Just nine trucks were left (somewhat) standing on Friday night at Daytona International Speedway. Through all the carnage, Austin Hill emerged victorious in his first attempt with Hattori Racing. The truck that won the 2018 title just three months prior with Brett Moffitt returned to victory lane.
Hill pulled off a series of daring blocks to hold off ThorSport drivers Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger. With just a five car breakaway to settle it, nothing could really get established up high. All Hill had to do was protect one line — and he did it masterfully to pick up his first career win.
As great of a story as that is, the story was the wrecks tonight. Things got rolling with Jordan Anderson, who came down on Sheldon Creed, triggering the big one. Johnny Sauter, Brennan Poole, Myatt Snider and several others were caught up in the mess. Grant Enfinger fought back to finish second after being collected in this one.
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A second ‘big one’ would take place with under ten laps to go as Gus Dean was turned into Ben Rhodes, who was leading the race at the time. From there a couple of minor incidents continued to shape the field.
Teammates Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland went for a spin down the backstretch, each getting into the wall. Gilliland was trying to shove Burton towards the lead, but the push went wrong, ending both of their nights.
Bobby Gerhart — yes that Bobby Gerhart — wrecked from the 5th position with Austin Wayne Self late. Timothy Peters went for a spin with Clay Greenfield late, taking Greenfield out of contention.
On lap two of the race, both DGR-Crosley trucks (David Gilliland and Natalie Decker) had flat left front tires. Decker’s tire situation cause a fire, ending her night before it really ever began. Gilliland was able to get back rolling and contend until wrecking late.
All of that action left about five competitive trucks to battle it out in the end.
Angela Ruch nearly makes history
One main story of the night became the success of Angela Ruch, who was running for NEMCO Motorsports tonight. Ruch mixed it up in the pack early, climbing her way to 10th. That aggression helped get here out in front of the initial big one, setting the stage for her big night.
She played it pretty conservative after that, simply hanging out and waiting for the wrecks. It turned out to be a really nice strategy, placing her inside the top ten on the final restart. Ruch opted not to mix it up late, cruising to an eight place finish.
It was the second best finish ever by a female in the Trucks, just losing out to Jennifer Jo Cobb’s 6th place finish in 2011.