Zane Smith, who was on his first stint racing for Front Row Motorsports, was in contention to win the race until a 19-truck crash occurred with one lap remaining, forcing the race into overtime.
Zane Smith’s new beginning at Front Row Motorsports is off to a strong start after winning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ season-opening NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
Smith started second on the overtime restart and quickly took the lead thanks to a strong push from Parker Kligerman. Another accident occurred, but Smith had already claimed the white flag and was declared the winner under caution.
“This is something else,” Smith said.
“This place is its own, I’ll tell you that. Man, literally my heart hurt during that late red flag.”
“I thought we had (the win). Man, hats off to this whole group. They really put the work in and it’s so damn cool to see it when it pays off.”
“Man, this is going to be a really fun year. I’m going to try to make it a record year for myself. How cool is this?”
Smith’s win is his fourth in the Truck Series and his first at Daytona. He’s now guaranteed a spot in the 2022 playoffs. In each of the last two seasons, he has finished second in the series standings.
Ben Rhodes came in second, followed by Christian Eckes in third place, Tanner Gray in fourth, as Kligerman finished fifth. Carson Hocevar, Jesse Little, Ty Majeski, Danny Bohn, and Matt DiBenedetto rounded out the top ten.
Despite the first two segments’ being flawless, Stage #3 was a significantly more raucous event after five cautions. The first caution was on lap 65 when Jack Wood collided with the inside wall of the backstretch, then on lap 81, Heim collided with Dean Thompson. Tate Fogleman’s tyre fell flat in turn four, causing an accident that included Jason White and Kris Wright.
Nemechek traded the lead with a number of drivers, including Ankrum and Colby Howard, at the front. Eckes took the lead on lap 96 and was preparing to start the last lap side-by-side with Smith when chaos ensued as Eckes was clipped by Nemechek and thrown into the centre of the pack, resulting in a crash involving fifteen other drivers. Despite the fact that Smith had just beaten Eckes to the start/finish line, NASCAR was able to throw out the caution flag before the leader could begin the last lap.
As overtime began, Smith continued to lead despite a red flag to clear the track. He was on front once more when another crash occurred, this time after the white flag, when White and Wright collided again, forcing the race to be stopped under caution.
The victory is FRM’s second in the Trucks and the team’s second at Daytona, following Michael McDowell’s victory in the 2021 Daytona 500; both Smith and McDowell’s victories were in the Love’s Travel Stops livery. Smith is the sixth driver to win his first race with a new team in the Truck season opening.
NextEra Energy 250 NASCAR Truck Race results
|1||20||38||Zane Smith||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||106||Running|
|2||27||99||Ben Rhodes||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||106||Running|
|3||14||98||Christian Eckes||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||106||Running|
|4||24||15||Tanner Gray||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||106||Running|
|5||31||75||Parker Kligerman||Henderson Motorsports||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|6||9||02||Jesse Little||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|7||1||66||Ty Majeski||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||106||Running|
|8||28||20||Danny Bohn||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|9||22||42||Carson Hocevar||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|10||23||25||Matt DiBenedetto||Rackley WAR||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|11||15||12||Spencer Boyd||Young’s Motorsports||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|12||8||17||Riley Herbst*||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||106||Running|
|13||16||22||Austin Wayne Self||AM Racing||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|14||35||56||Timmy Hill||Hill Motorsports||Toyota||106||Running|
|15||13||7||Austin Hill*||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|16||5||52||Stewart Friesen||Halmar Friesen Racing||Toyota||106||Running|
|17||26||1||Hailie Deegan||David Gilliland Racing||Ford||106||Running|
|18||34||43||Thad Moffitt||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|19||12||44||Kris Wright||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||106||Running|
|20||33||33||Jason White||Reaume Brothers Racing||Toyota||105||Accident|
|21||3||18||Chandler Smith||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||105||Running|
|22||32||30||Tate Fogleman||On Point Motorsports||Toyota||105||Running|
|23||25||28||Bryan Dauzat||FDNY Racing||Chevrolet||105||Running|
|24||2||4||John Hunter Nemechek||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||104||Running|
|25||10||45||Lawless Alan||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||103||Accident|
|26||30||19||Derek Kraus||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevrolet||101||Accident|
|27||29||88||Matt Crafton||ThorSport Racing||Toyota||100||Accident|
|28||4||16||Tyler Ankrum||Hattori Racing Enterprises||Toyota||99||Accident|
|29||7||23||Grant Enfinger||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||99||Accident|
|30||18||91||Colby Howard||McAnally-Hilgemann Racing||Chevrolet||99||Accident|
|31||19||9||Blaine Perkins||CR7 Motorsports||Chevrolet||99||Accident|
|32||6||51||Corey Heim||Kyle Busch Motorsports||Toyota||91||Accident|
|33||11||24||Jack Wood||GMS Racing||Chevrolet||63||Accident|
|34||36||47||Johnny Sauter||G2G Racing||Toyota||60||Electrical|
|35||21||32||Bret Holmes||Bret Holmes Racing||Chevrolet||44||Clutch|
|36||17||40||Dean Thompson||Niece Motorsports||Chevrolet||36||Brakes|
|DNQ||84||Clay Greenfield||Cook Racing Technologies||Toyota|
|DNQ||3||Jordan Anderson||Jordan Anderson Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing||Ford|
|DNQ||61||Chase Purdy||Hattori Racing Enterprises||Toyota|
|DNQ||46||Matt Jaskol||G2G Racing||Toyota|
|WD||97||Jason Kitzmiller||CR7 Motorsports||Chevrolet|