Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6179)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 JBL Fest team earned a top-five finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the World of Westgate 200. Friday morning, in the single two-hour practice, Gilliland was 12th-fastest. In one round of single-truck qualifying on a slick track Friday afternoon, Gilliland earned the third starting spot for the 134-lap event.
Stage One Recap:
  • Gilliland began the race in the third position, behind teammate Christian Eckes who sat on the pole.
  • The young driver dropped back early, reporting that his Tundra was tight on entry to the corner but loose everywhere else.
  • Regardless of his handling conditions, Gilliland was able to climb to the third position, before reporting that his engine temperatures were climbing.
  • The team determined that there was a piece of debris on the grille of the No. 4, restricting the air flow to cool the engine.
  • When the caution flew to end the first stage, Gilliland reported that his right rear tire didn't feel like it was gripping the track and that he was tight in the center and exit of the corner.
  • Crew chief Wes Ward brought Gilliland down pit road for four fresh tires, adjustments and removal of the debris from the grille.
Stage Two Recap:
  • Because the majority of other vehicles took only two tires after the first stage, Gilliland began the second stage in 16th.
  • Gilliland quickly climbed back to the top-10.
  • The young driver finished eighth in the second stage and Ward opted to bring him to pit road for four fresh tires and adjustments.
Stage Three Recap
  • Gilliland began the final 74-lap stage in sixth.
  • Under caution on lap 80, Ward called him to pit road for two tires and adjustments to set him up for the end of the race.
  • After restarting in 10th, the talented teenager made his way to fifth in the closing laps, picking up his fourth top-5 of the season.


Christian Eckes added to his already impressive list of accomplishments with his second pole and second top-five finish in just 10 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts in the World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. On Friday morning, Eckes was ninth-fastest in the single, two-hour Gander Trucks practice. In the afternoon, Eckes blasted a lap of 30.324 seconds, 178.077 mph to earn his second pole position in 10 series starts and fourth pole in a row at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
At the start of the race, Eckes jumped out front for three laps, but then dropped back on the first restart on lap 14. The young driver finished the first stage in 11th. He was able to climb back into the top-10 in the second stage, finishing in sixth. In the final stage, Eckes worked his way into the top-five and remained there, finishing third, his second top-five in six starts in 2019.
Stage One Recap:
  • Eckes earned his second career pole position and started the 134-lap event from the point.
  • The New York-native led four laps early in the race, but then reported that the SiriusXM Tundra was extremely loose and the right rear tire felt slick.
  • Eckes finished the first stage in 11th.
  • Crew chief Rudy Fugle brought Eckes to pit road following the first stage for two right-side tires and adjustments, gaining six spots on pit road.
Stage Two Recap:
  • After stopping for just two tires between stages, Eckes gained track position and was able to restart the second stage in fourth.
  • He reported that the No. 51 Tundra was better, and completed the second stage in sixth.
  • Fugle brought him to pit road for four tires and fuel following the second stage, but a quick stop gained Eckes three positions.
Stage Three Recap:
  • Eckes began the final stage in second, but he was shuffled back to eighth on a restart early in the stage.
  • Under caution on lap 80, Fugle brought him to pit road for two more fresh tires, gaining him one spot.
  • The talented teenager was able to climb back into the top-five within five laps, where he remained in third, challenging for second-place in the closing laps.
  • Eckes finished third, earning his second top-five and sixth top-10 finish in 10 career Gander Trucks starts.


