Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (5852)
Gander Outdoors Truck Series News
With just two races remaining in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) heads to ISM Raceway (Phoenix) for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 eyeing his third top-10 finish of the season.
With a 10th place in the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and a ninth-place run at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in March, Fontaine has been focused on delivering his Niece Motorsports team another strong performance as the end to his rookie season nears.
“I’m really pumped about going to Phoenix and having a chance at a good finish,” said Fontaine who has risen to 15th in the series’ standings. “I’ve been able to get our No. 45 ProMATIC Automation Chevrolet inside the top-10 on a superspeedway and a speedway, I’d like to add a smaller track to our total on Friday night.”
Even though Fontaine has never been to Phoenix, the former ARCA Racing Series competitor has been studying film and reviewing photos of the track’s 1.0-mile oval, but he realizes the track’s layout has been altered for the penultimate race of the year – putting him and the rest of the Truck Series field in virtually the same situation.
“They’ve made a lot of changes to Phoenix over the last year, including putting the start-finish line in Turn 2 before the dog leg, which should make restarts and even the finish even more thrilling for the race fans.
“Hopefully, I’ll get up to speed pretty quick, follow some good trucks in practice and go from there. We have an opportunity to build on our Texas finish and deliver a strong effort that will carry our No. 45 ProMATIC team to Homestead the following week for the last race of the year.”
For the third consecutive race, Fontaine will be working with Matt Weber who will call the shots for the 21-year-old Fontaine in his 25th career Truck Series start.
“Matt and I are really starting to get in sync,” sounded Fontaine. “We had a mechanical failure that none of us could control at Martinsville – but at Texas we made some major strides coming from the back to the front and getting a decent finish.
“He wants to run good just as much as I do. He’s open to my suggestions and feedback and that’s comforting to me as a driver. I’m going to be leaning on him this weekend – just as much as he’ll be leaning on me. Together, we’ll work hard to bring home our best finish of the year.”
After 21 races, Fontaine sits 15th in the series’ standings. He carries an average finish of 20.0 entering Phoenix. He earned a career-best ninth-place result at Las Vegas in March.
In addition to a full-time NASCAR driver, Fontaine just started his sophomore year as a student at the University of North Carolina (Charlotte), where he is pursuing a political science degree.
For more on Justin Fontaine, please visit JustinFontaine.com, like his Facebook page (Justin Fontaine) or follow him on Twitter @driverFontaine.
The Lucas Oil 150 (150 laps | 150 miles) is the 22nd of 23 races on the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule. Practice begins on Fri., Nov. 9 from 8:30 a.m. – 9:20 a.m., while final practice is set for 10:05 a.m. – 10:55 a.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day beginning at 3:35 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 6:30 p.m. with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Mountain).
Justin Fontaine PR
Derek Kraus is set to make his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this week, racing the Bill McAnally Racing No. 19 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Tundra in the Lucas Oil 150 on Friday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
The event is to be televised live on FOX Sports 1 and will also be carried live on MRN radio.
Kraus – a member of the NASCAR Next program, which spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars – is a 17-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin. He just completed his second full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – driving BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, as he led the competition in several categories.
While finishing fourth in the championship standings, Kraus topped the series this season in terms of wins, with four, and poles, with five. He also led the most laps of competition. Overall, he registered eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 14 races.
In his two seasons of competition in the K&N West, Kraus has five wins, six poles, 17 top-five finishes, and 20 top-10 finishes in 28 starts. He won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in 2017.
Kraus also ran select events in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2017 and 2018, garnering two pole awards, along with four top-five finishes, in seven starts.
Kraus began his racing career as a 7-year-old competing in the Wisconsin State Go Kart Series in 2008. Success in karting led him to move up to the Midwest Bandolero Series, where he won championships in 2013 and 2014. He followed that up with a championship in the Midwest Truck Series in 2015. In addition, he also won rookie titles that year in the American Ethanol Super Truck Series and at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin.
He raced super late models in 2016, taking the runner-up spot in the Super Late Model championship points at State Park Speedway for the season and also finishing second in the Yellow River Race Series at Marshfield Super Speedway in Marshfield, Wisconsin.
In addition, he finished fourth that year in season championship points and second in the rookie standings in the ARCA Midwest Tour Series. He became the youngest driver to win an ARCA Midwest Tour Series race, breaking a 25-year-old record set by Matt Kenseth.
