HOMESTEAD, Fla – While all the focus was onto the Championship 4 drivers this weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, one thing that was overlooked was the owners championship in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Matt Crafton’s No. 88 Ford for ThorSport Racing wasn’t eligible to win this year’s owners championship. His Truck had yet to win in the first 22 races of the season while the No. 51 Toyota had won six times. The Kyle Busch Motorsports Truck had accumulated enough points and wins to advance to the final round over Crafton.
On Friday night, we saw a bizarre finishing order.
Austin Hill reached victory lane in his No. 16 Toyota. Hill, wasn’t playoff eligible anymore as he was eliminated from contention last weekend in Phoenix. Crafton, finished second in his No. 88 Ford and took the drivers championship.
Christian Eckes would bring his No. 51 Toyota home third and by doing that, he gave KBM their record setting seventh owners championship in the series. Eckes, now has two third place finishes in his last three starts on the year and a great pit call by his crew chief Rudy Fugle capped it.
See, Eckes was brought down pit road under the Lap 49 caution. With the second stage ending on Lap 60, taking the track position on older tires was a risk they were willing to make.
It paid off.
Eckes took over the race lead on Lap 64 and would lead the next 26 laps. He’d do so with older tires. That put him on the same strategy as the leaders again and would allow him to pit with them for the final time in the closing laps.
Eckes, would come out in the top five and cap an impressive evening.