Zane Smith wins first Gander Trucks race in thrilling finish at Michigan

August 7, 2020

By Holly Cain
NASCAR Wire Service

Zane Smith made a last lap pass in double overtime to earn his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series victory Friday night in the Henry Ford Health System 200 at Michigan International Speedway.

The 21-year old Smith held off his friend, Sunoco rookie Christian Eckes by a mere 0.318-second for the victory and his official berth into the upcoming 2020 series Playoffs. Their duel was made possible after the race’s most dominant driver Grant Enfinger was taken from the lead on the restart in a three-truck collision at the front of the field involving 2019 Michigan race winner Austin Hill and NASCAR Cup Series rookie John Hunter Nemechek.

Grant Enfinger, a two-race winner this season, led a race best 38 of the 107 laps but finished 33rd.

Former NHRA champion-turned NASCAR rookie Tanner Gray finished a career-best third followed by Tyler Ankrum (fourth) and Todd Gilliland (fifth). The average age of the top five finishers is 20 years old.

Brett Moffitt, Raphael Lessard, Derek Kraus, Parker Kligerman and World of Outlaws sprint car star David Gravel rounded out the top-10. It was a career-best finish for Lessard as well.

After holding the checkered flag up on the Michigan frontstretch, an emotional Smith climbed out of his No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet and spoke about the personal enormity of his victory. His previous best finish in only 11 career series starts was third at Charlotte Motor Speedway earlier this year.

“I really don’t know where to start,” the California-native Smith said. “A lot of people don’t understand my situation with racing. It’s unbelievable I’ve made it to this point. Just thank you.

“A lot of this sport, as we all know, is about money and I don’t come from that. Making it to this point and to win and to be with such an awesome team like GMS Racing is something special,” said an emotional Smith. “I wish everyone could be here so I could celebrate with my parents and my girlfriend. Man, this is a lot to take in and it was awesome racing with all my friends. Man, an unbelievable day.”

The veteran, 2016 series champion Johnny Sauter was chasing Enfinger down during green flag laps late in the race and looked to be making a solid charge from an uncharacteristic points position outside the current Playoff top-10. But Sauter’s No. 13 ThorSport Ford wiggled loose and crashed while running alongside his teammate Enfinger. Prior to that he won Stage 2 of the race – his first stage win of the season – and led a season best 18 laps, but ultimately he finished 16th.

Sauter’s accident was one of a record 11 caution periods. There were 18 lead changes among 13 drivers.

Moffitt, another former series champion, won the opening stage of the race.

The series heads to Daytona International Speedway for a first-ever race on the famed track’s infield road course next Sunday at 12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Race – 21st Annual Henry Ford Health System 200
Michigan International Speedway
Brooklyn, Michigan
Friday, August 7, 2020

1. (7) Zane Smith, Chevrolet, 107.
2. (3) Christian Eckes #, Toyota, 107.
3. (16) Tanner Gray #, Ford, 107.
4. (14) Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, 107.
5. (19) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 107.
6. (2) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 107.
7. (11) Raphael Lessard, Toyota, 107.
8. (9) Derek Kraus, Toyota, 107.
9. (35) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 107.
10. (12) David Gravel, Chevrolet, 107.
11. (10) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 107.
12. (5) Austin Hill, Toyota, 107.
13. (25) Tate Fogleman, Chevrolet, 107.
14. (38) Dawson Cram, Chevrolet, 107.
15. (18) Ty Majeski, Chevrolet, 107.
16. (13) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 107.
17. (29) Josh Reaume, Toyota, 107.
18. (26) Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, 107.
19. (20) Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 107.
20. (22) Clay Greenfield, Toyota, 107.
21. (30) Tyler Hill, Chevrolet, 107.
22. (23) Jesse Iwuji, Toyota, 107.
23. (4) Matt Crafton, Ford, 107.
24. (28) Cory Roper, Ford, 107.
25. (34) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Ford, 107.
26. (32) Tim Viens, Chevrolet, 107.
27. (31) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 107.
28. (33) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 107.
29. (39) Trey Hutchens III, Chevrolet, 107.
30. (8) Sheldon Creed, Chevrolet, 106.
31. (36) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 106.
32. (24) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 106.
33. (6) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 105.
34. (37) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, 103.
35. (17) Brennan Poole(i), Toyota, Accident, 100.
36. (15) Jeb Burton(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 99.
37. (27) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 96.
38. (1) Chandler Smith, Toyota, Accident, 59.
39. (21) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, Accident, 49.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 96.918 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 12 Mins, 29 Secs. Margin of Victory: .318 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 11 for 51 laps.
Lead Changes: 17 among 13 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B. Moffitt 1-20;C. Smith 21-24;R. Lessard 25-28;J. Sauter 29-43;J. Reaume 44;T. Gilliland 45-47;A. Hill 48-56;S. Creed 57;A. Hill 58-59;D. Cram 60-62;J. Sauter 63-64;J. Nemechek(i) 65-66;G. Enfinger 67-83;J. Sauter 84;G. Enfinger 85-105;C. Eckes # 106;Z. Smith 107.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Grant Enfinger 2 times for 38 laps; Brett Moffitt 1 time for 20 laps; Johnny Sauter 3 times for 18 laps; Austin Hill 2 times for 11 laps; Raphael Lessard 1 time for 4 laps; Chandler Smith 1 time for 4 laps; Dawson Cram 1 time for 3 laps; Todd Gilliland 1 time for 3 laps; John Hunter Nemechek(i) 1 time for 2 laps; Christian Eckes # 1 time for 1 lap; Sheldon Creed 1 time for 1 lap; Zane Smith 1 time for 1 lap; Josh Reaume 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 23,2,99,88,19,16,98,52,21,51
Stage #2 Top Ten: 13,23,38,98,15,2,16,8,75,19