Ty Joiner, a veteran leader with the BMR team, will serve as the crew chief at Phoenix. John Camilleri, who was the crew chief this year on the K&N West entry driven by Kraus, will serve as the truck chief.
Derek Kraus and Bill McAnally making CWTS debut.
The 17 year old from Wisconsin will make his NASCAR Touring Series debut in the Camping World Truck Series (CWTS) event at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend.
Kraus has 5 NASCAR K&N Pro Series victories to his credit, all coming on the West tour. Kraus ended the 2017 K&N West (KNPSW) campaign in third place for the total points standings after 1 win in the season finale at Bakersfield. The 2018 tour saw more success, 4 wins including both Bakersfield events, a Gateway combination of East and West drivers, plus a win at Douglas County. Despite the four victories to his name, a season high, Kraus ended up 4th in the championship. Kraus also won the pole a total of 5 times, the next best was Hailie Deegan's two.
All KNPSW starts for Kraus have come in Bill McAnally's Toyotas, which have won 8 West championships. Kraus has made 7 (non-combination) K&N East (KNPSE) starts in his young career, two of which, at David Gilliland Racing-CROSLEY, where he finished the KNPSE tour with a second in New Hampshire, and a third at Dover.
Kraus will likely need to qualify in on time at ISM Raceway. Qualifying in Phoenix begins Friday at 5:35PM EST on FS1, with the Lucas Oil 150, Friday at 8:30PM EST on FS1.
Jason White made his first foray into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series earlier this year at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). White will again pilot the #33 YourGMCTruckStore.com / Zimmer Auto Group Chevy Silverado at the newly renovated ISM Raceway just outside Phoenix, AZ looking to qualify for the Lucas Oil 150.
The #33 YourGMCTruckStore.com / Zimmer Auto Group Chevrolet Silverado is fielded by Reume Brothers Racing and will again pair White with veteran Crew Chief Doug George. “This is the perfect situation to return to the Truck Series,” said White. “Doug and I hit it off so well our first time out, the team made things so easy for me to slide in and we showed some real potential. We need to qualify on time so knowing this track and having a well prepared truck will be key,” he added.
During his first event in the #33 YourGMCTruckStore.com / Zimmer Auto Group Chevy White adapted quickly and showed continuous improvement throughout the weekend gaining four positions during the race. That’s the goal once again. “I want to get better every session,” said White. “I’m confident we can be quick enough to make the race on time. From there the goal is to have a clean race, go the distance and bring the Truck home in good shape”.
“I’m super happy to have my longtime friend and partner Rob Zimmer and the Zimmer Weaton Group and YourGMCTruckStore.com aboard with us this weekend, we wouldn’t be here without them”.
Heading to ISM Raceway in Phoenix is a sort of homecoming for White. “For many years I was there to watch my dad race his Supermodified in the annual Copper World Classic. It’s a big part of my childhood that I looked forward to every year”.
Jason White will hit the track for the first of two practice sessions in the #33 YourGMCTruckStore.com / Zimmer Auto Group Chevy Silverado Friday morning at 10:30AM. Qualifying is at 5:35PM and the green flag is scheduled to wave at approximately 8:40PM (All times local). The race will air live on FS1 in the United States and Fox Sports Racing in Canada.
Jason White PR
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series found themselves in the heart of Texas for their second race in the round of 6. Johnny Sauter secured his spot in the championship race with a win last week leaving three spots between seven drivers. With the pressure on, drivers pushed their trucks to the limits. We saw record speeds as Sauter set a new track record qualifying on the pole for the 221 mile race. Playoff contender Noah Gragson found the tracks limitations when he made significant contact with the wall during his qualifying run.
The race saw frequent cautions as tires and handling plagued competitors in the early runs of the race. Restarts were dicey with drivers vying for every spot, including the lead. The end of the first stage was coming to a close with Sheldon Creed, this years ARCA champion, leading. Knowing every point counts Justin Haley made the pass for the lead before the stage ending caution would fly just laps short of the scheduled 35 laps.
The second stage opened with a wild restart that would result in the biggest wreck of the night. Gragson and Sauter would find themselves involved, but only with minimal damage.
