Gander Outdoors Truck Series News (6004)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series News

After experiencing handling issues early in Friday night's N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Harrison Burton and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team appeared to have battled their way to another top-10 finish until an untimely debris caution slowed the field with seven laps remaining. Burton, who was making his first Gander Trucks start at the 1.5-mile quad-oval located just 10 miles from where he resides, was scored in the seventh position for the restart with three laps remaining, but over the closing laps lost several spots to teams that had put a set of scuffed tires on during the preceding caution and crossed the stripe in the 11th position.
Stage One Recap:  
  • Burton started the 134-lap event from the fourth spot, but quickly found himself caught three-wide in the middle and had fallen back to the eight position by the completion of lap one.
  • The young driver communicated that his Safelite AutoGlass Tundra was "too loose," as he ran in the eighth spot for the majority of Stage One.
  • A one-truck accident slowed the field with seven laps remaining in the stage. Crew Chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his driver to pit road for four fresh tires, a full load of fuel and a trackbar adjustment in an effort to improve the handling.
  • The second-generation driver took the lap-28 restart from the eighth spot, but lost one position over the final two laps. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • With two drivers in the top five hitting pit road between stages, the Safelite Tundra lined up seventh when Stage Two went green on lap 37. Burton once again lost a couple of spots on the restart and settled into the ninth position.
  • With 10 laps remaining in the stage he regained the eighth spot, but communicated to Hillman Jr. that his Toyota had "swung to the tight side."
  • Burton remained in the eighth spot when Stage Two came to a close on lap 60. 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • Hillman Jr. ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with another adjustment towards improving the handling of the Safelite Tundra. Burton returned to the track scored in the sixth position when the Final Stage went green on lap 68.
  • Burton once again found himself three-wide and had fallen back to the 11th position when the fourth caution of the night occurred on lap 73.
  • The Safelite Tundra had a strong restart and had advanced up to the seventh position when the fifth caution occurred on lap 79. Hillman Jr. ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop.
  • Six trucks elected not to pit and one truck took fuel only, leaving Burton scored in the 13th position for the restart with 45 laps remaining.
  • With 40 laps remaining the Safelite Tundra had settled into the 12th position. As a long green-flag run ensued, Burton began posting lap times as fast as the top-five trucks. After a multi-lap battle with Ross Chastain, he was able to move back into the top 10 with 20 laps remaining.
  • Burton was able to pick up one more spot with 12 laps remaining and then gained another position when Brett Moffitt had a tire issue right in front of him and brought out the seventh and final caution of the event.
  • The No. 18 team was scored in the seventh position for the restart with three laps remaining, but over the closing laps lost several spots to teams that had put a set of scuffed tires on during the preceding caution and crossed the stripe in the 11th position.


Todd Gilliland and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team earned a top-10 finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Friday night's N.C. Education Lottery 200. The young driver posted the second and third-fastest laps in two practices on Friday morning. Friday afternoon, Gilliland earned the third starting position for his second start at the 1.5-mile oval in one round of single-vehicle qualifying.
Under the lights, Gilliland quickly jumped to the lead. He led until team owner Kyle Busch passed him on lap 5. The 19-year-old would lead several more times for a total of seven laps. The No. 4 team dealt with a tight handling condition on the Mobil 1 Tundra and some late race fender damage, to pick up their fourth top-10 of the season with a seventh-place finish.
Stage One Recap:
  • In one round of single-truck qualifying, Gilliland put his No. 4 Tundra in the third starting position.
  • In the opening laps, the teenager jumped out to the lead, but quickly surrendered it to the No. 51.
  • When the caution flag flew for the conclusion of the stage Richmond made the call to bring the No. 4 to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments.
  • Gilliland finished the first stage in the second position. 
Stage Two Recap:
  • Gilliland restarted the second stage in the 20th position after several competitors took only two tires or did not pit.
  • By lap 50 the No. 4 was scored within the top 10 and Gilliland finished the second stage in 10th.
  • Richmond called the No. 4 to pit road for four tires and fuel following the second stage. 
Stage Three Recap:
  • Gilliland began the final stage in the ninth position, and reported that his truck was much better but on the tight side.
  • After a caution on lap 79, the No. 4 Tundra had some right front fender damage and Richmond brought the teenager to pit road for repairs and four fresh tires.
  • Several laps later, the caution flag flew again and Richmond opted for a fuel-only stop securing track position in the top-20.
  • On the final caution on lap 128, Richmond made the call to bring Gilliland to pit road to put gently used scuffed tires on and Gilliland was able to use these to his advantage to pick up multiple positions and work his way into the top-10.
  • The second-generation driver took the checkered flag in the seventh position in just his second start at Charlotte Motor Speedway.


