Caruth wins in Las Vegas for first Truck Series victory

motorsport02 March 2024 05:58| © Reuters
article image
Rajah Caruth © Gallo Images

Rajah Caruth made a promise after taking the checkered flag in the Victoria's Voice Foundation 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"There's more to come, for sure," the 21-year-old Spire Motorsports driver said moments after securing his first Nascar Truck Series win from the pole position in Friday night's race.

An alumnus of Nascar's Drive for Diversity program, Caruth is the third Black driver to win a Nascar national series race, joining Hall of Famer Wendell Scott and Bubba Wallace.

It was a day of firsts for Caruth, who earlier on Friday won the initial Truck Series pole of his career by 0.001 seconds over Christian Eckes.

But it was Caruth's pit crew that helped decide the issue. During a 62-lap green-flag run to the finish, crew chief Chad Walter called Caruth's No 71 Chevrolet to pit road early in the cycle.

The over-the-wall crew performed a flawless stop, and after other contenders made their stops during the cycle, Caruth inherited the lead on Lap 114 with an advantage over Taylor Gray of nearly two seconds.

That margin enabled Caruth, who led 38 laps, to finish 0.851 seconds in front of fast-closing Tyler Ankrum, who passed Gray for the second spot on Lap 120.

"It's surreal," Caruth said. "Thanks so much to (sponsor) and Mr. H (Hendrick) for putting me in this thing all year, and with the men and women at Spire.

"So many people have helped me get to this point, and I can't believe it. I just stayed cool. We lost track position in little portions of the race, and we stayed in the game. ... My guys got me a great stop, and we just executed."

A lack of execution ruined the chances of several contenders. Ty Majeski, who led a race-high 40 of the 134 laps and swept the first two stages, drew a penalty for speeding on pit road on Lap 102. So did Daytona winner Nick Sanchez, snuffing out a late rally.


Defending race winner Kyle Busch's crew was guilty of a tire violation, preventing Caruth's Spire teammate from contending for the victory. But with Busch winning last week at Atlanta, Spire now has two straight victories.

In the closing laps, Ankrum could see Caruth tantalisingly in front of him, just out of reach.

"I wish we would have had 10 more laps, and I think we could have gotten it," said Ankrum, who retained his series lead by five points over second-place Majeski. "But we tend to say that a lot in racing. I wish we would have been able to do it, but I think our time is coming."

Corey Heim finished third and is seven points behind Ankum in the standings. Caruth climbed one spot from fifth to fourth, 10 points out of the series lead.

Gray ran fourth on Friday, followed by Christopher Bell. Eckes, Matt Crafton, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger and Majeski completed the top 10. Busch finished 15th, one lap down.

NASCAR TRUCK SERIES RACE - Victoria's Voice Foundation 200

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

1. (1) Rajah Caruth, Chevrolet, 134.

2. (5) Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, 134.

3. (25) Corey Heim, Toyota, 134.

4. (19) Taylor Gray, Toyota, 134.

5. (14) Christopher Bell(i), Toyota, 134.

6. (2) Christian Eckes, Chevrolet, 134.

7. (15) Matt Crafton, Ford, 134.

8. (7) Zane Smith(i), Chevrolet, 134.

9. (10) Grant Enfinger, Chevrolet, 134.

10. (6) Ty Majeski, Ford, 134.

11. (12) Jake Garcia, Ford, 134.

12. (20) Bret Holmes, Chevrolet, 134.

13. (13) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 134.

14. (26) Conner Jones #, Ford, 133.

15. (4) Kyle Busch(i), Chevrolet, 133.

16. (11) Chase Purdy, Chevrolet, 133.

17. (8) Nick Sanchez, Chevrolet, 133.

18. (3) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 133.

19. (18) Connor Mosack, Chevrolet, 133.

20. (24) Tanner Gray, Toyota, 133.

21. (29) Mason Massey, Chevrolet, 133.

22. (21) Layne Riggs #, Ford, 133.

23. (28) Lawless Alan, Ford, 133.

24. (9) Daniel Dye, Chevrolet, 132.

25. (30) Thad Moffitt #, Chevrolet, 132.

26. (16) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 132.

27. (31) Keith McGee, Ford, 131.

28. (17) Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 129.

29. (32) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 128.

30. (23) Dean Thompson, Toyota, 125.

31. (22) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 125.

32. (27) Timmy Hill, Toyota, Electrical, 75.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 129.91 mph.

Time of Race: 1 hour, 32 minutes, 50 seconds. Margin of Victory: 0.851 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 4 for 19 laps.

Lead Changes: 19 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders: C. Eckes 1-7; K. Busch(i) 8-13;T. Majeski 14-16; K. Busch(i) 17-18;T. Majeski 19-33; R. Caruth 34-50; T. Majeski 51-63; T. Gray 64-66; K. Busch(i) 67-71; T. Majeski 72-76; N. Sanchez 77-81; C. Heim 82-85; T. Majeski 86-89; C. Heim 90-103; T. Gray 104; C. Bell(i) 105-106; C. Purdy 107; M. Massey 108-113; R. Caruth 114-134.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Ty Majeski 5 times for 40 laps; Rajah Caruth 2 times for 38 laps; Corey Heim 2 times for 18 laps; Kyle Busch(i) 3 times for 13 laps; Christian Eckes 1 time for 7 laps; Mason Massey 1 time for 6 laps; Nick Sanchez 1 time for 5 laps; Taylor Gray 2 times for 4 laps; Christopher Bell(i) 1 time for 2 laps; Chase Purdy 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage No 1 Top 10: 98,71,52,18,11,1,17,7,9,88

Stage No 2 Top 10: 98,11,71,17,7,2,9,91,52,88