Inexperience at this fast track proved difficult for some but not all as we saw young drivers contending for the lead. Harrison Burton, making his first 1.5 mile truck start, found himself up to second. This next wave of great drivers was on display with the likes of Todd Gilliland and Austin Hill getting involved. Stage two would also end with a caution and it would be Myatt Snider taking the green and white checkered flag.
The final stage was more racing and less wrecking as drivers were able to put together their first long runs of the night. Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen found themselves to be the class of the field as they both had a few seconds over third place. It would be Friesen taking the lead before green flag stops began to cycle. Unfortunately for Friesen he was too fast on pit entry, leaving Gilliland in sole possession of a four second lead.
Surprisingly the race would continue green and while Haley found himself closing in it was too little too late as Gilliland put together clean lap after lap to try and secure his first career NCWTS victory. The gap between trucks shrunk, and it was getting closer, but nothing seemed wrong. Then it was obvious coming off of turn two, Gilliland was off pace and out of fuel.
In a serious case of Deja Vu it would be Justin Haley coming through for the victory to punch his ticket to the championship race. This was the same scene we saw play out at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in August.
The disappointment at CTMP was real, but the look in Gilliland’s eyes on Friday night was heartbreaking. It’s not easy having you first victory taken away twice.
Stage 2 Finish: 1st
- Gragson qualified second for the 147-lap event and maintained that position for the first half of Stage One.
- After a lap-18 restart, the 20-year-old driver fell back two spots to fourth position and after a lap-24 restart lost two more positions. He would end Stage One in the sixth position and communicated to crew chief Rudy Fugle that his Safelite Tundra was "free in and tight on exit."
- With track position being so important at the one-groove track, Fugle called for a fuel-only stop in an effort to put his driver near the front of the field went Stage Two went green. Unfortunately, the fuel handler had trouble engaging the fuel can and slowed the stop. After seeing the trouble, Fugle audibled to a four-tire stop and Gragson returned to the track scored in the 23rd position when Stage Two went green on lap 40.
- Shortly after going green an accident occurred mid-pack and the Safelite Tundra sustained moderate right-side damage. When pit road opened, Gragson brought his truck to the attention of the over-the-wall crew who went to work repairing the damage and making sure the wheel wells had adequate clearance. After a second stop to put four fresh tires on, the Las Vegas native would restart from the 21st position on lap 49.
- After going green, the damage repair was successful and Gragson began turning laps faster than the leader as he began to make his way back towards the front of the field.
- He had advanced to the 17th position when the sixth caution of the night occurred with 10 laps remaining in the stage. When six competitors hit pit road, he moved up to the 11th position for the lap-63 restart.
- With four laps remaining he worked his way up to the ninth spot, but fell back to 11th before the field crossed the stripe to end Stage Two on lap 70 and was not able to earn any stage points.
- When pit road opened, Gragson brought the Safelite Tundra to pit road for a right-side tire and fuel stop. With a handful of teams not pitting, the No. 18 returned to the track scored in the 10th position when the Final stage went green on lap 74.
- Gragson was able to advance up to the eighth spot momentarily and was running ninth when green-flag stops started on lap 115. He gave up the fourth position on lap 122 to hit pit road for fresh right-side tires and fuel.
- He returned to the track scored 10th when stops cycled through and would remain there when the field crossed the finish line.
- Gragson's bad luck continued when his KBM teammate Todd Gilliland ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap and allowed playoff contender Justin Haley to claim the victory and one of the spots in the Championship 4.
- Burton started eighth and said his Tundra was free early in the race.
- He was still eighth when he pitted under caution on lap 22 for four tires to gain track position when the first stage was scheduled to end on lap 35.
- A caution on lap 32 ended the stage early with Burton in 16th place.
- After staying out Burton started the second 35-lap stage in third.
- A multi-truck accident brought out the caution a lap later. When the race resumed on lap 50, Burton moved up to second.
- On lap 58 Justin Haley was able to get by him, which opened the door for a few other trucks to follow, leaving Burton in seventh.
- A caution on lap 62 brought Burton to pit road for four tires before the stage ended.
- He was 13th for the restart on lap 64, but when the stage ended he was able to stay out and move up to second.
- Burton was second to start the final stage behind his KBM teammate Todd Gilliland.
- With 50 to go he was holding his own in third place.
- During a green-flag pit cycle, he pitted for fuel only on lap 117 and was good to go until the end of the race.
- The field was strung out and without another caution, Burton finished the race sixth for his first ever start on an intermediate-sized track.