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DAVISON: Preece wins his first ever Truck Series race at a revived Nashville Superspeedway

Nashville, TN, June 18/21 (by John Davison): A night of firsts saw Ryan Preece victorious in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut, leading the Rackley Roofing 200 twice, including the final seven laps after taking the lead from Todd Gilliland after Gilliland's crew chief was expelled after the truck failed to pass pre-race inspection. Gilliland's runner-up finish was his fifth top-five for the season. Gilliland's father, David, took over as crew chief, bringing his son within 0.950 second of the win.

Reese was driving a truck entered by ‘dad’ Gilliland ’s race team.

NASCAR's first race back at Nashville Superspeedway after a ten-year, this Camping World Truck Series event, saw a surprise pole winner in Derek Kraus, on the pole nearly three-tenths of a second ahead of Jack Wood, with Austin Hill, Grant Enfinger and Chandler Smith capping the top five starters. The first Stage's 45 laps went by without drama, Kraus ahead of Austin Hill, with Chandler Smith, Grant Enfinger and Jack Wood the top five after the Stage.
Everyone took four tires in the pits at the break with Chandler Smith and Austin Hill led the field for the restart with Zane Smith taking second almost immediately after the green flag.

William Byron's engine blowup led to the evening's first caution with a big cloud of fumes out of the exhaust pipes of the No. 27 Chevy, his first Truck race in several years. Chandler Smith went on to capture the second Stage, followed by Zane Smith, Derek Kraus, Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton.

Johnny Sauter got sent to the back for a pit penalty, then contact with Tanner Gray sent him spinning on the restart. Stewart Friesen's crew left him on the track for position so he could restart in the lead, but the truck was reported to be about four laps short on fuel, but more cautions could help make up the mileage.

Derek Kraus' truck suffered a cut right front tire after a bump from Josh Berry sent him into the wall, then again into the Turn Three wall, ending his night with the truck on the hook.

The restart had Enfinger, Cup regular Ryan Preece in his first Truck series race, Todd Gilliland, Stewart Friesen in the top two rows, with Enfinger and Preece swapping the lead before Enfinger got it definitively with Preece holding steady about a quarter second behind. But Preece passed Enfinger for the lead with seven laps remaining, with Enfinger fading to third after Gilliland got around into second place with five laps left while Preece drove out to a lead of just under a second at the checkered flag, winning in his Truck Series debut race.

Preece normally drives in the NASCAR Cup Series but he drove this one-off truck race to gain experience on this long-disused track.“That was a lot of fun,” Preece said, “Really I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know anything. I was just taking the guidance from [crew chief] Chad [Johnston] and my teammates and told them I’d be better in the race than I was in qualifying and practice. And fortunately, I lived up to that.”

The next NCWTS race will be at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, June 26.

• Click HERE for the race results


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