Hill Wins Michigan Truck Race as the Playoff Field is Set
BROOKLYN, MI – RIS – It was the last race before the playoffs were determined. The Gander Outdoors Truck Series as at the two mile Michigan Motor Speedway. If a new winner crossed the finish line, former champion Matt Crafton would miss the playoffs. It came down to the last lap in overtime for the Corrigan Oil 200, but previous winner Austin Hill won the race as Hill held off a hard charging Sheldon Creed in overtime to the checkered flag and Crafton sneaked into the playoffs. The action was hot and heavy.
“It’s huge,” Hill said. “We have had a struggle these last few races. We just keep having issues and just can’t finish these races. These guys just worked their tails off, day and night, just trying to put these trucks together. This is actually a brand-new truck. First time it had seen the race track was yesterday.”
Grant Enfinger, who finished seventh, won the regular season championship.
After the reseed in points, Brett Moffitt leads Enfinger by three points. Stewart Friesen (-8), Hill (-10), Ross Chastain (-10), Matt Crafton (-11), Johnny Sauter (-13) and Tyler Ankrum (-17) round out the playoff field.
“I am ready for it,” Hill said about the playoffs starting next week at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Especially what we did today. We are still one of the top teams. We are really fast. We just had to get this monkey off our back.”
The overtime finish came after a nine-truck accident on a restart with four laps to go in regulation. Tyler Ankrum’s No. 17 Toyota was turned by Matt Crafton’s No. 88 Ford into a pack of trucks coming to the green.
“I think (Ankrum) just spun his tires, to be honest,” Crafton said. “That’s from what I saw from my seat.”
Pole sitter Ross Chastain led 23 laps and won Stage 1, but exited the race shortly after following contact on pit road during the stage break. The damage came when Sauter was exiting his pit and clipped the No. 9 of Codie Rohrbaugh into Chastain’s truck.
Ben Rhodes was the first to miss the playoffs. He was in contention, and led 15 laps, but had a tire go flat while battling for the lead on Lap 75.
Next race for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series is next Thursday night at Bristol, Motor Speedway on August 15th.
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.