Ross Chastain Disqualified: Ross Chastain declared for NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series points a week ago before the Texas race and needed a win to qualify for the playoffs in the next eight races remaining in the regular season.
It looked like he got it in just his second race, since, leading 141 laps and crossing the line first at Iowa Speedway on Sunday.
However, after the race, NASCAR announced that Chastain’s car was deemed too low and they disqualified Niece Motorsports’ No. 44.
“Unfortunately the 44 was low on the front, extremely low. … They do get an opportunity to roll around, put fuel in the vehicle, they air in tires, and we give them at least 5-10 minutes to roll back on and check a second time.”
Trucks: Ross Chastain Disqualified, Brett Moffitt Declared winner at Iowa
Niece Motorsports released a statement on the matter, saying they would appeal the penalty.
“This is NASCAR’s new protocol,” Moffitt said. “Obviously, they didn’t want to be announcing encumbered wins on Tuesday’s so they changed to this way of teching. I think this is the first time it’s affected the race win.”
It was the first time NASCAR has DQ’d someone in a premier series since Buddy Baker was called for an oversized fuel tank in 1973 at the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“To have it work out, that’s awesome,” Moffitt said. “Obviously, that’s not the way we wanted to win it. We want to win it on track and go to victory lane and be able to celebrate, but I’ll take wins however we can get them right now.”
The win was Moffitt’s first of the season, clinching a playoff spot for the No. 24 GMS Racing team.
“It’s a big shift in momentum,” Moffitt said. “I would say it was one of our smoothest races performance-wise and execution-wise. We just came up a spot short on the track. We were just hoping for something to build on. This changes the momentum, hugely going into the next few weeks.”
Moffitt’s mood was on a completely different side of the spectrum prior to learning he had been the winner, though.
There was no such thing as a good points day, and rightfully so with the winning-is-everything playoff format.
“[I feel] pretty shitty. All that matters is winning and we didn’t [do] that,” Moffitt said after the race before learning he had actually been declared the winner.
Second place stung for Moffitt with him being the first loser, being one spot away at his home track, and also, surprisingly, because of who he lost to.
“It’s bad [to come in second],” Moffitt said. “Especially to that guy. I don’t like that guy and he races like— an interesting person sometimes. I hate losing to him and I hate losing here.”
Nearly two hours later, Moffitt was declared the winner.
He said that the only thing he could have done differently to get around Chastain was to wreck him, due to the tire fall off.
“Early in the run, [would have been a better time to pass] for sure,” Moffitt said. “Once the tires fall off, it’s like they’re good, slowly falling off, and then they level out and once they level out, you’re kind of just along for the ride. “
During the first stage, a 16 year old named Chandler Smith was the big story.
Smith, one of the up-and-coming Toyota Racing Development prospects, was making his debut in Kyle Busch’s No. 51 truck that has won six races this season.
— Connor Ferguson (@cfchangs9) June 16, 2019
Because qualifying was rained out and the lineup was set by owner’s points, Smith was on the pole.
“[My day] was very up and down,” Smith said. “It comes from dominating stage one to coming down pit road with a radio failure…”
Smith led all of the first 55 laps of the race prior to the first caution of the day.
He couldn’t hear his crew chief or his spotter through his radio at all during that time, and had to have his crew wave their pit sign to signal if he should pit or not.
Later in the race, Smith raced his way back to fifth place and came out of pit road after the next round of stops in second. It would have put him back on the front row, but he was busted for speeding.
“…Then I sped down pit road when we came out second, so just an up-and down day, but a good learning day overall,” Smith said.
The rest of the race was highlighted by a fiery feud between Austin Hill and Johnny Sauter.
Hill took out Sauter to bring out a caution early in the third stage, before Sauter came back and took out Hill as the cars were pacing.
Well then… pic.twitter.com/vfRBzPvgQA
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 16, 2019
Both drivers declined comment to LWOS following the race.
The Truck Series returns to the track next week at what was formerly called Gateway Motorsports Park for a Saturday night affair. The race will start at 10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
|NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoff Grid|
|Wildcard standings (no wins)||Points||Cutoff|
|XX||Ross Chastain||43||-69 (from 20th|
Playoff grid and points are updated as of Iowa.