By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Last week at Texas Motor Speedway, Ryan Truex matched his season best finish with a fourth place result. It also was his fifth straight Top 10 finish of the year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. As the series moved on to Gateway Motorsports Park, Truex entered with just one previous start at the 1.25-mile track as he would look to extend the streak.
As the teams unloaded for the Drivin’ For Linemen 200, Truex’s Hattori Racing Enterprises team showed that they were searching for just a little more speed. In the first practice, his No. 16 Dieberg’s / Bar Harbor Foods Toyota Tundra was 13th on the speed charts. He improved to 12th in the final practice and qualified in 11th.
The first stage got off to a quick start. It went caution free as Truex slowly moved up the running order. He picked off one spot after another en-route to finishing Stage 1 in fifth. Truex earned six Championship Points as a result.
Stage 2 was just as fast paced as Stage 1. However, Stage 2 saw Truex slip backwards as others took two tires between the stages. Tires proved not to be a deciding factor, trapping Truex towards the back of the Top 10. When the green and white checkered flag waved to end Stage 2, Truex was in ninth. He gained two more Championship Points for his stage finish.
The third stage was just as quick as the previous two stages. This time, Truex moved forward, climbing back inside the top five. He lost time during green flag pit stops as Matt Crafton and Chase Briscoe elected to take fuel only.
A caution with 11 laps to go bunched the field back up, giving Truex another chance to move forward. On the restart, Truex made bold moves, diving beneath Grant Enfinger and Crafton.
In the jockeying for position, Johnny Sauter pushed Truex deep into turn three, sending him wide. As Truex regained his momentum, he slipped back outside the top five. By the time he stabilized, he had fallen to the seventh position, where he would ultimately finish.
As a result, he earned his sixth-straight Top 10 finish of the 2017 season and 12th of his Truck Series career. He is now tied for sixth in points with Enfinger. Enfinger has the tie-breaker with three top fives to Truex’s two.
Also, with race winner John Hunter Nemechek outside the top eight, and Daytona winner Kaz Grala in eighth, Truex is currently on the outside of the Playoffs looking in. Truex is currently 115 points behind point leader Johnny Sauter, and is tied for the cutoff for the Playoffs.
Now Truex and his Hattori Racing Enterprises team will head to Iowa Speedway where they hope to continue their streak of Top 10 finishes.