Thorsport Trucks Sweep Las Vegas Top Four
Christian Eckes Leads Thorsport Four Truck Sweep at Las Vegas
(LAS VEGAS, NV – SEP 24, 2021 – RIS) Christian Eckes made personal and series history in taking his first career NASCAR win, heading the four Thorsport trucks to a first-ever top four finish for the same team. Ben Rhodes took second, followed by Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter. Rhodes' second place finish moved him into the points lead as the series goes to Talladega next weekend.
John Hunter Nemechek started on the pole and led 34 laps but the truck let him down with an engine management unit problem that never got solved and finally sent him to the garage after stalling on track twice, causing a pair of the yellows that slowed the race.
Todd Gilliland appeared headed for victory but pit strategies and the Thorsport steamroller dropped him to fifth after leading 66 laps. Gilliland and Nemechek headed 100 of the 134 laps between them, with only Austin Hill joining them in double-digits led at 12 rounds in front of the pack.
A single multi-truck crash just beyond the midpoint in the race involved Hailie Deegan, Sheldon Creed, Chandler Smith, Tyler Ankrum and Chase Purdy with only Purdy able to continue. Ankrum later admitted that he got high and in the 'marbles' which caused him to spin, initiating the crash. Creed's truck had an underhood fire but Smith had the heaviest impact. "Yeah, I'm all good," said Smith after being checked and released from the track medical center. "Tyler (Ankrum) got loose up at the top. He got completely sideways. Some tracks like this I've got experience with, they come back down the race track and take a good portion of the field with them. My spotter told me to go low. I should have listened to him. It's completely my fault. I went high. I went with my gut, and bit the bullet for it. It is what it is. It's a heartbreaker. We had really good momentum. We had a really fast Safelite Toyota Tundra tonight. Got in front of all of the guys who had tires except for one, and we would have been set pretty good there. Disappointed in myself."
Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.