Kyle Busch and the No. 51 Cessna/Beechcraft team laid down another dominating performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the N.C. Education Lottery 200. In his fifth and final NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the season, the owner-driver earned his fifth win, going five-for-five on the season. The 51 team posted the fourth and 10th-fastest times in two practices respectively on Friday morning, and then Busch qualified his Tundra in the eighth position in one round of single-vehicle qualifying.
After a hot and sticky day of practice and qualifying, the sun set over the famed 1.5-mile oval, and Busch wasted no time making his way to the front of the field once the green flag fell. He took the lead on lap five, from teammate Todd Gilliland, but gave it up a few laps before the end of the first stage to hit pit road for a four tire stop. Busch would go on to lead five times for 102 of 134 laps, winning the second stage and overall race to earn his 205th career NASCAR National Series win and his 56th victory in 150 Gander Trucks races.
Stage One Recap:
  • Qualifying for the event consisted of one round of single truck qualifying, and Busch earned the eighth starting position.
  • Under caution on lap 25, crew chief Rudy Fugle opted to bring Busch down pit road for four tires and fuel. The 51 Cessna Tundra would restart in seventh.
  • At the stage conclusion, Fugle kept Busch on the track.
Stage Two Recap:
  • Busch began the second stage in fifth and retook the lead on lap 41.
  • During the second stage, Busch reported that the handling of his Tundra was trending loose, and then would swing toward the tight side.
  • Fugle called him to pit road following the end of the stage for four more Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel.
Stage Three Recap:
  • The 34-year-old owner-driver began the final stage at the front of the field.
  • Under caution on lap 87, Fugle called the 51 to pit road for another four tires and fuel.
  • On the restart, Busch was in ninth, but marched relentlessly through the pack, retaking the lead in just six laps.
  • After the final caution flag flew on lap 128, Busch held off a hard charging Ben Rhodes to pick up his eighth Gander Trucks win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and his 56th career Gander Trucks win, bringing his National Series win total to 205.


Austin Hill hustled his way to a sixth-place finish on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway after starting 20th. Hill’s fifth top-10 result of the season is his best finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and marks the first time in his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series career that he has tallied three consecutive top-10 finishes.
Beginning with both practice sessions on Friday morning, Hill and the United Rentals team faced a challenge with an excessively tight handling condition. That handling characteristic carried over into the race as Hill soldiered his way to 14th position by the Stage 1 caution at lap 31. Crew chief Scott Zipadelli gave Hill four fresh tires and a wedge adjustment to combat the ill-handling balance on the United Rentals Tundra.
Hill restarted 13th on lap 37, but his tight condition still lingered until the Stage 2 conclusion on lap 60 while running 12th. Zipadelli offered Hill a track bar adjustment to match four fresh tires on their second pit stop during the stage break caution and returned the Winston, GA native to the track in 11th spot. A caution on lap 78 allowed the No. 16 team to employ an off-sequence strategy as Hill pitted for his final set of fresh tires and restarted 11th at lap 83. A subsequent caution shortly thereafter on lap 86 allowed Hill to inherit track position and the third spot as most of the lead lap trucks came to pit road.
On the lap 91 restart, Hill made a bold three-wide bid for the lead, but had his momentum halted in the tight confines at the front of the field and slipped outside the top five. As the race ran under green-flag conditions for 37 laps, Hill’s tight balance reemerged and relegated him to the 11th position as late as lap 124. However, a caution on lap 128 allowed Hill to bolt on cooler, used tires and restarted 11th on lap 132. A frantic charge against the outside wall with three laps to go immediately shot Hill to eighth and picked off two more spots to take the checkered flag in sixth position. The gritty sixth-place effort marks the third-consecutive race in which Hill has finished seventh or better.
Austin Hill Quote:
“It was a struggle from start to finish. We shouldn’t have finished sixth, honestly. We should have been about 11th or 12th really. But the guys just kept working on it all night. Right there at the end with three or four (laps) to go, we decided to come down pit road, because we weren’t going to gain anything. We figured we could get back to where we were running, which was 11th at the time. Scott (Zipadelli) just made a good call to come down pit road and take four tires. I should have finished third where the 52 (truck) ended up. I just, I didn’t pick my lane at the right time, and he got a huge run by me and got to third. But, all in all, it was a decent effort. Especially for us to be struggling as bad as we were.”


