Reigning in the Rain: Smith Wins Rain-Plagued Opener at Daytona

After an hour and a half rain delay and several rain interruptions, defending champion Zane Smith took his second win in a row at Daytona. 

Lining up on the front row for this race was Truck Series debutant Nick Sanchez in the #2, with Ty Majeski in the #98 lining up to his outside. 

Once the green flag fell, the #98 jumped out to an early lead, only to lose it on the second lap, as the #19 of Christian Eckes was sent to the lead with a big push from Matt Crafton in the #88. The yellow flag flew shortly after this for rain in turn 1. 

After a few laps under yellow, the race went green again with Eckes on the inside and Crafton on the outside. This didn’t last long however as another caution was thrown due to more rain. 

On lap 11, the race went back to green again with the same drivers on the front row.

Eckes and Crafton began to swap the lead between themselves, until lap 19 when Majeski made a move to the front in the closing laps of the stage. Going into the final lap of the stage, the #98 led on the inside with Eckes trying to make some ground on the outside. Coming off of 4 for the final time of the stage, the #98 got majorly loose and just managed to gather it up without causing a big one. Christian Eckes won the stage.

Stage 1 Results

  1. #19 Christian Eckes
  2. #88 Matt Crafton
  3. #25 Matt DiBenedetto
  4. #13 Hailie Deegan
  5. #2 Nick Sanchez
  6. #98 Ty Majeski
  7. #42 Carson Hocevar
  8. #15 Tanner Gray
  9. #51 Jack Wood
  10.  #23 Grant Enfinger

The race returned to green on lap 25 with the #16 of Tyler Ankrum out front, until he quickly lost the lead to Stewart Friesen in the #52.

On lap 29, the first incident of the day occurred. The #84 of Clay Greenfield got squeezed in the middle of three in the trioval, sending him pinballing between the trucks either side of him. He lost control and spun into the outside wall, collecting the #5, #13, #25 and the #43. This resulted in a red flag for clean-up and rain.

With five to go in the stage, the race was restarted again with Ankrum out front, who began to fight for the lead with the #9 of Colby Howard and the #52.

On the final lap of the stage, the #16 led on the inside with the #52 outside. At the midpoint of the backstretch, the #99 of Ben Rhodes made a move outside of Friesen, who moved up to try and cover and got turned into the wall. The accident collected the #32, the #75, the #97 and the #9, who had been in contention a few laps ago. The #16 won stage two.

Stage 2 Results

  1. #16 Tyler Ankrum
  2. #4 Chase Purdy
  3. #88 Matt Crafton
  4. #2 Nick Sanchez
  5. #19 Christian Eckes
  6. #98 Ty Majeski
  7. #99 Ben Rhodes
  8. #23 Grant Enfinger
  9. #51 Jack Wood 
  10.  #42 Carson Hocevar

After the stage break was extended due to more rain, lap 48 saw the trucks return to action with the #38 leading. Corey LaJoie in the #7, who had stayed out, began to swap the lead with Smith in the ensuing laps.

On lap 57, rookie Rajah Caruth in the #24 made a move to the inside in turn 3 and got loose. He spun to the inside and collected the #25 and his teammate in the #43. 

Racing resumed on lap 64 with rain well on the way. LaJoie led with Ankrum and Smith behind. The #7 commanded the field until he was stranded in the middle after a daring three-wide move from the #16 and #38. 

Only three laps later, the yellow was thrown for rain again and a few laps after that, the red was displayed for the second time in the evening.

After an hour and a half, the race was called and Zane Smith was officially declared the winner for the second year in a row. Behind him in second was the #15 of Tanner Gray, who earned his career best finish.

Photo Credit: NASCAR Trucks on Twitter

Published by Joe Sell

Joe is a writer from Poole, UK. He is a fan of anything with four wheels and an engine and his favorite drivers are Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez. Outside of racing, he enjoy watching sports and listening to country music.

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