Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6004)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

Kyle Busch continued his dominating march with NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win number 54 and NASCAR national series win number 201 at Martinsville Speedway. The 33-year-old led a total of 174 of 250 laps after starting the race in the second position in the No. 51 Cessna Toyota Tundra. In three NGOTS starts in 2019, Busch has earned three victories.
Stage One Recap:
  • In three rounds of group qualifying at the .526-mile oval, Busch posted the second-fastest lap and started the race on the front row.
  • Within 8 laps, Busch had made his way into the lead and he maintained that position at the front through the end of the first stage.
  • Busch earned the stage win, and crew chief Rudy Fugle brought him to pit road following the stage for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
 Stage Two Recap:
  • Busch began the second stage in the second position, but soon took the lead.
  • He reported that his Toyota Tundra needed to stay in the race track more, and under caution on lap 117, Fugle called him to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
  • The stop cost him track position and the owner-driver spent the remainder of the second stage in the third position.
 Stage Three Recap:
  • The driver of the No. 51 Cessna Tundra started the third stage in the third position.
  • Busch and Fugle opted to conserve tires and ride in the third position until about 70 laps to go when Busch began to move toward the front. After a short battle with the No. 45, Busch retook the point position, which he maintained through multiple late race cautions and a last lap yellow flag that ended the race.
  • In his 148th series start, Busch earned his 54th career victory and third of the season in three starts.


Making his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) debut at Martinsville Speedway, 17-year-old Canadian driver Raphael Lessard had a realistic goal of completing all the laps and finishing the event with his Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra in one piece.
Lessard, a graduate of the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Super Late Model program, caught everyone's attention on Friday when he finished both full-field practices ranked ninth among the 38 cars entered. The results came despite the fact that he had never made laps in a truck, was working with crew chief Michael Shelton for the first time and had never turned a lap at a the challenging .526-mile track in any type of vehicle. The talented teenager upped his game in Saturday morning's qualifying session when he earned the seventh starting position for the 250-lap event.
Lessard got shuffled back a few spots on the initial start of the race and would end Stage 1 in the 10th position. After making the first pit stop of his Truck Series career, he was scored in the 11th position when the field took the green to start Stage Two.
During the final two stages, Lessard and the No. 46 team found it challenging to find the grip necessary to return to the top 10, but were able to register an average running position of 14.0 as Lessard kept the nose of his Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra clean, gained valuable seat time that will help him for his final two starts of his three-race schedule with KBM this season and at the end of the day posted a very respectable 14th-place finish in the race that was televised nationally on FOX.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Lessard started the 131.5-mile event from the seventh position on the inside lane, but fell back two positions on the initial start of the race. He would settle into the ninth spot for the first 20 laps and then fell back one more spot to 10th, where he would remain when a one-truck accident on lap 64 brought the field to the end of Stage One. 
Stage Two Recap: 
  • Lessard communicated to Shelton that his Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra was "tight center and free off" before hitting pit road. The over-the-wall crew executed a four-tire and fuel stop along with a trackbar adjustment in an attempt to improve the handling for their young driver.
  • The No. 46 Toyota was scored in the 11th position when the field took the green flag to start Stage Two on lap 79. He was scored in the 13th position when one-truck accident slowed the field for the third time on lap 119.
  • After Lessard reported that he was "super loose on entry," Shelton summoned his driver to pit road for another four-tire and fuel stop, this time using a wedge adjustment in an effort to improve the handling.
  • With a handful of trucks electing not to pit, the Canadian driver took the lap-122 restart from the 15th position. He lost one more spot over the final 18 laps and crossed the stripe 16th to end Stage Two. 
Final Stage Recap: 
  • Between stages Lessard reported that he still wasn't happy with the handling of his Tundra, so when pit road opened, he returned to pit road. Shelton elected to save his final set of sticker tires for later in the race and just called for his over-the-wall crew to make a chassis adjustment and fill the truck with fuel.
  • The No. 46 Toyota restarted in the 13th position when the Final Stage went green on lap 152. Shortly into the stage, Lessard got put in a three-wide situation by Cup Series regular Austin Dillon and would end up falling back to the 17th spot.
  • Lessard was running in the 16th spot when the field was slowed for the fifth time with 60 laps remaining. Shelton put on the final set of tires and made one more attempt at improving the handling of the Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra.
  • The field would go back green with 53 laps remaining with the first-time driver scored in the 17th position. He remained in the 17th position when the field was slowed again with 38 laps remaining and was still scored 17th when the sixth caution of the day occurred with seven laps remaining.
  • The final restart of the race came with three laps remaining. The young Canadian would battle hard to gain three positions before a caution on the final lap ended the race. At the end of the day Lessard had completed all 250 laps with his Tundra in one piece and earned a very respectable 14th-place finish. 


