Chastain Gets Smashing Darlington Truck Win

(DARLINGTON, SC – MAY 11, 2024 – RIS) “Protect Your Melon – Buckle Up” may be one of the most ironic sponsorships on a driver’s suit. Ross Chastain, the watermelon farmer turned race driver, has the tradition of smashing a watermelon on the track when he wins a race and he smashed another melon after winning the rain-delayed Buckle Up SC 200.

Kyle Busch was the first victim of ‘The Lady in Black” as Darlington Raceway is known, spinning while battling Corey Heim for the lead and slamming into the inside wall. After some quick repairs to his truck, he returned to the race only to have his right front tire go flat, sending him into the outside wall and out of the race with only six laps scored. This marks the first time in his career that Busch has finished last in a truck series race.

Heim went on to capture the first stage of the race, followed by Christian Eckes, Ty Majeski, Taylor Gray and Layne Riggs as the highest placing rookie in the stage.

Spencer Boyd’s spin in the fourth turn slowed the second stage after Gray and Heim had swapped the lead several times. Heim went on to score the second stage win, followed by Rajah Caruth, Christian Eckes, Ty Majeski and Grant Enfinger.

Just after the start of the third stage, the early leaders got involved in a major crash that started with Dean Thompson spinning in the second turn and hitting Heim, with Matt Crafton, Rajah Caruth, Jack Wood and Layne Riggs all involved. 

Eckes swept to the lead ahead of Majeski with Majeski well ahead of Grant Enfinger. Majeski then retook the lead less than 40 laps from the finish. Enfinger’s truck picked up a tear-off that completely blocked the radiator air inlet, forcing him to the pits where the crew mounted four new tires and removed the plastic. Ty Dillon’s truck also had a tear-off blocking the radiator but stayed on the track in fifth place until the truck started slowing. Jack Wood had a flat right front and slid into the wall, bringing out a caution five laps from the end and sending most of the lead lap teams to the pits for new tires.

Majeski got off of pit road still leading Chastain with Jake Garcia, Colby Howard and Taylor Gray the top five at the restart. Majeski chose the outside of the front row with Chastain to his left and Jake Garcis behind him at the green flag. Garcia slid into the wall and fell back with the white flag with Chastain leading Sanchez under the checkered flag by just over three tenths of a second. Ben Rhodes finished second for his best finish of the season, Christian Eckes finished fourth and Majeski ended the race in fifth place.

“A watermelon farmer just won Darlington,” rejoiced Chastain in celebration.