Austin Hill punched his ticket to the Round of 6 in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs with a statement victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) on Friday night. Hill slashed his way through the field from 18th position over the final 48 laps to earn his third win of the season and advanced to Round 2 of the Gander Trucks playoffs.
Hill began the evening from the seventh position and with a slim two-point cushion above the cut line. From the outset, Hill showed his muscle by working the Gunma Toyopet Tundra up to fifth by lap four and briefly took the lead on lap 17. Hill earned eight priceless championship points at Stage 1 on lap 30 and came to the attention of crew chief Scott Zipadelli and company under the yellow flag. Zipadelli and the No. 16 team gave Hill two tires to preserve track position and restarted as the race leader on lap 37.
Stage 2 saw more of the same from Hill as he was part of a fierce three-way battle for the lead during the last 16 laps of segment. Hill’s pursuit of the race lead served notice that his Gunma Toyopet Tundra was a force to be reckoned with and collected nine valuable points at the end of Stage 2 on lap 60. Hill took four tires and adjustments to help a slightly tight handling condition under the yellow flag and restarted third on lap 68.
On the restart for the final stage, Hill dealt with an issue that caused the motor to intermittently skip and dragged him back as far as ninth on lap 73. One of the key moments of the evening came under the lap 81 caution when Hill was forced to pit a lap after the other lead lap trucks and was positioned 17th for the final restart on lap 87. Once again, Hill’s issue held him back on the restart and relegated him to 18th. Despite the issue, the strength of Hill and the No. 16 team couldn’t be stopped as he began his rampage up the leader board.
In six laps Hill had moved up to 11th on lap 92 and moved to eighth three laps later. While carving his way through traffic Hill was consistently the fastest truck on the racetrack and broke into the top-five by lap 102. Less than 20 laps later, he caught the race leader and made quick work to regain the top spot for the final time on lap 123. The 25-year old paced the field for the final 12 circuits and cruised to the checkered flag, 2.1 seconds ahead of second place, to continue his breakout season and capture his third win of 2019. 
Austin Hill Quote:
“It means the world to me. This is the hardest one I’ve had to win. We were going to stay out that last caution and we stayed out and everybody else pitted. We decided we needed to pit or we were going to be screwed. We came down pit road, restarted at the tailend of the longest line and it stayed green. I had to drive all the way through the field and this truck was unbelievable. I can’t thank Gumma Toyopet for coming on board. Toyota, TRD, the Aisin Group, United Rentals – everybody and all my partners that allow me to do this. HRE, Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and the boys gave me a heck of a piece tonight. We wouldn’t have won this race with them. We’re two-for-two with this truck so we’re going to try to go three-for-three with it. Can’t thank all the boys enough.”
“When we first went back green, I thought it would be nice to pick off a few of these guys and have a caution. At the same time, I didn’t want the caution because every restart we had, the last three restarts we had anyways, when I would go through the gears, it kept cutting in and out. I don’t know if we were having a fuel pressure issue or what was going on. I was actually really scared of that. When I saw the 45 (Ross Chastain) when I got to second, my number one thing was just hoping we didn’t have any issues. I thought we had an issue, but luckily it all went away. As I was catching the 45, I was trying to see where his weakness was and at first, we were running about the same times and I started changing my line a little bit and picked up two-tenths there. When I got to him, traffic was just perfect timing. He got really tight behind somebody and got aero-pushed and I was able to drive up under him and just hold him out getting into one and clear him. This truck was so good. I can’t thank everyone enough. To be two-for-two with this truck is pretty special.”


Harrison Burton qualified ninth and finished ninth in Friday night's World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The top-10 finish was Burton's 10th across 19 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts this season.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Burton earned the ninth starting position in Friday afternoon's qualifying session.
  • The 18-year-old rookie battled a tight-handling Safelite Tundra during the opening stage, but would cross the stripe in the eighth position on lap 30. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • In an effort to give his young driver track position, veteran crew chief Mike Hillman ordered up a right-side tire and fuel stop with a major trackbar adjustment to try and improve the handling of the No. 18 Toyota.
  • Burton was scored in the second position when Stage Two went green on lap 36, but quickly found himself in the middle of a five-wide battle for position and two laps later had subsided to the 11th spot.
  • After two trucks running inside the top 10 had engines expire simultaneously, the field was slowed for the third time on lap 41. Burton gave up the eighth position to hit pit road for fresh left-side tires and fuel.
  • The Safelite Tundra was scored in the 19th position when the field went back green on lap 45. Over the final 15 laps of the stage, the talented teenager was able to work his way back up to the 11th position. 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • Hillman summoned his driver to pit road for a four-tire and fuel stop between stages. When the Final Stage went green on lap 67, Burton was scored in the 10th position.
  • After a quick caution, Burton had a solid restart and when the field was slowed for sixth and final time on lap 82 had advance up to the fifth spot.
  • The Safelite Tundra hit pit road for the final time and the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop. With teams on varying pit strategies, Burton lined up 11th for the lap-86 restart.
  • Another strong restart allowed the second-generation driver to move up to the eighth spot on lap 87 and three laps later he had captured the seventh spot.
  • As the race proceeded caution free to the finish, Burton reported that something was ill with the handling of his Toyota and he would fall back to the ninth position when the field crossed the stripe to finish the race on lap 134.