A late-race shuffle left Derek Kraus with an 18th-place finish on Saturday in his first visit to Martinsville Speedway and only his second NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series race.


Kraus had charged up to 12th in Bill McAnally Racing’s No. 19 ENEOS / NAPA Toyota Tundra, but a restart with only three laps to go made way for some rough and tumble action that pushed him high on the track.


The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Stratford, Wisconsin had qualified 11th earlier in the day. In the race, he got a lap behind and then battled to get back on the lead lap with about 50 laps remaining. He started picking off the competition from there, working his way toward the top 10 before the caution came out with less than 10 laps to go.


“We fell behind early and had to just work throughout the day to get back on the lead lap,” Kraus said. “Once we did, we were able to pass a lot of trucks with our ENEOS Tundra. We got back up there, but got caught up in someone else’s mess.”


Kraus acknowledged how tough it can be to race around the paperclip-shaped, half-mile Virginia track.


“It’s definitely a challenging place to race,” he said. “It can get frustrating at times, but overall it was a pretty good day for our BMR team.”


Saturday’s race marked BMR’s first truck race with ENEOS branding. ENEOS joined the team at the beginning of the year as a primary sponsor on the team’s Tundra – along with NAPA AUTO PARTS, NAPA Filters, and Toyota/TRD.


This is the first of four races in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series that Kraus is slated to compete in with BMR this year. The next truck series race on his schedule will be at Dover International Speedway in Delaware on May 3.


The four truck races are on off weekends from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, where Kraus is in his third full season competing for BMR – driving the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. In addition, he is running select events this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – where he won the season opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway as part of NASCAR’s Speedweeks.


In advance of the Martinsville event, the BMR team made a special visit for a store showing at a NAPA Store in Reidsville, North Carolina on Thursday. At the track on Saturday, a special VIP experience was provided for a group from NAPA Power Premium Plus, selected through a sales promotion. Activities included a VIP suite and a special chance to visit the garage area.


The race, which was won by Kyle Busch, was televised live on FOX and was also carried live on MRN radio.


