The Gander Trucks ToyotaCare 250 regular-season finale goes to Grant Enfinger as the playoff field is set
Eight have clinched, two spots open, one race left. The Gander Trucks ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway Thursday night would set the playoff field, and, as usual, the final race of the regular season would be a battle down to the wire. There would be no upset winner because Grant Enfinger would come home first, so it was points that would decide spots nine and ten.
There would be just six trucks on the lead lap at the end, and Tyler Ankrum was one ending up fifth, claiming the tenth and final spot. Even though he finished 17th, Todd Gilliland had enough to take ninth.
For Enfinger, it was his third victory of the year. Sandwiched around a win at Atlanta, he took the checkers in the opener at Daytona and closed out the regular season at Richmond.
Enfinger would lead a trip of ThorSport Racing trucks with Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes second and third, respectively. It was the first time any organization in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series had a 1-2-3 finish.
The playoff picture looks like this. Sheldon Creed (2,026 points), Zane Smith (-4), Austin Hill (-4), Grand Enfinger (-7), Brett Moffitt (-11), Ben Rhodes (-12), Matt Crafton (-17), Christian Eckes (-21), Todd Gilliland (-23) and Tyler Ankrum (-24). The first round of the playoffs begins next week at Bristol Motor Speedway, followed by Las Vegas and Talladega.
All trucks cleared, so no one has to go to the rear. There was no competition caution despite no practice or qualifying.
LAP 1 of 250: Austin Hill (pole) and Ben Rhodes lead the field to green.
LAP 53: Tim Viens spins and stalls on the backstretch, contact with Ray Ciccarelli, to bring out the first caution. It would knock him out of the race. The No. 02 of Tate Fogleman gets the free pass. Twenty trucks on the lead lap. In his second start of the year, the No. 45 Silverado of Trevor Bayne has trouble again and headed to the garage. Restart Lap 62.
LAP 70: End of Stage 1. Todd Gilliland is on the bubble and did not pick up any stage points. Rookie Derek Kraus in 11th picked up five. Stewart Friesen in 14th picked up six but is still on the outside looking in. Raphael Lessard held on pit row for pitting outside his box, while Chandler Smith goes to the back of the field for choose-rule violation. Cody Rohrbaugh gets the free pass. Restart Lap 83. Top-five: Z Smith, Grant Enfinger, Kraus, Friesen, and Rhodes.
LAP 115: Bubble playoff contender Derek Kraus gets lapped and was in the Lucky Dog spot before falling behind Cody Rohrbaugh. Ben Rhodes is the new race leader opening up a one-second lead on Grant Enfinger.
LAP 140: End of Stage 2. With his third-place finish, Austin Hill has won 16 points thus far driving the No. 16 Tundra, which is enough for him to claim the regular-season title, plus an additional 15 bonus points. Cody Rohrbaugh receives his second Lucky Dog. Restart Lap 153.
FINAL STAGE RUN TO THE END FOR GRANT ENFINGER
LAP 158: Grant Enfinger pits to pull out the body from his left rear tire after he made contact with his teammate Ben Rhodes. He lost a lap but positioned in the free pass spot in P18.
LAP 173: Good news for Grant Enfinger. Austin Wayne Self spins, bringing out the yellow flag, allowing him to get back on the lead lap. Leaders don’t pit, but Tyler Ankrum did putting him on a different pit strategy than Todd Gilliland, who is fighting for a playoff spot. With 70 to go, Gilliland is up 23, Ankrum +15, and Derek Kraus -15 for those final two spots. Restart Lap 183 (67 to go).
LAP 235 (15 to go): Matt Crafton holds a one-second lead over Grant Enfinger. The last thing he wants to see is a caution with trucks behind him with a set of new tires waiting for use. Enfinger takes the lead with seven to go after an opening was caused by lap traffic. Both trucks had a massive lead on Ben Rhodes in third, but Enfinger had no trouble taking the checkers.
STAGE 1-2 TOP 10 FINISHERS – LAPS 70 / 140
1 – Z Smith, Grant Enfinger, A Hill, Rhodes, Friesen, Kraus, Mayer, Moffitt, Eckes, Fogleman
2 – Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Austin Hill, Ragan, Z Smith, Moffitt, Crafton, Creed, T Gilliland, Timmy Hill
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