Austin Hill earned his third NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win of the 2019 season Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – perhaps his most important victory as it advances him to the second round of the Playoffs with big momentum and raised expectations.

Hill’s No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota finished an impressive 2.116 seconds ahead of fellow Playoff competitor Ross Chastain, whose No. 45 Chevrolet led a race-best 88-of-134 laps. Polesitter Christian Eckes finished third in the Kyle Bush Motorsports Toyota.

“This means the world to me,’’ said Hill, 25, who passed Chastain for the lead with 11 laps remaining and pulled away to the substantial victory margin.

“When I saw the 45 (Chastain) in my sights, we were running close lap times. I changed my line a little bit. And that was a big statement win.’’

Much of the drama and heartbreak in the race happened to the drivers vying for the six positions that advanced to the next round of the Playoffs. Joining Hill in the Round of 6 are Chastain, defending series champion Brett Moffitt, Stewart Friesen, Tyler Ankrum and Matt Crafton.

Moffit faced the least pressure all day because he already transferred to the Round of 6 by winning the Playoffs opener at Bristol.

Chastain wrapped up his transfer spot via points after winning Stage 2.

Friesen carefully nursed his No. 52 Chevrolet to the race finish, posting a 19th-place showing after driving a truck that was down a cylinder and spending substantial stretches of the race on pit road.

Ankrum, an 18-year-old who wasn’t old enough by NASCAR rules to compete in the March Las Vegas race, held on to finish 11th and earn the final Playoff position – by a mere two-point margin over two-time series champion Johnny Sauter.

Sauter’s teammate Matt Crafton suffered a 30th-place finish, but he had enough of a points cushion coming to Las Vegas that he will advance in the Playoffs as well.

Heading into the Round of 8 finale, Sauter, Crafton and their ThorSport Racing teammate Grant Enfinger were seemingly  “sure-bets” to advance in the Playoffs. But before the halfway point of the race, they had their fates decided in unfortunate and unpredictable manners.

It was an especially gut-wrenching early end to Enfinger’s championship hopes. Crowned the series’ regular season champion three races ago, the past Las Vegas winner retired after only seven laps when his No. 98 Ford suffered an engine failure. He took the green flag with two points to the good on making the Round of 6 and only minutes later had his championship hopes deflated with the turn of events.

“It’s just frustrating,’’ Enfinger said. “These guys work their tails off all year. We had a good truck, just wasn’t meant to be.”

Only 33 laps later, Sauter and Crafton suffered their simultaneous race-ending problems. Crafton’s No. 88 Ford had to pull off track and he climbed out as the safety crew arrived.

Sauter was able to drive his truck back to pit road where crew members had to extinguish flames under the hood. The team took it to the garage and although he tried to return to the race for the final stage, his truck’s engine gave out on the first lap of the restart.

Crafton, meanwhile, had to pull his No. 88 ThorSport truck off the track immediately for the safety crew to work on.

“The 13 (Sauter), I saw him hit something and whatever it was it hit our truck too,’’ Crafton said. “I said the 13’s on fire and they told me I was on fire.’’

“I really thought we had something tonight, but we’ll rebound.’’

The next race is set for Oct. 12 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

A charge toward the front of the field by Derek Kraus came to an early end in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday night.


The 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Stratford, Wisconsin was on the move in the Bill McAnally Racing No. 19 ENEOS / NAPA Toyota Tundra; before a broken transmission ended his effort and left him with a 27th-place finish.


Kraus – making his first start on a 1.5-mile speedway – had qualified 24th and was looking to make up ground on the leaders. Handling issues in the first stage of the race prevented him from making any significant moves, but adjustments by his BMR crew during the subsequent pit stop got him on track and headed toward the front.