Harrison Burton and the Safelite AutoGlass team started Saturday's TruNorth Global 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway from the 18th starting position and worked their way inside the top 10 for the majority of the race before ending the day with an 11th-place finish.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Burton started the 250-lap event from the 18th position but once the green flag dropped began to methodically maneuver towards the front of the field. The second-generation driver had gained five spots by lap six and when the first caution of the race occurred on lap 64 was scored in the 11th position. A lengthy cleanup would bring Stage One to end under caution. 
Stage Two Recap: 
  • Burton communicated to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that his Safelite Tundra was "tight center and free off" before hitting pit road for four fresh tires, with an air pressure adjustment, and fuel.
  • A speedy stop by the over-the-wall crew put Burton in the sixth position when Stage Two went green on lap 79. He had fallen three spots to the ninth position when a one-truck spin slowed the field for the second time on lap 119.
  • Hillman Jr. summoned his young driver to pit road for four tires and fuel. Another solid stop placed him eighth for the lap-128 restart.
  • He gained two spots once the field went back green and would end Stage Two in the sixth position. 
Final Stage Recap: 
  • With two competitors pitting between stages, Burton moved up to the fourth position for the start of the Final Stage on lap 151. In the opening laps of the Final Stage, he communicated that the Safelite Tundra was "tight center" as he settled into the fifth position.
  • When the fourth caution of the day slowed the file on lap 189, Hillman Jr. and his crew took the opportunity to put on the final set of sticker tires and make a chassis adjustment to try and improve the handling of their Toyota Tundra.
  • The Safelite Tundra was scored in the 12th spot when the field when back green on lap 198. He advanced two spots on the restart and was scored in the 10th spot when the next caution occurred with 40 laps remaining.
  • After getting shuffled out of the low lane and losing several spots, Burton was scored in the 14th position when the field was slowed for the sixth time with eight to go.
  • The talented teenager was able to muscle his way up three spots to 11th before a caution on the final lap brought and end to the race.
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How was your race today?
"Not the day we wanted with our No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra. Everybody on the team worked hard and didn't give up, but in the end, we didn't produce the result we wanted. We've been pretty good on the mile-and-a-half tracks this year and had a solid outing last November at Texas, so we'll go there next week and look to rebound."
The TruNoth 250 Recap: 
  • KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch collected the 54nd win of his NGOTS career and his 201st in NASCAR's top three divisions. Ben Rhodes came home in the runner-up spot while Brett Moffit, Ross Chastain and Stewart Friesen rounded out the top-five finishers.
  • The race featured seven cautions for a total of 50 laps. There were eight lead changes among four drivers. 
How Burton's KBM Teammates Fared: 
  • Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished first
  • Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 46 Toyota, finished 14th
  • Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 15th 
NGOTS Championship Standings:
Burton fell three positions to fifth in the NGOTS championship standings. After four races he finds himself nine tallies behind points leader Steward Friesen.
Next Race:
Burton will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Hunt Brothers Pizza Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action March 29 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Live coverage of the Vankor 350 begins Friday at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.
Todd Gilliland finished 15th in the TruNorth Global 250 at Martinsville Speedway after a promising top-10 run was soured in the closing laps after contact with another vehicle forced the No. 4 into the outside wall. Gilliland qualified the No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra third, and remained in the top-10 most of the day, challenging for a top-five, as teammate Kyle Busch dominated.
Stage One Recap:
  • After three rounds of group qualifying, Gilliland earned the third starting position.
  • The 18-year-old battled a tight handling condition but held on to finish fourth in the first stage.
  • Following the first stage, Richmond brought Gilliland to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments to address the handling condition, but trouble on the stop lost the No. 4 team several positions.
Stage Two Recap:
  • The start of the second stage saw Gilliland in the eighth position.
  • With 22 laps remaining in the stage, Gilliland narrowly avoided a spinning truck, then visited pit road for four fresh tires and fuel.
  • The young driver battled traffic on the restart, falling to 13th, but worked his way back up to finish the second stage in the 10th position, contributing to a total of eight stage points earned.
Stage Three Recap:
  • Gilliland began the final stage in seventh and worked his way toward the front.
  • After navigating his way through several late race cautions, Gilliland looked to be in a solid sixth place, but as the white flag flew, the No. 4 Tundra ran out of real estate and made contact with the outside wall. Gilliland lost positions, resulting in a 15th-place finish.
TruNorth Global 250 Recap:
  • Kyle Busch won the race, with Ben Rhodes, Brett Moffitt, Ross Chastain and Stewart Friesen rounding out the top-five finishers.
  • The race featured seven cautions for 50 laps and eight lead changes among four drivers.
How Gilliland's KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra, finished 11th
Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 46 Toyota Tundra, finished 14th
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra, finished first
NGOTS Championship Standings:
The No. 4 team completes the fourth race of the season with Gilliland ranked 9th in the Truck Series Driver Championship Standings, 25 points behind the leader.
Next Race:
Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 team will be back on track Friday, March 29 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Live coverage of the Vankor 350 begins at 9:00 p.m. EST on FS1.
Austin Hill drove to a 16th-place finish on Saturday afternoon in the TruNorth Global 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Hill leaves “The Paperclip” seventh in the ultra-tight NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship standings, only 16 points out of the lead, and still holds the only guaranteed spot in the playoffs.
Hill began the first short-track race of the season from the ninth position and ran inside the top-10 for the vast majority of the first stage. The driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra dealt with a lack of forward drive off the flat corners but managed to garner three points in eighth position at the end of Stage 1 on lap 70. Hill stayed on track while the rest of his competitors pitted under the stage break and inherited the race lead for the lap 80 restart.
Despite a 50-plus lap disadvantage on tires, Hill hung tough to maintain a net track position gain and ran sixth when a fortuitous caution flew on lap 118. Hill came to the attention of crew chief Scott Zipadelli and company for four tires and air pressure changes to aid his tight condition in the center of each corner. As the majority of the field pitted along with Hill, he maintained his position in the top-10 and earned another three points in eighth at Stage 2’s conclusion on lap 140. 
Over the final stage, Hill’s balance consistently built tight as rubber continued to lay down on the 0.526-mile oval. Hill consistently contended for a position in the top-10 and came to pit road for four fresh tires for the final time under caution on lap 211. Hill restarted 17th and blitzed his way to 10th in just 11 laps. A caution with seven laps left bunched up the field and led to Hill being on the wrong end of contact with the No. 13 truck with two laps left and relegated him to a 16th-place finish. 
Austin Hill Quote:
“We just kept getting tighter and tighter as the day went. A lot of rubber got laid down on the bottom and our United Rentals Tundra just didn’t roll the center like we needed to. Scott (Zipadelli) made a good call towards the end to put tires on it and play offense the last 30 laps or so. We got back up to 10th before that last caution, and it definitely wasn’t what we needed. It’s Martinsville and it gets physical and unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of it today. I'm glad we don't have to wait long to get to Texas next week and try to try get ourselves a little redemption."


