(AVONDALE, AZ) The penultimate round of the 2016 ASRS Camping World Truck Series hit the diamond in the desert, the one mile Phoenix International Raceway. Phoenix provided drivers with an opportunity to pay tribute to legends of the sport, the founding fathers of the truck series, and their favorite drivers with retro paint schemes. With 34 drivers attempting to qualify, Jake Morris and Steve Buhala failed to qualify for the 32 truck field.
Michael Atkins, Jr. led the field to the green flag in his #44 One Main Financial Chevrolet, paying tribute to Bobby Hamilton’s final NASCAR win, the 2005 Ohio 250. Robby Baskins joined Atkins on the front row in the Jeff Gordon, Buddy Baker, Scott Lagasse tribute truck.
Early race cautions gave way to a moderate period of green flag racing mid-race, but the amount of cautions put a premium on track position since drivers could not pass under caution. Several drivers established themselves as favorites for the win, Ty Hester led a race high 25 laps in the #36 Spears tribute Toyota.
Championship leader Robby Baskins was involved in the race’s biggest crash on lap 45 when Jamie Vaughn spun off turn 4 and came up the track collecting Baskins. Jim Foose, sitting second in the championship, was collected in the incident, but continued on. Baskins was damaged beyond repair and relegated to a 27th place finish.
Danny Rodgers emerged as a contender over the final third of the race, leading 21 laps in the #22 Chevy Silverado and holding off teammate Jake Douglas who finished 2nd. Jared Mogard led 12 laps en route to a third place finish, Tom Giannini was fourth and rookie Kevin Mingus finished fifth.
Robby Baskins still leads the championship standings as the Camping World Truck Series heads to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway next week, by just six points over Jim Foose who took advantage of an eight place finish to cut the points lead down from 25 entering Phoenix.