Ross Chastain dominated throughout the Fan Appreciation 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway in Newton on Sunday, leading 118 laps of the 212-lap race (the event was scheduled for 200 laps but two green-white-checker attempts extended the race distance), but in the end, Chastain was relegated to watching James Buescher celebrate in victory lane. Chastain’s runner-up finish, though, was the best finish of the driver’s Truck Series career.
“I’ve never had a race car that handled like that,” Chastain said. “I gave one away. . . . The way I was driving it was not the right way.”
Buescher, on fresher tires, got by Chastain for the lead on the first of two green-white checker restarts and held Chastain off on the final restart for his second win of the season and the sixth of his Camping World Truck Series career. He also shaved a few points off of Matt Crafton’s championship points lead. Crafton finished seventh.
“Slow and steady wins the race,” Buescher said of gaining on Crafton. “We’re coming for this championship.”
Chastain started from the pole and led the way until the first caution came out on lap 37. Ty Dillon stayed out during the caution to restart in the lead. Buescher headed down pit road with everyone else, but elected to take fuel only, saving a set of tires for later. Chastain cycled back into the lead when Dillon had to make a green-flag pit stop several laps later.
“Don’t put a set on before lap 100, because we’re going to want them later,” Buescher said he told his crew chief before the race.
He did, indeed, want those tires later. When a caution came out on lap 168, Buescher was one of only a few who headed down pit road. He then got the tires he had saved earlier and made his way back up through the field, by trucks on older tires.
Chastain and his Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Ryan Blaney were running first and second late in the race until a caution with five laps to go in the race’s 200-lap scheduled distance. Because of a fuel pickup issue, Blaney slowed to almost a stop during the yellow and, as a result, restarted several positions back. Buescher then lined up beside Chastain on the front row for the restart and took the position from Chastain when the race returned to green.
Dillon finished third, Johnny Sauter was fourth and Darrell Wallace Jr. rounded out the top-five. Finishing sixth through 10th were German Quiroga, Crafton, Jeb Burton, Erik Jones and Blaney.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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