Christian Eckes led the field as race two of the Kansas double-header began. Zane Smith pursued Eckes and was able to take over the lead by Lap 10. Continuing with the long, green-flag run from last night, the caution-free Stage One concluded as Zane Smith took the green-and-white checkered flag. Austin Hill and Ben Rhodes played pit strategy under caution and emerged with the lead and second respectively.
Stage Two started on Lap 37, with Austin Hill leading while Matt Crafton, Smith, and Rhodes battled for second. Smith was able to retake the lead from Hill on Lap 41. Lap 43 brought out the first caution for an incident, as Bryan Dauzat went for a spin. With 14 laps to go in the stage, Zane Smith held the lead with Austin Hill following in second. Able to hold off all challengers, Smith was able to win the second stage. With pit stops complete, Stewart Friesen exited first with no tires and Matt Crafton exited in second.
Early on after Stage Three began, Travis Pastrana went for a spin through the infield grass. The stage resumed green with side-by-side racing throughout the field. The race slowed again as Derek Kraus spun, collecting Cory Roper. Once the race resumed, the carnage continued as the race slowed for a multi-truck crash that involved Stewart Friesen, Johnny Sauter, and other drivers.
Stage Three resumed on Lap 88 with Sheldon Creed pacing the field. Teammates Zane Smith, Brett Moffitt, and Tyler Ankrum got together coming out of Turn Four. Smith suffered minor damage while Ankrum and Moffitt’s days ended prematurely.
The race resumed on Lap 100 with Sheldon Creed and Matt Crafton on the first row. With a push from Sheldon Creed, Austin Hill was able to assume the lead. As he made a move for the lead, Creed made contact with the outside wall and fell to fourth place. During this time, the caution flew again as Raphael Lessard spun in Turn One due to a flat tire.
As the field came to complete Lap 108, Austin Hill and Matt Crafton restarted the race. Sheldon Creed’s day went from bad to worse as he smacked the Turn Four wall, drawing another caution. Hill and Crafton brought the field back to green with 22 laps left at Kansas Speedway. Crafton was able to power by Hill and sought his first victory in over three years.
Matt Crafton and Christian Eckes pulled away from the rest of the field with ten laps left. Eckes continued to hound Crafton and was able to pull within the leader’s bumper. Eckes continued to make Crafton’s life miserable as each driver jockeyed for the lead. The crafty-veteran needed to pull out every trick in the book, and did, as he held off Eckes and won the E.P.T. 200 at Kansas Speedway.
The second Gander Truck Series race of the weekend was the opposite of last night. Yes, Stages One and Two played out similarly to the Blue Emu 200 last night, but the third stage flipped the script. Action, excitement, and drama were on the menu for the third and final stage — just what any racing fan would want. What were your thoughts on today’s race?
The Truck Series will take a week off before they race August 7th at Michigan.