Justin Haley wins thrilling Truck Playoff race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

BOWMANVILLE, ON - AUGUST 26: Justin Haley, driver of the #24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet, celebrates his victory at the 6th Annual Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Mosport Park on August 26, 2018 in Bowmanville, Canada. (Photo by 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.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – Chevrolet Silverado 250

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Bowmanville, Ontario

Sunday, August 26, 2018

1. (8) Justin Haley (P), Chevrolet, 65.

2. (7) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Chevrolet, 65.

3. (17) Brett Moffitt (P), Toyota, 65.

4. (5) Timothy Peters, Chevrolet, 65.

5. (4) Matt Crafton (P), Ford, 65.

6. (6) Johnny Sauter (P), Chevrolet, 65.

7. (16) Stewart Friesen (P), Chevrolet, 65.

8. (9) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 65.

9. (2) Noah Gragson (P), Toyota, 65.

10. (10) Alex Tagliani, Chevrolet, 65.

11. (15) Todd Gilliland #, Toyota, 65.

12. (13) DJ Kennington, Chevrolet, 65.

13. (14) Harrison Burton, Toyota, 65.

14. (1) Ben Rhodes (P), Ford, 65.

15. (12) Cody Coughlin, Chevrolet, 65.

16. (22) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 65.

17. (11) Grant Enfinger (P), Ford, 65.

18. (20) Justin Fontaine #, Chevrolet, 65.

19. (3) Myatt Snider #, Ford, 65.

20. (25) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 65.

21. (18) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 65.

22. (21) Bo LeMastus #, Toyota, 64.

23. (27) Jason White, Chevrolet, 63.

24. (23) Wendell Chavous, Chevrolet, 63.

25. (31) Jesse Iwuji, Chevrolet, 63.

26. (30) Justin Kunz, Chevrolet, 62.

27. (24) Roger Reuse, Chevrolet, Vibration, 35.

28. (28) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, Vibration, 34.

29. (26) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 32.

30. (19) Max Tullman(i), Chevrolet, Transmission, 29.

31. (32) Mike Harmon(i), Chevrolet, Brakes, 7.

32. (29) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, Brakes, 2.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  76.476 mph.

Time of Race:  02 Hrs, 05 Mins, 24 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.223 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 18 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   B. Rhodes (P) 1-6; N. Gragson (P) 7-22; T. Peters 23-24; N. Gragson (P) 25-33; J. Haley (P) 34; N. Gragson (P) 35-44; J. Sauter (P) 45-53; T. Gilliland # 54-64; J. Haley (P) 65;.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  N. Gragson (P) 3 times for 35 laps; T. Gilliland # 1 time for 11 laps; J. Sauter (P) 1 time for 9 laps; B. Rhodes (P) 1 time for 6 laps; J. Haley (P) 2 times for 2 laps; T. Peters 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,41,24,8,88,16,21,25,98,49

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,16,24,8,88,52,21,25,98,13

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.