(TALLADEGA, AL) The Camping World Truck Series kicked off the “home stretch” of the 2016 season, as the tailgaters invaded Talladega, Alabama for the first of five straight races to end the 2016 campaign. With championship hopes on the line and the “big one” looming the championship contenders just hoped to escape Talladega with minimal damage. Five drivers failed to qualify for the Fred’s 125 at Talladega: Jared Morgan, Allen McEwen, Jake Douglas, Kris Titus and Travis Wright.
Jamie Vaughn led the field to the green after scoring the Driven Designz Pole Award, Baskins-Vaughn Motorsports teammate Pete Baskins started outside the front row. Jamie Vaughn would fail to lead a lap in the #19, but Pete Baskins took the lead early. Jason Stewart drafted his #1 Chevrolet to the lead on lap three and held it for two laps before Pete Baskins drafted by to retake the lead briefly. Five lead changes occurred in the first eight laps as the competition raced door to door through much of the 32 truck field.
The first caution flew on lap eight as the #33 of Tom Giannini and #10 Jared Mogard made contact collecting Steve Buhala’s #43 Chevy. The green flag flew once again on lap 12 before the second and final caution flew three laps later as the #84 David Boden and Danny Rodgers collided causing a multi-truck pile up in the tri-oval.
The green flag flew once again on lap 20. The crew chiefs knew that none of the drivers could stretch the fuel to the end of the race. Two incidents failed to bring out the caution flag. Robby Baskins’ #46 came to a stop on the backstretch but refired before drawing a caution, Baskins’ entered the Fred’s 125 as the championship points leader and would be relegated to a 21st place finish.
The battle at the end of the race came as Zack Calloway stretched his fuel as far as he could, before pitting on lap 39, handing the lead over to Jason Stewart. Stewart would give up the lead two laps later as Jordan Harnish led a pack of Toyotas into the top five.
Harnish would hold on to win his first Camping World Truck Series race of 2016, holding off Zac Bozanich at the finish line, Ty Hester was third followed by Ben Nile and Calloway in fifth.
Robby Baskins continues to lead the championship standings in the #46, but lost a sizable amount of points as Zack Calloway moved to second in the championship 10 points back, while Jim Foose fell to third -11. The Camping World Truck Series heads to Richmond International Raceway next week.