For the fifth time in his allotted five NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2019, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag, this time under the lights in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I wish I could do more,” Busch said following his 56th Gander Trucks career win.

The rest of the field undoubtedly is quite happy the owner/driver of Kyle Busch Motorsports won’t be back until 2020. After all, Busch posted a perfect driver rating (150.0) and led five times for 102 laps in Friday night's 134-lap event. He notched his eighth victory in 13 starts at Charlotte, where he has finished either first or second in nine straight events in the series.

The win was Busch’s 56th overall, extending his own series record and bringing his combined NASCAR national series wins total to 205.

“This Tundra was awesome tonight,” Busch said of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. “It was flying and it was fast. We worked on it a lot in practice. We were a little off when we unloaded, and we tried to make it better and better and better.

“We made improvements. That's what's good about me driving and Rudy (Fugle) crew-chiefing. “These guys do a great job working on it, and we just keep getting better. Happy birthday to Brexton (Busch’s son). He'll be four tomorrow. It's awesome to have him here tonight, and we'll celebrate.”

On a three-lap run to the finish after the seventh and final caution, Busch pulled away to beat Brennan Poole to the stripe by 1.115 seconds. Despite dealing with a broken sway bar for most of the race, Poole grabbed second after staying out under caution before the final restart on Lap 132.

“My truck was all over the place, man,” Poole said. “I just gave it everything I had. I found something running the top lane there on the restarts, and it worked out really good.

“We just ran second to Kyle Busch tonight with a broken sway bar. I’m pretty proud of the effort. I know we’ve got a lot more chances like this coming up in our future to get this Toyota Tundra to Victory Lane. But I’m excited tonight, and I think I may even go get myself a beer when I get home.”

Stewart Friesen ran third, followed by Ben Rhodes and pole winner Matt Crafton. Austin Hill, Todd Gilliland, rookie Anthony Alfredo, Grant Enfinger and Ross Chastain completed the top 10. For Chastain, last week's winner at Kansas, it was the eighth straight top 10 in eight races this season.

But Friday’s story was all about Busch.

It took just a few seconds to observe just how dominant his Toyota Tundra was going to be. Starting the race from the eighth spot, Busch had powered his way into third by the time the field came off Turn 2 on the opening lap.

On Lap 5, he took the lead for the first time, cruising to the inside of KBM teammate Todd Gilliland. By the time NASCAR called the first caution for Natalie Decker’s hard contact with the Turn 2 wall on Lap 23, Busch held a 5.652-second lead over Gilliland.

Busch pitted for tires and fuel under the yellow, handing the Stage 1 victory to Crafton, who passed Gilliland on Lap 30 and took the green/checkered flag moments later. But four laps after the green waved in Stage 2 on Lap 37, Busch was back in the lead, heading for a stage victory with a margin of more than four seconds.

Divergent strategies scrambled the field during pit stops under rapid-fire cautions on Laps 78 and 85, but Busch regained the top spot on Lap 96, passing Rhodes to the outside off Turn 2.

Busch stretched his advantage to 6.125 seconds before Brett Moffitt cut a tire on Lap 126 and caused the seventh caution when the tire carcass rolled free onto the track in Turn 3. The yellow simply delayed but couldn’t thwart Busch’s seemingly inexorable march to Victory Lane.

Kyle Busch won Friday nights North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Busch would survive a late race restart to win his fifth NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series win of the season.

For Busch, this is his 56th NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series victory. Friday was driver No. 51's final Truck race of the season due to series limitations for Monster Energy Cup Series drivers. Busch had to overcome a late race caution when Brett Moffitt lost his tire with under 10 laps to go. That would lead to a late race restart with three laps to go. Driver No. 51 would hold off the field and pull away to victory.

Rounding out the top five were Breenan Poole in second, Stewart Friesen in third, Ben Rhodes in fourth and Matt Crafton in fifth.

