Zane Smith wins Martinsville Truck playoff race in overtime to reach title event
MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Zane Smith, whose only way to transfer to the title race, was to win Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway, took advantage of overtime chaos to claim the victory.
Smith was running three-wide with Todd Gilliland and Stewart Friesen for the lead when Friesen made contact with Gilliland and spun Gilliland as the field took the white flag in overtime. Smith pulled ahead in Turn 1 as Friesen spun into the wall, bringing out the caution. Since the field had taken the white flag, the caution ended the race. Smith won the event.
Smith, who says he has no ride for next season, entered the race last among the eight playoff drivers. He was 40 points from the cutline, putting him in a must-win situation.
Smith joins John Hunter Nemechek, Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes in the Nov. 5 title race at Phoenix Raceway.
Reigning series champion Sheldon Creed failed to advance. Also seeing their title hopes end Saturday were Friesen, Chandler Smith and Carson Hocevar.
“Not making the final four is tough,” Creed told FS1.
Crafton narrowly avoided disaster when he was spun by teammate Grant Enfinger 15 laps from the scheduled distance. Crafton was able to keep going and remain in a transfer spot.
Creed’s truck suffered damage in the incident, getting forced into the wall while running three wide.
Nemechek advanced despite finishing 39th when he was eliminated in a crash. Nemechek wrecked after contact from Austin Wayne Self.
“He shouldn’t be out here if he’s just going to hook somebody in the right rear and turn them into the fence, he shouldn’t be out here,” Nemechek told FS1. “NASCAR should definitely look at that. It’s playoff contention. You’ve got to have respect and obviously he doesn’t.”
NASCAR did not penalize Self for the incident.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Todd Gilliland
STAGE 2 WINNER: Todd Gilliland
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Hill finished second for his first top-five finish on a short track. ... Tanner Gray’s third-place finish matched his best Truck finish for the fourth time. ... Parker Kligerman finished sixth. ... Taylor Gray placed eighth.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Contending for the lead coming to the white flag, Todd Gilliland was hit and wrecked. He finished 25th.
NOTABLE: Zane Smith’s win was the third of his career and first of the season.
NEXT: The Truck season ends Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway (8 p.m. ET, FS1)