Ending a long winless streak, Ben Rhodes took the lead on the final lap to win the Gander Trucks SC Lottery 200
For a track that has the reputation of being too tough to tame, it was. And for the drivers who had never seen Darlington Raceway before, you would think they were veterans. The Gander Trucks SC Lottery 200 was as clean a race as one would get with no practice or qualifying, and it was Ben Rhodes who proved to have the best truck at the end.
It was the first win for the Louisville native this year and ended a winless streak that dates back to July 12, 2018. That came at his home track, Kentucky Speedway, 48 races ago.
Sheldon Creed had more than a second cushion on the way to his fourth trophy of the year before a caution came out with three to go forcing overtime. Creed’s crew chief called for him to pit to change all four tires and get fuel, but he never got a chance to run down the trucks that stayed out. He got caught speeding on entry and wound up at the end in 18th.
On the overtime restart, Derek Kraus got a big push from Grant Enfinger to take the lead, but as the field was coming to the white flag, Ben Rhodes made it stick on the outside to take the lead. He would pull away and cross the finish line by 0.785 seconds.
Rounding out the top-five was Kraus, Austin Hill, Grant Enfinger, and Christian Eckes.
With one race left in the regular season, there are just two playoff spots open after Christian Eckes clinched a spot on points during the race. Now three drivers, Tyler Ankrum, Todd Gilliland, and Derek Kraus, will fight it out for those spots. That could change is someone outside the top-ten wins at Richmond next week.
GANDER TRUCKS SC LOTTERY 200 PRERACE NOTES
The Gander Trucks SC Lottery 200 at Darlington Raceway is a realigned race initially scheduled for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend. The Gander Truck Series will be making just its seventh appearance at the South Carolina venue. The previous six were 2001-04 and 2010-11. Additionally, no driver in those races has won from the pole.
Two drivers, Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne were making their first starts of the year in any of NASCAR’s three touring series. Biffle had one start a year ago, and it was a win at Texas in the Truck Series. Bayne’s last race was in 2018, also in Texas, but in the Cup Series.
LAP 1 (of 147): Brett Moffitt (pole) and Sheldon Creed (series-best three wins) leads the field to the green flag.
LAP 4: Bryant Barnhill suffers significant damage to his No. 33 Tundra following a hard hit into the wall in Turn 3. It appeared his right-front tire was down before the incident. No free pass. Restart Lap 11.
LAP 20: Competition Caution. Top-ten before pit stops: Creed, Moffitt, Hill, Z Smith, Rhodes, Lessard, Crafton, Majeski, Ankrum, Gilliland. Jennifer Jo Cobb gets the free pass. Timmy Hill does not pit and restarts P1 and immediately drops out of top-20. Restart Lap 26.
LAP 45: Stage 1 ends with Brett Moffitt claiming his first stage win of the year. David Ragan, in his first Trucks start since 2006, finished fifth. Biffle 17th and Bayne three laps down after coming to the pits when closed (pit penalty) with a suspension issue. With his ninth-place finish, Christian Eckes clinches playoff spot on points. Cody Rohrbaugh gets the free pass. Restart Lap 52.
GANDER TRUCKS SC LOTTERY 200 RACE BREAKDOWN – STAGE 2
LAP 90: End Stage 2. Clean and green throughout. Sheldon Creed picks up his fifth stage win of the year. Only three trucks retired: Bryan Barnhill, Dawson Cram, and Norm Benning. Austin Wayne Self the Lucky Dog. Restart Lap 98 with 21 trucks on the lead lap.
GANDER TRUCKS SC LOTTERY 200 RACE BREAKDOWN – STAGE 3
LAP 102: Tyler Ankrum slides up the track and makes contact with the rear of Zane Smith, sending him into a spin in Turn 2, bringing out the caution. Both trucks suffered damage but were still able to continue. Bayley Currey is back on the lead lap with the free pass. Restart Lap 107 (40 to go) as Brett Moffitt shoots out to a half-second lead. Johnny Sauter is the last truck on the lead lap in 22nd.
LAP 122: Tanner Gray loses rear end and catches the back end of Zane Smith’s No. 21 Silverado in Turn 1, adding to the damage he suffered in the Lap 102 incident. Clay Greenfield gets the free pass. Restart Lap 129 (18 to go).
LAP 144 (3 to go): Josh Reaume would bring out the caution after contact with David Ragan forcing overtime. Sheldon Creed surrendered the lead when he came in for four tires and gas, a questionable move considering he had better than a one-second lead. His chance to win his fourth disappeared after he got caught speeding on entry to the pits. That would leave the door open for Ben Rhodes to win it with a last-lap pass.
STAGE 1-2 TOP 10 FINISHERS – LAPS 45 / 90
1 – Moffitt, A Hill, Creed, Ben Rhodes, Ragan, Crafton, Ankrum, Lessard, Eckes, Z Smith
2 – Creed, Moffitt, A Hill, Ben Rhodes, Ragan, Lessard, Ankrum, Crafton, Gilliland, Z Smith
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