Justin Haley Scores First Win in NASCAR Truck Series at Gateway
Haley also led his first laps ever in the Truck Series at the Illinois race.
Justin Haley took the race lead from Noah Gragson on a restart late in the 2018 Eaton 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday night. Then, Haley maintained that lead through another restart and seven laps to claim his first-career series win.
“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid,” Haley said. “Every time you start doubting yourself, you get in a situation like this. I’m about to cry, man; that was amazing. I raced my heart out, and that’s all I’ve worked for my whole life. Thank you to Fraternal Order of Eagles, Todd Braun, everyone, my mom, my family; it’s been an incredible experience, and you never know when you get to race again.”
Gragson, after leading a race-high 63 laps, fell back several positions because of a deflating tire and wound up 10th at the checkered flag.
Todd Gilliland also posted a career-best finish, taking runner-up honors after getting by Johnny Sauter on the final restart with two laps remaining.
“I’m pretty happy with where I finished,” Gilliland said. “I guess I need to communicate better what I think I need for the race. The track just changes so much in these trucks compared to the K&N cars. It’s just about keep bringing fast trucks to the race track every week and our finishing positions keep moving up. It’s just about being there at the end, and any time you can be inside the top-five with a green-white-checkered, you’re in a pretty decent spot.”
Johnny Sauter finished third, Myatt Snider fourth, and Zane Smith rounded out the top-five in his Truck Series debut.
Grant Enfinger and Christian Eckes were the early stage winners of the race. Enfinger won the opening 35-lap stage after starting on the pole and leading all laps of stage one. Eckes, in his second-career Truck Series start, took the lead by staying out during the caution that separated the first two stages and led all laps of stage two.
Enfinger finished outside the top-20 in 21st, coming partially as the result of an unscheduled pit stop for a flat tire in the final 20 laps.
Eckes fell out of the race a few laps after his stage win, courtesy of an incident that also involved Stewart Friesen. Eckes wound up in the garage after 34 laps led, but Friesen was able to continue.
Gragson then took the lead by being the first off pit road during the caution that began the final 90 laps of the race and led most of the stage. Brett Moffitt took the lead on a restart around lap 80 and led 18 laps before another caution that included Gragson getting out of the pits first to reassume his lead. Moffitt suffered a slow pit stop during the caution when his crew had difficulty getting his truck fueled. The problem resulted in a second stop before the race returned to green.
Eaton 200 Race Results:
1. Justin Haley, No. 24 Chevrolet
2. Todd Gilliland, No. 4 Toyota
3. Johnny Sauter, No. 21 Chevrolet
4. Myatt Snider, No. 13 Ford
5. Zane Smith, No. 54 Toyota
6. Chad Finley, No. 42 Chevrolet
7. Jesse Little, No. 97 Ford
8. Riley Herbst, No. 51 Toyota
9. Cody Coughlin, No. 2 Chevrolet
10. Noah Gragson, No. 18 Toyota
11. Austin Hill, No. 02 Chevrolet
12. Kevin Donahue, No. 63 Chevrolet
13. Stewart Friesen, No. 52 Chevrolet
14. Brett Moffitt, No. 16 Toyota
15. Wendell Chavous, No. 49 Chevrolet
16. Austin Self, No. 22 Chevrolet
17. Tyler Matthews, No. 83 Chevroelt
18. Josh Reaume, No. 33 Chevrolet
19. Ben Rhodes, No. 41 Ford
20. Matt Crafton, No. 88 Ford
21. Grant Enfinger, No. 98 Ford
22. Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Chevrolet
23. Jordan Anderson, No. 3 Chevrolet
24. Norm Benning, No. 6 Chevrolet
25. John Hunter Nemechek, No. 8 Chevrolet
26. Justin Fontaine, No. 45 Chevrolet
27. Tate Fogleman, No. 20 Chevrolet
28. Christian Eckes, No. 46 Toyota
29. Ross Chastain, No. 50 Chevrolet
30. Dalton Sargeant, No. 25 Chevrolet
31. Bryan Barnhill, No. 15 Chevrolet
32. Joe Nemechek, No. 87 Chevrolet