LONG POND, Pa. — The 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoff picture became slightly clearer after Ross Chastain took the checkered flag at Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon.
Chastain collected his third win of the 2019 NGOTS campaign, and now has two wins that count toward qualifying for the 2019 Playoffs after declaring for points in the middle of the season.
Austin Hill started on the pole position, with Chastain alongside. The outside lane proving to be the preferred groove, Chastain was able to clear Hill in Turn 1 on the first lap.
The caution quickly flew when Stewart Friesen spun from the bottom lane in Turn 1 and up into Anthony Alfredo, ending both of their races early.
On the following restart, the caution would fly again almost immediately, as Bryan Dauzat slid through Turn 1 and backed it into the wall.
The caution was almost displayed once again on the next restart, as Bayley Currey spun before the field even got to the first turn. The spin caused Johnny Sauter to receive damage, but NASCAR officials held the flag, and the race continued on green.
Chastain went on to win Stage 1 over Sheldon Creed.
In Stage 2, Chastain continued his dominance and control over the race.
As the field made it through Turn 1, Creed collected front end damage after tagging the wall, and pole-sitter Hill limped around the track with an apparent clutch issue. The race stayed green, and the strategies began to play out.
With a handful of laps remaining in the second stage, Chastain forfeited the lead and possible stage victory to take pit service. The plan was to then stay out during the stage break, and regain the lead.
The plan worked, as Harrison Burton was declared the Stage 2 winner, but had to pit during the stage break, along with all the other trucks that didn’t pit before the stage break.
Chastain led the field back to the green, and never was challenged again as the race went to the end caution-free.
Chastain led 54 of the 60 laps, collecting 50 drivers points and 6 playoff points.
— Justin Melillo (@justinmelillo) July 27, 2019
Grant Enfinger continues to lead the points standings, by 34 points over Brett Moffitt.
Moffitt, Chastain, Sauter, Hill, and Tyler Ankrum all have currently qualified into the playoffs with a victory. Enfinger, Matt Crafton, and Friesen are the current three that would make it via points.
Chastain has all but locked into the playoffs, and can do so next week if he leaves Eldora with a 56 point lead over 19th place in the standings.
The next race will be at Eldora Speedway for the annual NGOTS dirt race.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com