The Nascar Gander Outdoor Truck Series returned to action today with a short track brawl at the iconic Martinsviller Speedway.

Stewart Freisen started on the pole, but it was Kyle Busch who would soon take the lead and drive away from the field.

The first stage of 70 laps would end eight laps early with a caution. Oil and debris on track would not allow NASCAR to open pit road or have a late stage restart. Busch would win the stage with only 15 cars on the lead lap.

Busch would find himself leading for the majority of the 70 lap stage two when another cation flew with 23 to go. Friesen found himself in the lead on the restart, but with ten to go he was overtaken by Ross Chastain who would go on to win the stage.

The racing was exciting throughout the field with cars side by side through the corners and the outside lane even had a chance as rubber was laid down by the trucks. The bumpers were used as impatient driver pushed their way to the front and the laps wound down.

With exciting racing throughout the field the lead for the race was not exciting and I say that with an odd sort of content. There was however an exciting battle for the race in the earlier laps of stage three when Busch was able to take the lead form Chastain.

After a few corners back and forth it was Busch out front and then he pulled away never to be seen again. Even with two cautions in the last 40 laps there was not a challenge to be seen.

Kyle Busch went on to win his 54th NASCAR truck race.

The trucks will be back at it next Saturday night, March 29th, at 9PM ET for the Longhorn 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.

A week after locking up his 200th NASCAR national series victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Kyle Busch took the first step toward the next century mark.

Holding off challenges from Ross Chastain and runner-up Ben Rhodes, Busch survived a late restart in winning Saturday’s TruNorth Global 250 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

The race ended under a last-lap caution, after Reid Wilson’s No. 44 Chevrolet spun in Turn 4 and nosed toward the inside wall. Rhodes was running second when the yellow flag waved, with reigning series champion Brett Moffitt third and Chastain fourth.