He was up to 18th by Lap 43 and into the 15th spot by Lap 50 of the 134-lap race. He took on fresh tires and fuel, along with getting a minor adjustment to his Tundra, during a pit stop following the conclusion of Stage 2. From there, Kraus looked to continue his charge. His race came to an early end, however, with transmission trouble on Lap 77.


The event, which was televised live on FOX Sports 1 and was also carried live on MRN radio, was won by Austin Hill.


Friday’s race was the third of four races in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series that Kraus is competing in this season in the BMR No. 19 ENEOS / NAPA Toyota Tundra. He finished 18th at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway in March and eighth at Dover International Speedway in Delaware in May. His fourth race will be at ISM Raceway near Phoenix in November.


Kraus made his debut in the truck series late last season, with an eighth-place finish at ISM Raceway.


The truck races he is running this year are on off weekends from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – where he is in his third full season competing for BMR, driving the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. He leads the championship standings by 29 points – with three wins, seven top-five, and nine top-10 finishes in 10 starts this season.


In addition to running the full K&N West schedule, Kraus also competed in the first eight races this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – where he scored two wins. He led the standings of both divisions through much of the first half of the season.



Austin Hill survived a weird night of racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to score his third NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory of the season. Hill, piloting the No. 16 Toyota for Hattori Racing, traded drivers Ross Chastain and Brett Moffitt for the lead all evening long, leading 29 of the 134 laps.

“This is the hardest one I’ve had to win. We were going to stay out that last caution and we stayed out and everybody else pitted. We decided we needed to pit or we were going to be screwed. We came down pit road, restarted at the tailend of the longest line and it stayed green,” said Hill. “I had to drive all the way through the field and this truck was unbelievable. Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and the boys gave me a heck of a piece tonight. We wouldn’t have won this race with them. We’re two-for-two with this truck so we’re going to try to go three-for-three with it. Can’t thank all the boys enough.”

Ross Chastain finished the night 2.116 seconds behind race-winner Austin Hill and led the most laps of the evening. The driver of the No. 45 CarShield Chevrolet won both stages of the race and will leave the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway with his eighth top five and 16th top 10 finish.

Hill heads into the next round of the playoffs and the next race at Talladega Superspeedway with six top five and 11 top 10 finishes. The Georgia native chasing the series championship holds an average finish of 12.8.

“It means a lot. Coming into tonight, our number one goal was getting stage points and we did that, we got stage points in stage one and stage two. Got through that and after the second stage and we knew that some of the Playoff drivers had some issues, my only concern was going for the win,” Hill said later. “That’s all I really cared about. I didn’t think we were going to be able to catch them under green, but we did. It’s even more of a statement win because we had a little bit of an issue during practice and lost our truck chief. I know he was up watching us in the stands, but this is so special.”

Christian Eckes rounded out the top three finishers at Las Vegas. Eckes, piloting the No. 51 SiriusXM Toyota, started on the pole and led four circuits in his sixth career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start.

Eckes leaves the track with two top five and three top 10 finishes this season.

Sheldon Creed and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top five.

Taking home top 10 finishes included Brennan Poole, Brett Moffitt, Ben Rhodes, Harrison Burton and Dylan Lupton.

Several Gander Outdoors Truck Series contenders had problems with their engines throughout the night that impacted their chances at winning this year’s championship. The issues impacted Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen.

The No. 52 team of Stewart Friesen quickly diagnosed their engine issue and went on to a 19th-place finish. Sauter, Crafton and Enfinger weren’t as lucky as they finished 29th, 30th and 31st on the leaderboard.

Playoff driver Tyler Ankrum reported a cylinder down with around 40 laps to go. The driver of the No. 17 B/X Custom Designs Toyota finished 11th to squeak into the next round of the playoffs.

Advancing into the Round of 6 will be reigning series champion Brett Moffitt, Ross Chastain, Austin Hill, Stewart Friesen, Matt Crafton and Tyler Ankrum. Grant Enfinger and Johnny Sauter were eliminated from the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs.

The next race for the series will be at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, October 12th. The Sugarland Shines 250 will air live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 1:30 p.m. ET.