Rounding out the top ten were Austin Hill in sixth, Todd Gilliland in seventh, Anthony Alfredo in eighth, Grant Enfinger in ninth and Ross Chastain in tenth.

The NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series will head into Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, June 7th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1 and MRN.

Stage 1 Winner: Matt Crafton

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch

Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Sheldon Creed has always been fast—and he has championships in ARCA, Stadium Super Trucks and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series to prove it.

In his first full-time season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Creed likewise has been quick in the No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet, and he has the qualifying record to prove it.

Creed has started within the top 10 in each of his seven races this season, posting an average starting position of 5.4. He has led 92 laps this season, including 59 at Dover and 12 at Kansas in his last two races.

Only one problem: the finishes haven’t been there. Creed has one top 10 this year—a sixth at Las Vegas—and no top fives. His average finishing position is 17.1, with two DNFs.

But with speed comes the promise of better results, and Creed is confident he can find Victory Lane as his learning process in the series continues.

“This is pretty much like college for me,” said the 21-year-old from Alpine, Calif. “I just need to get it right and get it fast. I’m exciting to see where we’re going. We’re obviously fast. We’ve just got to get it dialed in.”

As Creed sees, part of his education involves keeping open ears and an open mind.

“A lot of us kids already think we know it all,” he said. “And there’s a lot to learn. That’s been the biggest thing. I’ve been trying not to be stubborn and go in with open ears and know that I can learn.”



The competition package mandated for this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star race features two significant components: a single-piece carbon-fiber splitter/pan and a radiator duct in the hood of the car.

From a “feel” standpoint, however, most drivers participating in practice sessions on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway couldn’t tell much difference between the configuration they have been running at intermediate speedways so far this year and the package for Saturday’s million-dollar event (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

But that doesn’t mean the feel was exactly the same.

“This place is just so weird, Charlotte is, as a track,” said Austin Dillon, who was strong in both Friday practice sessions at the 1.5-mile track, topping the speed chart in Final Practice. “It’s a lot different handling-wise.

“I feel like there are different things, obviously, with the splitter and how high the cars are. I think they handled a little differently in practice. Some people looked like they really struggled in traffic, but I felt like my car was decent in traffic. I feel like some of that is just getting the balance right, because we haven’t run this package.”

Though some cars benefited from the draft, particularly in the first session when the Open cars and All-Star cars ran together, Dillon believes there will still be a premium to being out front.

“I felt like clean air was still the fastest way for my car, but you could get a pull, for sure,” Dillon said. “A bigger pull, and I noticed it right off the bat running behind the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) coming to the green, that I could get a bigger pull than what we have been this year.”



Denny Hamlin

Though Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske have combined to win every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series except Talladega, Denny Hamlin feels other teams have closed the gap to the extent that JGR has been fortunate to pick up its recent victories.

"The Stewart-Haas cars are by far the fastest cars right now—by a whole lot,” Hamlin said. “It seems like, as an organization, we’ve had one car kind of hit it the last few weekends, but as an organization, we’ve struggled. We have not been very good, and really, it starts with practice when we unload. We have not been very good.

“I think that one of our cars has gotten lucky and hit it overnight, but other than that, I don’t feel like we’re the cream of the crop by far.”

Austin Dillon

Already a winner in the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600, Austin Dillon would like nothing better than to win the Monster Energy All-Star Race at his home track.

“To have both races that you can win here on the oval covered—those are three big wins, the 500, the 600 and the All-Star Race,” Dillon said. “That kind of ties into the Crown Jewels.”

That would leave the Brickyard 400 at Southern 500 on the bucket list.

“Yeah, I’d like to finish those off,” said Dillon, who was fastest in Friday’s final practice for the All-Star race with a lap at 179.450 mph. “Big races.”

When the trucks hit the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, they will all have one thing in common, a tribute decal to MB Motorsports founder Mike Mittler. Mittler's hard fought battle with cancer came to an end with his passing on Friday, May 10th.

Racing was a big part of Mike Mittler’s life for half a century. “I’ve always loved racing and got involved in 1968,” Mittler said in 2011. “Through local races I got to know the Wallace family. I worked on the crew that helped Rusty Wallace become the USAC stock car Rookie of the Year and 1983 ASA Champion. We ran some NASCAR Busch races and did a few Cup events as well. When Rusty moved south, I started helping Kenny Wallace and was with him when he was crowned the 1986 ASA Rookie of the Year.”