Unofficial Results: Buckle Up South Carolina 200, May 10, 2024 - Darlington Raceway
Fin, Str, Driver, Truck, Laps, Stage 1 Pos, Stage 2 Pos, Pts, Status, Tms, Laps, Playoff Pts
1) 6, Ross Chastain(i), No. 45 Buckle Up South Carolina Chevrolet, 150, 6, 8, 0, Running, 1, 3, 
2) 1, Nick Sanchez, No. 2 Drive for Diversity 20 Anniv Chevrolet, 150, , , 35, Running, , , 
3) 12, Ben Rhodes, No. 99 Campers Inn RV Ford, 150, 8, , 37, Running, , , 
4) 7, Christian Eckes, No. 19 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet, 150, 2, 3, 50, Running, 1, 15, 
5) 16, Ty Majeski, No. 98 Soda Sense/Curb Records Ford, 150, 3, 4, 47, Running, 2, 36, 
6) 19, Chase Purdy, No. 77 Bama Buggies Chevrolet, 150, , , 31, Running, , , 
7) 18, Colby Howard, No. 1 Coastal Sports Cards Toyota, 150, , , 30, Running, , , 
8) 3, Taylor Gray, No. 17 ShopTRICON.com Toyota, 150, 4, 9, 38, Running, 3, 16, 
9) 15, Ty Dillon, No. 25 Rackley Roofing Chevrolet, 150, , , 28, Running, , , 
10) 5, Tanner Gray, No. 15 Dead On Tools Toyota, 150, , , 27, Running, , , 
11) 25, Matt Mills, No. 42 J.F. Electric/Utilitra Chevrolet, 150, , , 26, Running, , , 
12) 22, Lawless Alan, No. 33 AUTOParkit Ford, 150, , , 25, Running, , , 
13) 27, Timmy Hill, No. 56 Units Storage Toyota, 150, , , 24, Running, , , 
14) 11, Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Halmar International Toyota, 150, 9, , 25, Running, , , 
15) 29, Mason Massey, No. 02 RANDCO Chevrolet, 150, , , 22, Running, , , 
16) 9, Grant Enfinger, No. 9 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet, 150, 10, 5, 28, Running, 1, 3, 
17) 28, Bret Holmes, No. 32 Golden Eagle Chevrolet, 150, , , 20, Running, , , 
18) 32, Thad Moffitt #, No. 46 Petty 75th Chevrolet, 150, , , 19, Running, , , 
19) 30, Spencer Boyd, No. 76 Freedom Warranty Chevrolet, 150, , , 18, Running, , , 
20) 14, Jake Garcia, No. 13 Quanta Services Ford, 150, , 10, 18, Running, , , 
21) 8, Layne Riggs #, No. 38 Infinity Communications Group Ford, 148, 5, 7, 26, Running, , , 
22) 17, Bayley Currey, No. 41 AutoVentive/Precision Chevrolet, 148, , , 15, Running, , , 
23) 10, Daniel Dye, No. 43 Peak Chevrolet, 148, , , 14, Running, , , 
24) 21, Conner Jones #, No. 66 TSPORT Ford, 145, , , 13, Running, , , 
25) 23, Jack Wood, No. 91 RTIC Outdoors Chevrolet, 139, , , 12, Accident, , , 
26) 24, Tyler Ankrum, No. 18 LiUNA! Chevrolet, 136, , , 11, Running, , , 
27) 31, Mason Maggio, No. 22 Crawford Garage Doors Ford, 121, , , 10, Brakes, , , 
28) 2, Corey Heim, No. 11 Safelite Toyota, 105, 1, 1, 29, Accident, 4, 77, 2
29) 13, Dean Thompson, No. 5 Thompson Pipe Group Toyota, 97, 7, , 12, Accident, , , 
30) 26, Rajah Caruth, No. 71 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, 97, , 2, 16, Accident, , , 
31) 20, Matt Crafton, No. 88 Chi Chis/Menards Ford, 97, , 6, 11, Accident, , , 
32) 4, Kyle Busch(i), No. 7 BAMF Enterprises Chevrolet, 6, , , 0, Accident, , ,
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Race Length: 150 Laps, 204.9 Miles
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 0 Mins, 33 Secs.
Average Speed: 101.983 MPH
Margin of Victory: 0.315 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 11, 19, 98, 17, 38, 45, 5, 99, 52, 9
Stage 2 Top 10: 11, 71, 19, 98, 9, 88, 38, 45, 17, 13

Comments: Ross Chastain has won the Buckle Up South Carolina 200 at Darlington Raceway, his fifth career victory in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series.

Prior to the start, the following vehicle(s) dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reason(s) indicated: Nos. 2, 71 (Unapproved Adjustments).

Cautions: 7 for 37 laps;
Laps: 3-5 (No. 7 Incident Backstretch [None]);
13-16 (No. 7 Incident Turn 1 [None]);
47-53 (Stage 1 Conclusion [None]);
67-70 (76 Spin Turn 4 [43]);
92-97 (Stage 2 Conclusion [43]);
99-105 (No. 5, 11, 71, 91, 38, 88 Incident Turn 2 [43]);
143-148 (No. 91 Incident Turn 1 [02]).

Lead Changes: 12 among 6 drivers;
N. Sanchez 0;
C. Heim 1-49;
T. Gray 50-52;
C. Heim 53;
T. Gray 54-57;
C. Heim 58;
T. Gray 59-67;
C. Heim 68-93;
G. Enfinger 94-96;
T. Majeski 97-105;
C. Eckes 106-120;
T. Majeski 121-147;
R. Chastain(i) 148-150.

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2024, Issue 5, Posted 12:30 AM, 05.11.2024