Justin Haley Wins In Thrilling Finish In Truck Playoff Opener

Justin Haley
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made the annual trip to Canada to open up their 2018 Playoffs at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Despite missing the 2018 Playoffs, Todd Gilliland seemed almost destined to win his first career truck series race Sunday at CTMP. Taking the lead on Lap 53 from Johnny Sauter, it was smooth sailing for Gilliland, until a late race caution set up a thrilling NASCAR Overtime battle with his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate and Playoff driver Noah Gragson. Gragson, who won both previous stages, dove to pass Gilliland in the final turn.

In similar shades to the move made by Chase Elliott in the 2013 race, the contact sent both Gragson and Gilliland spinning. The two trucks blocked the racetrack, causing a massive pile up coming to the checkered flag. The ensuing carnage allowed fellow Playoff driver Justin Haley to sneak through the wreckage and win the Chevrolet Silverado 250.

The 19-year-old driver from Winamac, Indiana lead only a single lap all race long and it proved to be the most important one. With this victory, Haley claims his second checkered flag of the 2018 season.

"We were just in the right place at the right time" said Haley celebrating in Victory Lane. "I can’t thank everyone at GMS Racing enough; it was a truly blessed day."

Haley also becomes the sixth different winner in as many races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and scores GMS Racing’s first win at the historic 2.459-mile road course.

A visibly dejected Gilliland expressed his anger towards his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate following the contact in Turn 10.

"I should have never let him get to me," Gilliland said. "We should have given him the inside. We had the fastest truck and we didn’t win again."

Gragson took immediate responsibility for the contact in the final corner, apologizing profusely to his teammate.

"That was on me," said Gragson. "I was racing for the win."

"I apologize to Todd, the No. 4 team and everyone at KBM. I was expecting a little more room on the bottom and we made contact. Again I want to apologize to everyone on that 4 team, that was on me."

Following the intense finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Haley locks himself into the Round of 6 continuing his hunt for the 2018 NASCAR Camping Truck Series championship. The Round of 6 begins October 27 at Martinsville Speedway.

"This is what we came to do," Haley added. "This is road course racing and now we are really looking forward to Vegas. Mission accomplished."

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action Friday, September 14 for the second race in the Playoffs, the World of Westgate 200 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

RACE RESULTS

Finish Start # Driver Sponsor/Make laps Led Points Status
1 8 24 Justin Haley (P) Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet 65 2 56 Running
2 7 8 John Hunter Nemechek D.A.B. Constructors Inc. Chevrolet 65 0 0 Running
3 17 16 Brett Moffitt (P) Don Valley North Toyota Toyota 65 0 48 Running
4 5 25 Timothy Peters Allegiant Chevrolet 65 2 39 Running
5 4 88 Matt Crafton (P) Ideal Door/Menards Ford 65 0 44 Running
6 6 21 Johnny Sauter (P) ISM Connect Chevrolet 65 9 39 Running
7 16 52 Stewart Friesen (P) We Build America Chevrolet 65 0 35 Running
8 9 2 Austin Hill Young's Building Systems/Randco Chevrolet 65 0 29 Running
9 2 18 Noah Gragson (P) Safelite AutoGlass Toyota 65 35 48 Running
10 10 12 Alex Tagliani RONA Chevrolet 65 0 27 Running
11 15 4 Todd Gilliland Frontline Toyota 65 11 26 Running
12 13 49 DJ Kennington APC Auto Parts Chevrolet 65 0 26 Running
13 14 51 Harrison Burton Hunt Brothers Pizza/Fields Toyota 65 0 24 Running
14 1 41 Ben Rhodes (P) FEI World Equestrian Games Ford 65 6 32 Running
15 12 2 Cody Coughlin JEGS.com Chevrolet 65 0 22 Running
16 22 3 Jordan Anderson KnightFire Protection/Bommarito.com Chevrolet 65 0 21 Running
17 11 98 Grant Enfinger (P) Champion Power Equipment/Curb Records Ford 65 0 24 Running
18 20 45 Justin Fontaine ProMATIC Automation/Superior Essex Chevrolet 65 0 19 Running
19 3 13 Myatt Snider The Carolina Nut Co. Ford 65 0 19 Running
20 25 6 Norm Benning H&H Transport Chevrolet 65 0 17 Running
21 18 22 Austin Wayne Self GO TEXAN Chevrolet 65 0 16 Running
22 21 54 Bo LeMastus Crosley Brands/DGR-Crosley Toyota 64 0 15 Running
23 27 33 Jason White Powder Ventures Excavations Chevrolet 63 0 14 Running
24 23 15 Wendell Chavous Sobriety Nation Chevrolet 63 0 13 Running
25 31 34 Jesse Iwuji Zulu Audio/Silk Title & Escrow Chevrolet 63 0 12 Running
26 30 0 Justin Kunz Liqui-Moly Chevrolet 62 0 11 Running
27 24 97 Roger Reuse WCIparts.com Chevrolet 35 0 10 Vibration
28 28 50 Ray Ciccarelli VIPracingexperience.com Chevrolet 34 0 9 Vibration
29 26 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Driven2Honor Chevrolet 32 0 8 Oil Line
30 19 20 Max Tullman Zoomi Chevrolet 29 0 0 Transmission
31 32 74 Mike Harmon Mike Harmon Racing Chevrolet 7 0 0 Brakes
32 29 87 Joe Nemechek D.A.B. Constructors Inc. Chevrolet 2 0 5 Brakes


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