Ryan Truex never drove on a road course before this season, but the style of that type of track seems to suit him well.
The 17-year-old driver posted his third win of the season, and his second on a road course venue, by soaring to the checkered flag unchallenged in a green-white-checkered restart at Lime Rock Park (CT) Saturday afternoon. Truex inherited the lead at lap 70 when Matt DiBenedetto crashed into a stalled Matt Kobyluck in the latter part of the scheduled 82-lap race.
The race was extended to allow for a green-white-checkered finish with Eddie MacDonald rallying in the closing laps to capture second over Jason Holehouse.
“My guys gave me an awesome, awesome race car,” said Truex in victory lane. “We were the fastest all day and all the credit goes to them. I was trying to keep up with the #18 [DiBendetto] and just saving my stuff, but I screwed up on a pit stop and stalled the car. I went back out and worked my way towards the front when the 18 had some trouble.”
Truex started the race from the outside pole and remained behind Matt DiBenedetto for the first 19 laps of the event. DiBenedetto pitted for fuel and handed the lead to Truex at lap 20. Truex stayed out for two laps, but came down pit road himself at lap 22.
Truex lost ground during his pit stop when the car stalled, and the young driver was relegated back to eleventh as the round of pit stops continued. Truex didn't make it back into the top-five until lap 60 when he overcame Eddie MacDonald for the spot.
“I've got the best cars, the best crew, and the best of everything out there. I put more pressure on myself then anything,” said Truex. “I just screwed up (on that pit stop). After that I just went out there and ran my own race. I was just trying to knock off laps and keep the laps perfect so that I could catch people.”
By lap 70, Truex had gained valuable positions and was running second to Matt DiBenedetto, who seemed unstoppable. But then it all changed.
“I saw the 40 out there wrecked and then I saw the 18 off to the side,” explained Truex. “It's unfortunate for him. I hate it when everyone wrecks out of a race when they've got that good of a racecar. Same as Matt Kobyluck - he probably had the best car here. It just all worked out for us today.”
Truex held on through two more restarts before taking the checkers 1.481 seconds over MacDonald and Holehouse.
MacDonald rallied past Holehouse for the runner-up position on the last lap. It's a career best for MacDonald at Lime Rock Park.
“It was unbelievable for our team!” said MacDonald. “I was real excited to have a strong run here today.”
DiBenedetto wrecked with Matt Kobyluck on lap 70 of the race and ended his day with a 16th place finish.
“It was probably the most unbelievable racecar I've ever driven,” said DiBenedetto about his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry. “Next thing I know I come up over the hill and Kobyluck was stopped sideways in the middle of the racetrack. It bit us in the end.”
Matt Kobyluck, who was a favorite to win this race, struggled all weekend after finding water in his fuel after Friday's qualifying session. He was 32 laps down at the time of the accident. Kobyluck had made contact with Matt Kurzejewski and had just come to a stop when DiBenedetto got into him.
The NASCAR Camping World Series East has two events left in the 2009 season with Ryan Truex leading 50 points over Eddie MacDonald. New Hampshire is on tap for September 18th and Dover International Speedway will bring down the curtain on the season late next month.
NASCAR Camping World Series East-Mohegan Sun 200 Results
At Lime Rock Park
Lap length: 1.53 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (2) Ryan Truex, Mayetta, N.J., Toyota, 86 laps, 78.712 mph, $10,925.
2. (9) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass., Chevrolet, 86, $8,000.
3. (3) Jason Holehouse, Toronto, Ontario, Toyota, 86, $5,300.
4. (8) Alex Kennedy, Aztec, N.M., Chevrolet, 86, $5,350.
5. (6) Mike Olsen, North Haverhill, N.H., Chevrolet, 86, $3,400.
6. (7) Jesus Hernandez, Fresno, Calif., Dodge, 86, $3,225.
7. (5) Ryan Duff, Hazard, KY., Chevrolet, 86, $2,600.
8. (13) Dustin Delaney, Mayfield, N.Y., Chevrolet, 86, $2,400.
9. (4) Brett Moffitt, Grimes, Iowa, Chevrolet, 86, $2,380.
10. (11) Jeff Anton, Russell, Mass., Chevrolet, 85, $1,850.
11. (10) Steve Park, East Northport, N.Y., Chevrolet, 86, $2,330.
12. (15) Derek Ramstrom, West Boylston, Mass., Chevrolet, 86, $1,800.
13. (14) Jody Lavender, Hartsville, S.C., Chevrolet, 84, $2,280.
14. (16) Matt Kurzejewski, Mansfield, Pa., Ford, 79, $2,100.
15. (12) Jonathan Smith, Beacon Falls, Conn., Chevrolet, 77, accident, $2,050.
16. (1) Matt DiBenedetto, Grass Valley, Calif., Toyota, 70, accident, $4,000.
17. (21) Matt Kobyluck, Uncasville, Conn., Chevrolet, 38, accident, $2,570.
18. (20) Tiffany Daniels, Smithfield, Va., Dodge, 19, engine, $1,460.
19. (19) Alan Tardiff, Lyman, Maine, Chevrolet, 13, brakes, $1,950.
20. (18) John Salemi, Nashua, N.H., Chevrolet, 10, clutch, $1,950.
21. (17) Scott Bouley, Middlebury, Conn., Chevrolet, 1, engine, $1,450.
22. (22) Tim Cowen, Ashland, Ohio, Ford, 0, dns, $1,450.
Time of Race: 1 hour 40 minutes 18 seconds
Margin of Victory: 1.481 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: M.DiBenedetto (102.518 mph, 53.727 seconds)
Caution Flags: 4 for 18 laps.
Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: M. DiBenedetto 1-18; R. Truex 19-21; J. Holehouse 22-24; J. Hernandez 25-31; M. DiBenedetto 32-69; R. Truex 70-86.
Standings: 1. R. Truex, 1412; 2. E. MacDonald, 1362; 3. J. Lavender, 1325; 4. S. Park, 1279; 5. M. Kobyluck, 1279; 6. B. Moffitt, 1265; 7. D. Delaney, 1147; 8. A. Tardiff, 1115; 9. R. Duff, 1108; 10. A. Kennedy, 1106.