Ross Chastain has a NASCAR Truck Series Triumph at Charlotte

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 27: Ross Chastain, driver of the #41 Worldwide Express Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 27, 2022, in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Ross Chastain has a NASCAR Truck Series triumph at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 on Friday night.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When fate dealt Carson Hocevar another heartache Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Niece Motorsport teammate Ross Chastain took full advantage—with a serendipitous push from Grant Enfinger.

Ross Chastain has a NASCAR Truck Series Triumph at Charlotte

On the final lap of the second overtime in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series contest, Chastain raced side-by-side on the backstretch with John Hunter Nemechek, before the timely push from Enfinger propelled him forward and enabled him to clear Nemechek’s No. 4 Toyota.

Chastain crossed the finish line 0.102 seconds ahead of Enfinger, with Nemechek running third, 0.413 seconds behind the race winner.

When he climbed out of his No. 41 Chevrolet on the frontstretch, however, Chastain could talk only of Hocevar, who dominated the event, only to see it slip away after a devastating late caution.

“I hate it so much for Carson,” said Chastain, who won for the first time this season, the first time at Charlotte, and the fourth time in his career. “I didn’t give him the push he needed to win (on the first attempt at overtime)… Man, I’m so proud of Carson Hocevar.

“I’ll say that over and over. That guy’s a future star. He’s such a goofy kid, but I love him. He learns so quick.”

Carson Hocevar Learns Painful Lesson

Hocevar, who lost the lead four laps short of the finish and ran second at Bristol’s Dirt Track in April, learned a painful lesson on Friday night after leading a race-high 57 laps. 

He held an advantage that had stabilized at slightly more than six seconds when Jesse Little’s Chevrolet broke loose over the bumps in the third turn and carried Tyler Ankrum’s Toyota into the outside wall.

The 19-year-old Hocevar chose the inside lane for the final restart, and Ryan Preece, in the outside lane, nosed ahead past the start/finish line when Chastain spun his tires and failed to provide Hocevar with a push.

Running beside Preece on lap 136 in the first attempt at overtime, Hocevar lost control and slid up the track into Preece’s No. 17 Ford, damaging both vehicles. 

“A dumbass move by myself,” acknowledged Hocevar, who climbed from his No. 42 Chevrolet after the race and sat on the pavement, his head between his hands. “It sucks. I mean I tried really hard—I tried too hard.

“I didn’t get a good restart. I tried too hard, tried to wash (Preece) up and just crashed myself. I feel like just crying.”

Ryan Preece Responds

Preece finished 11th after pitting with a flat tire—thanks to the wreck. He didn’t mince words on pit lane.

“Don’t wreck the guy on the outside of you trying to win your first race,” Preece said pointedly. “Don’t do it.”

Grant Enfinger is Expecting a Chastain IOU

After finishing in second, Enfinger feels he has an IOU from Chastain.

“I’m glad to push my buddy Ross to a win,” Enfinger said. “In my book, he owes me one.”

The Best of the Rest

Christian Eckes ran fourth, followed by Zane Smith, who led 52 laps and won the first stage. Tanner Gray, Kyle Busch, Chandler Smith, Stewart Friesen, and Ben Rhodes completed the top ten. 

Rhodes won Stage 2 by staying out on old tires and catching an opportune caution when Matt Mills crashed with Jack Wood in the fourth turn, three laps short of the end of the 30-lap stage.

Ultimately, Hocevar came home 16th, the last driver on the lead lap. Mexican driver Max Gutierrez finished 26th in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut.

The NASCAR Truck Series Point Standings

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – 19th Annual North Carolina Education Lottery 200

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Concord, North Carolina

Friday, May 27, 2022

                    1. (5)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 143.

                    2. (11)  Grant Enfinger, Chevrolet, 143.

                    3. (15)  John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 143.

                    4. (9)  Christian Eckes, Toyota, 143.

                    5. (2)  Zane Smith, Ford, 143.

                    6. (6)  Tanner Gray, Ford, 143.

                    7. (3)  Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 143.

                    8. (7)  Chandler Smith, Toyota, 143.

                    9. (13)  Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 143.

                    10. (12)  Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 143.

                    11. (8)  Ryan Preece, Ford, 143.

                    12. (16)  Derek Kraus, Chevrolet, 143.

                    13. (1)  Ty Majeski, Toyota, 143.

                    14. (20)  Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 143.

                    15. (17)  Chase Purdy, Toyota, 143.

                    16. (4)  Carson Hocevar, Chevrolet, 143.

                    17. (10)  Matt Dibenedetto, Chevrolet, 142.

                    18. (18)  Matt Crafton, Toyota, 142.

                    19. (22)  Kris Wright, Chevrolet, 142.

                    20. (25)  Tyler Ankrum, Toyota, 142.

                    21. (30)  Timmy Hill, Toyota, 141.

                    22. (33)  Lawless Alan #, Chevrolet, 141.

                    23. (19)  Jack Wood #, Chevrolet, 141.

                    24. (27)  Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 141.

                    25. (26)  Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 141.

                    26. (31)  Max Gutierrez, Chevrolet, 140.

                    27. (35)  Hailie Deegan, Ford, 140.

                    28. (24)  Dean Thompson #, Chevrolet, 139.

                    29. (21)  Tate Fogleman, Toyota, 139.

                    30. (29)  Blaine Perkins #, Chevrolet, 139.

                    31. (32)  Josh Reaume, Toyota, 138.

                    32. (14)  Jesse Little, Chevrolet, Accident, 128.

                    33. (34)  Keith McGee, Toyota, Suspension, 67.

                    34. (23)  Matt Mills(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 57.

                    35. (28)  Brennan Poole, Toyota, Driveshaft, 38.

The North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Stats

Average Speed of Race Winner:  125.827 mph.

Time of Race:  One Hr, 42 Mins, 17 Secs. The Margin of Victory:  0.102 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  Five for 25 laps.

Lead Changes:  15 among nine drivers.

Lap Leaders:   T. Majeski 1;Z. Smith 2-8;T. Majeski 9;Z. Smith 10-54;D. Kraus 55-56;B. Rhodes 57-61;C. Eckes 62-65;R. Preece 66-71;C. Hocevar 72-99;T. Majeski 100-101;M. Crafton 102-106;C. Hocevar 107-135;R. Preece 136-138;R. Chastain(i) 139-141;C. Eckes 142;R. Chastain(i) 143.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Carson Hocevar two times for 57 laps; Zane Smith two times for 52 laps; Ryan Preece two times for nine laps; Matt Crafton one time for five laps; Christian Eckes two times for five laps; Ben Rhodes one time for five laps; Ty Majeski three times for four laps; Ross Chastain(i) two times for four laps; Derek Kraus one time for two laps.

Stage 1 Top Ten: 38,66,17,42,41,51,25,98,88,23

Stage 2 Top Ten: 99,98,17,42,4,38,25,41,66,19