Zane Smith wins NextEra Energy 250 season opener Truck race at Daytona

Zane Smith wins NextEra Energy 250 season opener Truck race at Daytona

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

12038Zane SmithFront Row MotorsportsFord106Running
22799Ben RhodesThorSport RacingToyota106Running
31498Christian EckesThorSport RacingToyota106Running
42415Tanner GrayDavid Gilliland RacingFord106Running
53175Parker KligermanHenderson MotorsportsChevrolet106Running
6902Jesse LittleYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet106Running
7166Ty MajeskiThorSport RacingToyota106Running
82820Danny BohnYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet106Running
92242Carson HocevarNiece MotorsportsChevrolet106Running
102325Matt DiBenedettoRackley WARChevrolet106Running
111512Spencer BoydYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet106Running
12817Riley Herbst*David Gilliland RacingFord106Running
131622Austin Wayne SelfAM RacingChevrolet106Running
143556Timmy HillHill MotorsportsToyota106Running
15137Austin Hill*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet106Running
16552Stewart FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota106Running
17261Hailie DeeganDavid Gilliland RacingFord106Running
183443Thad MoffittGMS RacingChevrolet106Running
191244Kris WrightNiece MotorsportsChevrolet106Running
203333Jason WhiteReaume Brothers RacingToyota105Accident
21318Chandler SmithKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota105Running
223230Tate FoglemanOn Point MotorsportsToyota105Running
232528Bryan DauzatFDNY RacingChevrolet105Running
2424John Hunter NemechekKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota104Running
251045Lawless AlanNiece MotorsportsChevrolet103Accident
263019Derek KrausMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingChevrolet101Accident
272988Matt CraftonThorSport RacingToyota100Accident
28416Tyler AnkrumHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota99Accident
29723Grant EnfingerGMS RacingChevrolet99Accident
301891Colby HowardMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingChevrolet99Accident
31199Blaine PerkinsCR7 MotorsportsChevrolet99Accident
32651Corey HeimKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota91Accident
331124Jack WoodGMS RacingChevrolet63Accident
343647Johnny SauterG2G RacingToyota60Electrical
352132Bret HolmesBret Holmes RacingChevrolet44Clutch
361740Dean ThompsonNiece MotorsportsChevrolet36Brakes
DNQ84Clay GreenfieldCook Racing TechnologiesToyota
DNQ3Jordan AndersonJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet
DNQ10Jennifer Jo CobbJennifer Jo Cobb RacingFord
DNQ61Chase PurdyHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota
DNQ46Matt JaskolG2G RacingToyota
WD97Jason KitzmillerCR7 MotorsportsChevrolet

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