Thursday night under the lights of Bristol Motor Speedway, drivers of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entered the first race of the second round of the playoffs with pole sitter Derek Kraus and reigning winner, Chandler Smith taking the field to green. On lap one Kraus held the advantage over C. Smith to take over the lead, as Stewart Friesen nearly went sideways behind them, but was able to clear it up. Meanwhile, at the back of the pack, championship favorites John Hunter Nemechek and Zane Smith began to work their way up through the field as individual incidents during practice sent them both to the rear at the start of the race.
With 30 laps to go in the stage, the battle for the lead tightened up as lap traffic came into play, allowing C. Smith to take over the lead from Kraus. Spencer Boyd made brief contact with the wall but was able to get to the caution before the caution could come out. However, it didn’t take long for the caution flag to be displayed when just a few short laps after Boyd’s incident, the caution came out when Josh Reaume went for a spin with Rajah Caruth running into him. Reaume walked away from the incident but later during the race, it was announced that he was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. At the restart with just under 10 to go in the stage, C. Smith would maintain his lead over Kraus and would run away with the stage win.
Stage two was underway, with Chandler Smith easily regaining his lead over second place Friesen, as the inside line didn’t get a good launch. As the laps continued to wind down in the stage, C. Smith continued to hold his lead until the caution flag waved once again with just 25 to go as Connor Mosack went for a spin. When the green flag was displayed again C. Smith once again went straight to the lead, with Friesen and Christian Eckes battling behind him for the second position, with just over 15 laps to go in the stage. With the laps continuing to wind down, the lead began to tighten as Friesen edged closer and closer to C. Smith. Despite his best efforts though, there was just not enough time for Friesen to catch C. Smith as he would once again win the stage.
The final stage began with the lead being taken over by Zane Smith after a short-lived battle with Parker Kligerman. As Z. Smith continued to lead, Ty Majeski began to close in on him but was unable to get to him. With just about 50 laps to go the caution flag was once again displayed as Chris Hacker went for a spin, brought on by contact from Eckes. The green flag came back out, with Z. Smith and Majeksi battling for the lead, Majeski with the advantage. Throughout the field, playoff drivers battled for positions, as C. Smith and Eckes worked to fight their way back into the top-10. Dean Thompson spun and made contact with the wall with just over 20 laps to go, prompting the caution flag to fly once again.
The battle for the lead was intense when the green flag was put back out, with Majeski taking the lead over Z. Smith. With just 10 laps to go in the stage, Majeski fought hard to build his lead over the rest of the field, as playoff drivers throughout the field battled tightly for positions trying to gain as many points as possible. In the end, Majeski would be able to gap himself far enough to hold his lead with no competition and go on to win the race, simultaneously locking himself into the final four for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
Featured image credits to @NASCAR_Trucks on Twitter.