Zane Smith slides in front of Eckes for the win
Zane Smith captured his first career win in the Henry Ford Health System 200 at Michigan International Speedway after passing Christian Eckes on the last lap of the August 7th race.
On an overtime restart, Grant Enfinger got a push from Austin Hill and then Hill dove to the middle of the track. Enfinger sensing his chance to win fading with that move by Hill moved down to block, however Hill was already there.
After the contact, Enfinger went spinning to the inside and Hill and Nemechek also made contact, taking them out of contention. Christian Eckes inherited the lead and after battling it out, Zane Smith ended up in second.
Smith then got a run going into turn two and was able to clear Eckes off turn two. The win qualifies Smith for the playoffs who now has eight playoff points.
“I knew we had a really fast truck all day,” said Smith. “Really never gave up, I think with five to go I was 18th or 20th and towards the end we had a couple trucks get together, and then me, the 18 [Eckes], 4[Raphael Lessard], and someone else made our way through there. I just timed my run right with the 18 and luckily got by him.”
This race was the first race where drivers were able to use the choose cone rule which was introduced during this year’s All-Star race at Bristol. The rule allows drivers to choose which lane they restart in after a caution, but if the driver runs over the box in the middle of the arrow they are sent to the back. In the past, the top lane has been the preferred lane on the restart but there were times where the bottom lane was able to hang with the top lane for a little bit on restarts.
“I felt like it always worked out for me,” said Eckes. “It’s situation dependent and I did think a lot of people chose the top in the middle of the race, so it did make it top dominant. In the same aspect, we were able to hopscotch a few places because of that.
This race did have a record number of cautions at 10 between the spins and the wrecks that resulted in damaged trucks throughout the race. Some of the key cautions in the race include Christian Eckes spinning off of turn 2 on lap 12, a multi-truck accident on lap 49 where Stewart Friesen came across the nose of Eckes and ended up damaging multiple trucks and ended Friesen’s day.
With 20 laps to go in the race, teammates Grant Enfinger and Johnny Sauter was battling for the lead, when Sauter was side drafting Enfinger he got loose and got up into Enfinger but Sauter backed into the wall damaging the rear of his truck.
Finishing in the Top-10 behind Smith and Eckes was Tanner Gray, Tyler Ankrum, Todd Gilliland, Brett Moffitt, Raphael Lessard, Derek Kraus, Parker Kligerman and David Gravel. The Gander Outdoor & RV Truck series travels to Daytona International Speedway to tackle the road course on Sunday August 16 at 12 pm as the first part of a double header with the Cup Series.
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