During his early years in racing, Mike worked at Fran’s Chassis Engineering in St. Louis. “We built drag race cars from pro stocks to top fuel and funny cars,” he explained. Mike, along with brother, Paul, founded Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool Company in 1980. It was a gamble, but Mike Mittler’s life has always revolved around building things. “I like the challenge and satisfaction of putting things together, and reaching a goal.” Whether it’s building a race car or a business, Mittler enjoys the process of seeing dreams come true.

Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool has grown to employ more than 60 highly-skilled machinists and support personnel in Wright City, Missouri (40 miles west of St. Louis). The plant includes the latest computer controlled design and machining equipment. Products, including auto racing tools and performance components, are sold across America, as well as in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.

The company took the next step in racing by starting its own team. In July 1995, at the historic Milwaukee Mile, MB Motorsports made its debut. Over the next 23 years, MB Motorsports gained the reputation for bringing young and talented drivers into NASCAR racing. The list of drivers who have piloted trucks for Mike Mittler is impressive: Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Justin Algaier, Regan Smith, Bobby Pierce, Garrett Smithley, Spencer Boyd and many more.

And while Mike built a reputation for grooming young talent on the track, his racing presence in race shops was even stronger, as one would be hard pressed to find a shop that hasn't used Mittler Brothers equipment at some point. In addition, he served as President of the National Tooling and Machining Association and spoke before Congress not once, but twice.

Mike was the racer's racer and will be missed by all who knew him.

MB Motorsports PR

For Jesse Little and his JJL Motorsports team, Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway is their Super Bowl event.  
Running a limited NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) schedule, the team takes great pride on every race they compete - but when it comes to Charlotte, it's a prime opportunity to shine at their hometown track.
"I always look forward to Charlotte," said Little. "It's an important race for a lot of people. For a lot of my guys, this is their hometown race, so everyone's morale is up because we feel like can go and put on a show on Friday night."
Little, a native of Sherrills Ford, N.C. will make his NGOTS start at the 1.5-mile track on Friday night and looks to better his 16th place performance from last May.
"Charlotte's an extremely fast track and the Trucks put on a great show there," added Little. "It's a relatively quick race, so we learned that track position is crucial for this race. We also need to make sure we keep our truck balanced as the track and weather conditions change throughout the day, especially with practice in the morning, qualifying in the afternoon and the race at night.
"We had a good truck last year and were in the hunt for a top-10 finish but had some late race obstacles that prevented us from getting there Despite those obstacles, we fought as a team, learned a lot and wound up with a decent finish.
"Hopefully we can take with what we learned last year and in our races this season and can get our first top-10 on Friday night."
The team also hopes their performance on Friday night will spark the interest of a potential new marketing partner as the team will compete in the eighth race of the year without the benefit of a primary partner.
"We have a great team who can take a company's dollar and stretch it a mile," added Little. "We have a ton of races that we'd like to compete in this summer and surely would welcome the support.
"We know that strong performances will enable us the opportunity to bring new marketing partners to the table and I hope we can go to Charlotte and prove that."
Without a primary partner, the team is still extremely thankful to have a slew of associate partners who will adorn the team's truck for Little's second Charlotte run.
Dkota Investments will be showcased in Little's 27th career start.
Looking forward, JJL Motorsports continues to work hard on securing additional partners and sponsors for the 2019 season including the upcoming race at Texas Motor Speedway and several races this summer.
"It takes a lot of people and even a bigger effort to get our No. 97 Ford to the track each week," explained JJL Motorsports team principal Jason Little. "We continue to fight hard and go to the race track every week and give 100 percent. We'd like to increase our schedule this season but need the sponsorship support to make it happen.
"We're doing a lot of things to try and bring new partners to the table, but we know that performance is everything and if we can go to Charlotte and run competitive, we have another opportunity to tell our story."
The North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (134 laps| 201 miles) is the eighth of 23 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races on the 2019 schedule. Practice begins on Fri., May 17 from 9:05 a.m. - 9:55 p.m. A final practice session is set for 10:35 a.m. - 11:25 p.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day beginning at 4:35 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 8:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).

JJL Motorsports PR

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