Sunday’s running of the Chevrolet Silverado 250 produced another exciting finish for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
Justin Haley, in the #24 Chevrolet capitalised on a last lap, last turn incident between Noah Gragson and race leader Todd Gilliland, to jump from third to first and capture the chequered flag.
The race got off to a rather uneventful start with Noah Gragson dominating the first stage of the race, getting past pole sitter Ben Rhodes on Lap 7.
Grant Enfinger made up some significant ground in Stage 1, ending the stage in ninth place after being sent to the rear of the field at the start.
When the first caution period came at the end of the first stage, Canadian driver Alex Tagliani, in the #12 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet was awarded the wave around, putting him back on the lead lap.
The second full-course caution of the day came on Lap 30 when Max Tullman stopped his #20 in Turn 5. The caution gave several drivers, including Timothy Peters and Enfinger, the opportunity to pit just several laps ahead of the end of the stage.
When exiting pit lane on Lap 32, Enfinger’s #98 truck left his stall with the gas can still attached, eventually losing it on-track. The incident resulted in Enfinger being sent to the rear of the field on the Lap 34 restart.
Gragson dominated the second stage, leading all 20 laps ahead of capturing the green and white chequered flag.
One of the big passes of the race came with just 11 laps to go, when Todd Gilliland passed the #21 of Johnny Sauter in Turn 5.
While Gilliland opened up a strong lead over Gragson in the closing stages of the race, a late caution bunched up the field bringing the race into overtime.
With the chequered flag in the air Gragson saw an opportunity to get by Gilliland on the inside of Turn 10. There was less room than Gragson expected however, sending both Kyle Busch Motorsport trucks off track, and handing a patient Justin Haley the race win.
“I knew it was a possibility, being in the catbird seat we had a good shot at it,” said Haley of putting himself in the right place to benefit from a last lap crash. “Noah’s obviously one of the more aggressive drivers here, and he wants to get a win.”
While Haley seemed to understand why Gragson made the move he did, when asked if he would have made the same move, he had choice words on the matter.
“Yeah (I would have made the move), but I would have done it a little better,” said Haley.
A disappointed Gilliland had some less than kind works for his KBM teammate. “I’d go fight him right now… but I can’t,” Gilliland said on the TV broadcast following the race.
Sunday’s race also marked the start of the Truck Series Playoffs. After the first event Johnny Sauter leads the 8-driver field with 2081 points, with Brett Moffitt and Gragson rounding out the top 3. With Haley’s win Sunday, he becomes the first driver to guarantee a spot in the second round of the playoffs.