and then keeping calm when that happens you’ve just got to chalk it up to say it’s good hard racing, I suppose.”

This Race Marked a Change From North Wilkesboro Speedway

GettyTruck Series drivers avoided late incidents at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

There have been many examples of veteran drivers pointing out the “idiotic” moves made by younger drivers in the Craftsman Truck Series field. Matt Crafton even did so after the trip to North Wilkesboro Speedway when he said that the “kids” don’t use their brains.

Crafton made these comments after a short track race where there were nine cautions for cause. Though one was due to Conner Jones intentionally bringing out the caution. The rest were multi-truck incidents. The veteran also spent five laps in an aggressive battle with Carson Hocevar.

North Wilkesboro Speedway was a fitting representation of recent Truck Series races. There were good, hard battles between some drivers, and there were some wild moves between others that led to wrecks.

The race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the opposite. There were long, green flag runs, and the drivers avoided late-race incidents by showing some respect for each other. This prevented late restarts and the potential carnage that has become routine.

“On that many laps until the end, you start getting a little nervous,” Rhodes added. “A caution flag is gonna come out and every single doubt goes through your head that something is gonna happen.

“I just knew that if a caution came out we’d be in trouble just because the Truck Series is savage restarts. Everybody just goes so crazy. They don’t care about finishing the race. They just care about winning the race, so I was really worried about a restart, but, thankfully for us, we had really good long run speed built into the truck with the last pit stop.”

More Tests Remain for Truck Series Drivers

GettyCorey Heim does a burnout after winning at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was a solid step in the right direction for the third-tier NASCAR series. Now, the biggest question is whether they can keep making progress in the upcoming races.

The next challenge will be World Wide Technology Raceway. The drivers will take on the 1.25-mile track for the 23rd time while battling for the all-important win and a spot in the playoffs.

There have been several “clean” races at WWT Raceway in the past, as evidenced by the 10 that had five or fewer cautions. This includes the race in 2020 that had three cautions for incidents and two for stage breaks. Sheldon Creed won and captured the $50,000 bonus during the Triple Truck Challenge event.

Following the trip to WWT Raceway, there will be a date with Nashville Superspeedway. The current Truck Series field has only competed at the 1.33-mile track twice after it returned from a 10-year hiatus, and its members have kept the number of cautions in the single digits.

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