All American Quarter Horse Congress has partnered with ThorSport Racing to come onboard Johnny Sauter's No. 13 Ford F-150 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), Sept. 13 and Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 12.

The All American Quarter Horse Congress is the largest single breed-horse show in the world attracting more than 650,000 people to the Columbus, Ohio area, with more than 25,000 horse show entries. It also holds the largest collegiate and youth judging contest with more than 65 teams of collegiate students, 4-H, FFA and Quarter Horse youth members.
"The All American Quarter Horse Congress is excited to be joining ThorSport Racing and supporting Johnny Sauter's No. 13 Ford F-150 this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway September 13th and Talladega Superspeedway October 12th. Our partnership is born from the mutual support we provide each other as Ohio based organizations, sharing many of the same goals and values. The All American Quarter Horse Congress has supported talented competition for over 50 years and we look forward to supporting ThorSport Racing and seeing Johnny in victory lane," said Dr. Scott Myers, CEO of the Ohio Quarter Horse Association.
Sauter enters the LVMS race weekend looking for his second Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory at the track. He drove to Victory Lane in 2009 and has led a series career 121 laps at LVMS.
This season, Sauter has recorded one Gander Trucks win, three top five's and eight top 10's including 76 laps led.
Tune-in to all of the action From Las Vegas Motor Speedway this Friday, Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Additional coverage can be found via the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Channel 90.

ThorSport PR

Feeling refreshed following a brief break from NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) competition, rookie Gus Dean (@GusDean) returns to Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway for Friday night’s World of Westgate 200 looking to continue a consistent surge in performance aboard his No. 12 Chevrolet Silverado for Young’s Motorsports.

While Dean, a two-time winner in the ARCA Menards Series has certainly endured some rookie bumps this season, the Bluffton, S.C.-native has increased his presence inside the top-10 over the past month and hopes to continue that trend as LG Air Conditioning Technologies returns for their fifth sponsored race of the 2019 season.

“I’m eager to get back to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend,” said Dean. “We had a good truck there in the spring, but I made a mistake and it cost us a good opportunity for a good finish.

“Luckily, we were able to salvage the race and I learned a lot. Hopefully that experience will pay some dividends in my return on Friday night.”

Returning to Las Vegas, the 25-year-old Dean says working with crew chief Ryan Loudon has been beneficial over the past month and a half and feels like this week’s race offers the opportunity to continue to showcase their improving strength.

“I know we don’t have a lot of races left this season, but we’re determined to make some noise and end the year on a high note,” added Dean. “Pickle (Ryan) and I are really starting to gel, and I think our uptick in performance is giving everyone at Young’s Motorsports something to be proud of.

“Las Vegas is a fast race track and drafting will be key to success on Friday night. The guys are really upbeat about the No. 12 LG Air Conditioning Technologies Chevrolet Silverado that we are bringing to the race track and hopefully we can carry that enthusiasm to the checkered flag.”

Dean who also participated in this past weekend’s Speed51 Super Select Late Model race at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis says he is thrilled to have LG Air Conditioning Technologies and Baker Distributing back on his truck for his 19th career Truck Series start.

“It’s cool to have LG on the truck for two of the last three races and they will finish out a majority of the rest of the year me at Young’s Motorsports,” added Dean.

“I feel like we have done a good job getting LG Air Conditioning Technologies and Baker the exposure we were hoping for in their first foray into NASCAR and I’m committed to keeping ourselves as close to the front as possible – so we can continue to bring them good exposure but bring home some good finishes to go along with the consistency. Hopefully, we can double down on Friday night before focusing on Talladega next month.” For more on Gus Dean, please visit his or like him on Facebook.

Dean tweets too. Follow him on Twitter @GusDean.

To learn more about LG Air Conditioning Technologies, please visit

For more on Baker Distributing Company, please visit

For more information on Young’s Motorsports, please visit, follow @youngsmtrsports on Twitter, @youngsmotorsports on Instagram and like us on Facebook at

The World of Westgate 200 (134 laps | 201 miles) is the 19th of 23 races on the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Sept. 13 from 8:05 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day beginning at 2:35 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 6:00 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Pacific).

Gus Dean PR

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