By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
At his home track, Texas Motor Speedway, Cory Roper earned his first career top-10 finish in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
The Vernon, Texas native restarted second on the final restart of the SpeedyCash.com 400, but Roper’s old, worn tires were no match for those behind him. Despite a valiant effort, Matt Crafton, Tyler Ankrum and others made quick work of his No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors Ford F-150.
A timely caution with 14 laps to go left Roper’s family team, Roper Racing, as one of just nine trucks on the lead lap. While their competitors pitted, he stayed on track with 2000 Series Champion, and eventual race winner, Greg Biffle. After he dropped through the field, Roper crossed the line in ninth.
Roper’s top-10 finish came with an uncharacteristically slow qualifying lap. After qualifying in the top-10 at both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, he found himself mired deep in the field, 20th on the starting grid.
The mid-pack starting position left Roper in the middle of the chaos. Several back-to-back cautions forced him to swerve around the carnage.
Roper himself almost became a part of the carnage on lap 64. His Ford F-150 broke loose in turns one and two. Roper fought to regain control as his truck looped around. Somehow, he kept his No. 04 machine out of both walls and returned to the action unscathed.
The ninth-place finish is the first top-10 for the veteran short track racer that used to attend races at the 1.5-mile track in Fort Worth, Texas. The finish came in his 13th-career start. Roper’s previous best finish came at Texas earlier this season when he finished 12th.
While the team had intended to run the full 2019 Truck Series season, the family team scaled back after the Vankor 350 at Texas due to lack of sponsorship.
Roper’s team took to Twitter expressing their excitement.
Our first top ten finish! Thank you team!
— Roper Racing (@RoperRacingTeam) June 8, 2019