The victory was Busch’s second at the .526-mile short track in his own Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Busch has won each of his three starts this season and now has 54 victories in Trucks, extending his series record.

“These guys worked really, really hard this weekend,” Busch said of crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 team. “We unloaded, and I didn’t like where we were at. We made wholesale changes to this thing all weekend long and just tried to keep improving this Cessna Beechcraft Tundra and make it faster…

“All these guys kept trying to make it turn the center (of the corner) better. At Martinsville, you have to turn the center without getting too loose in or too loose off… And we had enough tire at the end to hold them all off.”

Busch led 174 of the 250 laps, including the final 66. He passed Chastain for the top spot on Lap 185 and held it the rest of the way through four subsequent cautions before the final restart with three circuits remaining.

“Today we just kind of let the race play out and come to us,” Busch said.

Rhodes had a second-place car but not a race winner—and he knew it.

“It was a good day at Martinsville,” Rhodes conceded. “It was the best finish I’ve had here yet. I was surprised—qualifying 16th. We had a fast Ford F150, but we just needed a little more. We got beat by the best in the business. He knows what he’s doing here.

“It was fun following him and seeing how he was pacing himself. That’s something I’ve struggled with in the past… Anytime you restart next to that guy, I try to log it in my memory banks so I can just try and get him next time.”

Pole winner Stewart Friesen finished fifth after leading 19 laps, third most behind Busch and Chastain (53). Myatt Snider, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Bubba Wallace completed the top 10.

French Canadian driver Raphael Lessard finished 14th in his first start in the Truck Series. 

Niece Motorsports, a professional stock car racing team that competes in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, has signed female stock car race driver Angela Ruch for 12 races in the 2019 racing season.

Niece Motorsports, founded/owned by Al Niece, enters its third full season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Al Niece is well-known in the industry, not only for his trucks and drivers, but as the only Marine Corps veteran NASCAR owner. Niece also owns Niece Equipment, which has a forty-year history providing water and fuel/lube trucks to the construction and mining industries.

“We are thrilled to welcome Angela Ruch into the Niece Motorsports family,” said Al Niece. “Angela’s had a strong start to the 2019 season, and we look forward to continuing that, starting in Texas. The team is excited to work with Angela and see what we can all accomplish together this year.”

Angela Ruch (Cope) is the third generation in the Cope family to enter into the car racing industry. She is following in the footsteps of her uncle Derrike Cope, who won the 1990 Daytona 500. Angela’s racing career can be traced back to when she started racing go-karts at the age of nine, where she won local poles and races.

For Niece Motorsports, Angela will compete in the following races:

  • Texas Motor Speedway - March 29, 2019
  • Kansas Speedway - May 10, 2019
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway - May 17, 2019
  • Texas Motor Speedway - June 7, 2019
  • Chicagoland Speedway - June 28, 2019
  • Kentucky Speedway - July 11, 2019
  • Pocono Raceway - July 27, 2019
  • Michigan International Speedway - August 10, 2019
  • Canadian Tire Motorsport Park - August 25, 2019
  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Sept 13, 2019
  • Talladega Superspeedway - Oct 12, 2019
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway - Nov 15, 2019

Along with racing, Angela is involved with her nephew’s charity organization, Give a Child a Voice, a 501c3 non-profit organization, dedicated to providing support to children dealing with bullying, life-threatening illnesses, or abuse. The organization was started by Angela’s teenage nephew, Eric Erdman, who is currently battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Angela has gone through her own set of challenges as she and her husband, Mike Ruch, decided to adopt after many attempts to conceive. On March 9, she became a mother, when she brought home her healthy newborn baby, King Knight Ruch. And in addition to motherhood, racing and family, Angela and Mike are set to debut a new TV series this spring called, “The Ruch Life,” an unscripted docu-series highlighting the ups and downs of balancing her career in racing, relationship with her husband, and her new endeavor as a mother.

Angela Ruch PR

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