NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams thought they were racing the weather at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, and the threat of rain caused a race full of attrition. The 60-lap race was slowed by cautions nine times for several wrecks.
Rookie driver William Byron was able to survive several wrecks and restarts to claim his fifth win of the season. The record-breaking fifth win is the most ever scored by a rookie in one season, beating out Kurt Busch’s four wins in 2000.
“It’s a credit to this team,” Byron said in victory lane. “Rudy Fugle (crew chief) leads them all. The pit crew’s great. We have such great chemistry. We show up and do our jobs, and I just love being here. These things don’t come easy at all, so it’s a good thing when you get one. I just can’t thank Liberty University, Toyota, Kyle (Busch), Samantha and JGR engines enough.”
Now that Byron has scored five wins this year, he is safely in the championship hunt. The rookie is the clear-cut favorite for the title, and is already thinking ahead to September when the Chase begins.
“Our team is in good position for that,” Byron said. “We have so much laser focus on what we’re doing right now, and nothing from the outside’s thrown us off our game. Last week was a struggle, but I was just ready to get back on asphalt, and get back to something that I’m used to. It’s a credit to this team to come back like this, and get a win.
For the second time this season, Cameron Hayley finished a race in second. Hayley’s No. 13 Cabinets by Hayley Toyota Tundra ran up front all race long, but Hayley just couldn’t make his way around the No. 9 in the closing stages. Although he only finished second, the finish was enough to put him provisionally in the final Chase spot.
“I would’ve liked to get the win, but man, that 9 was fast,” Hayley said. “He just would drive away. We ran out coming in, and he still had enough for burnouts, so they’re doing something. Overall, great run for our Cabinets by Hayley Tundra. Couldn’t be happy enough thanks to Cabinets by Hayley, Carolina Nut Company and this whole team – they work their butts off. After the fire a month ago (at ThorSport Racing), to come back and run this strong in July is awesome.”
Brett Moffitt finished third in only his fourth career start. The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year was in the No. 11 Red Horse Racing Tundra as a fill-in for Matt Tifft as he recovers from brain surgery. It was an impressive run for Moffitt who fought through the attrition for a top-five finish.
“We were in the back a lot – honestly, if you would’ve told me we were third yesterday, I wouldn’t believe you,” Moffitt explained. “We were struggling with this truck, but everyone at Red Horse worked really hard late in the night last night, and back at it early again this morning. Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and all the guys really made it a fast truck. From the beginning of the race, we didn’t make a single adjustment. We spent a lot of time in the back, but Scott nailed the strategy just right when our last pit stop was, and it paid off big.”
Timothy Peters and Cole Custer rounded out the top-five with Rico Abreu, Ben Kennedy, Johnny Sauter, John Hunter Nemechek and Christopher Bell finishing out the top-10.
Although he only finished 10th, Christopher Bell’s finish was equally as impressive as his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, William Byron. Bell, who went five laps down early in the race for extensive truck repairs, came back to score a record-breaking five free passes to finish on the lead lap in 10th.
Byron’s biggest point competitor Matt Crafton finished 12th after a series of issues throughout the weekend. Before the race, Crafton complained that his truck was “terrible” on several occasions, and despite pit strategy moving him in the top-five at points during the race, the No. 88 fell back outside the top-10. Byron now has a 25-point lead on the two-time champion heading into Bristol Motor Speedway.