Ross Chastain smashes the competition to win NASCAR’s Truck Series race in Darlington

Ross Chastain celebrates his victory in the Click It Don’t Risk It 200 early Saturday morning at Darlington Raceway. Photo by David Barks.

Rain makes it a very late night at Darlington Raceway

DARLINGTON, SC – Delayed – not denied, and no one is happier than Ross Chastain.

The Watermelon Man had a smashing good overtime finish to win Friday night’s/Saturday morning’s NASCAR Truck Series Buckle Up South Carolina at Darlington Raceway – the kickoff to NASCAR’s Throwback Weekend.

Chastain, dropping down from NASCAR’s Cup Series, took off like a rocket at the start of overtime, jumped in front of race leader Ty Majeski, and drove to a 0.315-second victory over Nick Sanchez, Ben Rhodes, and Christian Eckes.

Majeski’s slow restart dropped him back to fifth, followed by Chase Purdy, Colby Howard, Taylor Gray, Ty Dillon, and Tanner Gray.

Chastain was in the lead only once, but he grabbed it at the right time – the final three laps.

“We have been trying to win at Darlington,” said Chastain. “This is where my career changed, my life changed forever. It’s so coo l— we won Darlington.”

Ross Chastain (45), Nick Sanchez (2), and Ben Rhodes (99) take the white flag signaling the final lap of Friday night/Saturday morning’s NASCAR Truck race at Darlington Raceway. Photo by David Barks.

The race over Darlington’s 1.366-mile asphalt oval was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

A light but steady rain put a damper on that, pushing the start back by two hours and 40 minutes.

After the rain stopped, and the Titan Air Dryers worked their magic, the race finally began at 10:10 p.m.

It ended shortly after midnight.

The action on the track made it a memorable evening for the few thousand hardy fans who waited out the weather.

Sanchez won the pole but started the race last – in 32nd position – because of unapproved adjustments after he bounced off the wall during qualifying.

He then had an up-and-down night, powering up to 14th at the end of Stage 1, then into the top 10 in the middle of Stage 2, before falling back again after banging sides with Ben Rhodes.

Ross Chastain (45) and Ty Majeski (98) lead the field on the overtime restart of Friday night/Saturday morning’s truck race at Darlington Raceway. Photo by David Barks.

But he was back in the mix at the end, jumping up from the third row on the overtime restart but could only close to withing three trucks lengths at the end.

Meanwhile, Majeski, who led 36 laps, was in prime position to pick up hi first win of the year, went the other way on the overtime restart.

The overtime became necessary when Jack Wood had his right front tire go down with eight laps left in regulation.

The caution came out, the leaders hit pit road for a fresh set of tires for OT.

The cliché is that this is the money stop – the win should go to the team that’s quickest in the pits.

Majeski was first out of the pits, just ahead of Chastain, Jake Garcia, Howard, Eckes, Sanchez, and Rhodes.

But it was Chastain who got the jump on the restart and, while Majeski was slow to get up to speed, Sanchez, Rhodes, and Eckes were able to drive by.

“I should have taken the inside,” said Majeski, who start overtime from the outside lane. “It sucks when you’re in position to win with a truck like that. We were so good on the long run and not so good on the short run. It would take 10-15 laps for this thing to get going, and then the thing was just lights-out but it came down to a short run, and I didn’t execute like we needed to.”

One other notable had an awful night.

Cup racer Kyle Busch, competing in his fifth and final truck race of the season, started third.

On Lap 2, Busch challenged Corey Heim for the lead coming out of Turn 4.

He went inside Heim, spun out, and hit the inside wall.

Busch went off for repairs but was quickly back on the track – but not for long.

On Lap 11,  Busch spun again, slammed hard into the wall and was done for the night – in last place, the first time ever he finished last in a truck race.

“It just instantly stepped out,” said Busch to FOX Sports Bob Pockrass after the second crash. “The truck was wrecked, there was no reason it should have been out on the race track.”

Sparks shoot from beneath Jack Wood’s (91) truck after a tire failed on Lap 149 of Friday night/Saturday morning’s truck race. The mishap caused the race to go into overtime. Photo by David Bark.

Heim’s night also ended early.

Heim was strong from the start and won both Stages 1 and 2.

But he got caught ibn a five-car wreck after a restart on Lap 98 that began when Dean Thompson got loose underneath Heim coming out of Turn 2.

That started a chain reaction that also damaged the trucks of Matt Crafton, Layne Riggs, and Rajah Caruth. Heim, Riggs, Crafton, and Caruth were done. 

“It’s real tight there off of (Turn) 2, and the 5 (Thompson) just kind of lost it there,” said Caruth said. “We had a really fast truck. We’ll get ‘em next time.”

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Race – Buckle Up South Carolina 200

Darlington Raceway

Darlington, South Carolina

Friday, May 10, 2024

  1. (Started 6)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 150 laps completed.
  2. (1)  Nick Sanchez, Chevrolet, 150.
  3. (12)  Ben Rhodes, Ford, 150.
  4. (7)  Christian Eckes, Chevrolet, 150.
  5. (16)  Ty Majeski, Ford, 150.
  6. (19)  Chase Purdy, Chevrolet, 150.
  7. (18)  Colby Howard, Toyota, 150.
  8. (3)  Taylor Gray, Toyota, 150.
  9. (15)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 150.
  10. (5)  Tanner Gray, Toyota, 150.
  11. (25)  Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 150.
  12. (22)  Lawless Alan, Ford, 150.
  13. (27)  Timmy Hill, Toyota, 150.
  14. (11)  Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 150.
  15. (29)  Mason Massey, Chevrolet, 150.
  16. (9)  Grant Enfinger, Chevrolet, 150.
  17. (28)  Bret Holmes, Chevrolet, 150.
  18. (32)  Thad Moffitt #, Chevrolet, 150.
  19. (30)  Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 150.
  20. (14)  Jake Garcia, Ford, 150.
  21. (8)  Layne Riggs #, Ford, 148.
  22. (17)  Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 148.
  23. (10)  Daniel Dye, Chevrolet, 148.
  24. (21)  Conner Jones #, Ford, 145.
  25. (23)  Jack Wood, Chevrolet, Accident, 139.
  26. (24)  Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, 136.
  27. (31)  Mason Maggio, Ford, Brakes, 121.
  28. (2)  Corey Heim, Toyota, Accident, 105.
  29. (13)  Dean Thompson, Toyota, Accident, 97.
  30. (26)  Rajah Caruth, Chevrolet, Accident, 97.
  31. (20)  Matt Crafton, Ford, Accident, 97.
  32. (4)  Kyle Busch(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 6.

i – ineligible for points

Average Speed of Race Winner:  101.983 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 0 Mins, 33 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.315 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 37 laps.

Lead Changes:  12 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   N. Sanchez 0;C. Heim 1-49;T. Gray 50-52;C. Heim 53;T. Gray 54-57;C. Heim 58;T. Gray 59-67;C. Heim 68-93;G. Enfinger 94-96;T. Majeski 97-105;C. Eckes 106-120;T. Majeski 121-147;R. Chastain(i) 148-150.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Corey Heim 4 times for 77 laps; Ty Majeski 2 times for 36 laps; Taylor Gray 3 times for 16 laps; Christian Eckes 1 time for 15 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 1 time for 3 laps; Grant Enfinger 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 11,19,98,17,38,45,5,99,52,9

Stage #2 Top Ten: 11,71,19,98,9,88,38,45,17,13

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