By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
CONCORD, N.C. – After six weeks out of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Anthony Alfredo returned to earn his first career top-10 finish.
Alfredo burst into the top-10 out of nowhere on the final restart. His No. 15 Steelsmith / Friends of Jaclyn Toyota Tundra avoided the melee as Johnny Sauter stumbled. Alfredo snuck into the top-10 as Chad Finley, Jordan Anderson, and others got bogged down behind Sauter.
In the final three laps of the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, Alfredo jumped into the top-10. He battled Todd Gilliland for seventh. When the duo crossed the start-finish line at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Alfredo narrowly missed seventh in a photo-finish for the position.
“I think we’ve had the speed at the end of every race, but something’s gone wrong,” Alfredo explained. “Loose wheel with six to go at Atlanta, can’t really pass below the line. But, that’s why I’m here, to learn. This is only my fourth race so far, and I’ve been off for six weeks, which feels like six months.
“I just can’t thank everyone that makes this possible for us, all of my partners, Steelsmith, Oxford Energy Group, JDRF, Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. We had a special helmet that a seven-year-old, Zack, who is battling leukemia actually designed, so I’m happy to bring that to a top-10 for him.”
After he qualified 15th, Alfredo remained 15th in both the first and second stages. After he moved forward in the third stage, a mistake on pit road kept the DGR – Crosley driver running mid-pack until the end.
“There is a lot to build on from here,” Alfredo explained. “I made one mistake on pit road; we gained it all back. I lost one spot in the final corner there, could have been seventh. I’m still content with eighth for how limited my experience has been. I only started racing no even five years ago.”
The top-10 finish is the first in Alfredo’s career and comes in his fourth truck series start. It was also just his fifth race on a 1.5-mile track dating back to the ARCA Menards Series season finale at Kansas Speedway last season.
Alfredo’s next scheduled race is the first leg of the Triple Truck Challenge, at Texas Motor Speedway. He will not attempt all three races as he is not scheduled to compete on short tracks this season.