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Everything That Happened In The Truck Race At COTA

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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What’s Happening?

After several weeks of turning left on superspeedways, a couple of intermediates, and a short track, it’s time for the first road course race of the year for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series! That’s right! This weekend the truckers took to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for what was certain to be a thrilling race. So, how did your favorite Truck Series drivers fare today at COTA? Who looked strong early but faded? Who put all the right pieces together at the end? Who had problems and who was fast? Here’s Every Thing That Happened In The Truck Race At COTA!

Truck Setup: The Layout

As the trucks ran pace laps prior to the start of the race at COTA, Bob Pockrass took the time to post the stage layout for the truckers in Austin. The layout was as follows:

  • Stage 1: 12-Laps
  • Stage 2: 14-Laps
  • Final Stage: 16-Laps

Drivers forced to go to the rear to start the race were Christian Eckes (for changing his transmission), Ty Dillon, Bayley Currey, Marco Andretti, Lawless Alan, Carter Fartuch, Ben Rhodes, and Thad Moffit (all for unapproved adjustments.

Trouble For Polesitter Connor Zilisch

There was trouble for pole sitter, Connor Zilisch as he led the pack through the first turn. The No. 7 seemingly locked up his brakes, missing the corner entirely and driving off the course. This would ultimately result in damage to the suspension. Following a brief caution for debris, Zilisch would bring his Spire Motorsports Chevy down pit road where they would go under the hood. It was a broken sway bar arm that would ultimately cost Zilisch a lap.

Four-Wide In Turn-11 Sends Friesen Around, Collects Marco Andretti

With 6-laps remaining in the first stage, the driver of the No. 52, Stewart Friesen would force the issue, causing himself, Ty Dillon, and Matt Crafton into a 4-wide issue with another truck. This ultimately led to Dillon tagging Friesen from behind, sending him around. He would collect Marco Andretti in the 04 truck. There was no major damage to any of the trucks involved and the race was able to continue under green.

You can watch the incident in the video clip below:

Trouble For Lane Riggs

Upon the restart, it would appear that the driver of the No. 38 truck for Front Row Motorsports (the truck that won the last three Truck Series events at COTA) would have an issue. The truck was noticeably off the pace as he crawled down the front stretch. After reaching the end of pit road, he would throw his truck in reverse and back it down the pit lane to his pit box. As later reported by Bob Pockrass, the issue Riggs had was an engine/power issue.

The No. 38 crew was able to get Riggs back on track. Due to backing down pit road, he committed a commitment line violation and was forced to do a pass-through penalty. He ultimately ended up 3-laps down after the whole fiasco.

Sanchez Captures Playoff Point By Winning Stage 1

Nick Sanchez was fast from the jump after unloading on Friday. He was lightning-fast in practice and ultimately qualified 4th. During a series of green flag pit spots, Sanchez stayed out, assuming the lead. He would lead the final 4 laps of the stage to the stage win. This will reward him and his No. 2 Rev Racing Chevy team with 10 points and 1 playoff point.

The Spire Racing No. 7 of Connor Zilisch would be rewarded the free pass, putting him back on the lead lap to start the second stage.

Course-Cutting Penalties

With 7-laps to go in the second stage, Matt Crafton was issued a pass-through penalty for cutting the course in the esses. The rule in the turn 6 and turn 7 esses is that the truck must keep one tire on the red and white rumble strips. Crafton’s tires dipped below the strip, thus resulting in this penalty.

With 6-laps to go in the second stage, both Stage 1 winner and polesitter, Nick Sanchez and Connor Zilisch were both hit with pass-through penalties for cutting the esses.

Lawless Alan Gets Off-Course

The caution flag flew with 5 laps remaining in the second stage of Lawless Alan who spun around in Turn-6 and got his truck stuck in the gravel trap. Safety crews were able to get him unstuck from the gravel and he was able to continue on.

Corey Heim Wins Stage 2

Most of the second stage belonged to Tricon Garage driver, Corey Heim. It would take caution flag pit stop which saw a few drivers stay out to knock him from the top spot. However, as the race restarted with 2 laps remaining in the second stage, it didn’t take long for Corey Heim to rocket back out front and resume his lead. He would ultimately end up winning the stage, his first stage win of the 2024 season. This awarded him 10 points and 1 playoff point for the post-season. The remainder of the top-5 after the stage were Ty Majeski, Jack Hawksworth, Ben Rhodes, and Taylor Gray.

More Rookie Mistakes For Connor Zilisch

It was a tough debut for the driver of the No. 7 Spire truck, Connor Zilisch. Though the rookie started on the pole, an issue on the restart in which he overdrove the corner ended up miring him back in the pack where he would get a broken sway bar arm, causing him to pit and putting him a lap down. He was able to battle his way back to the race, getting as far up as second when the green flag flew to start the final stage.

As you can see in the video below, Zilisch slammed hard into the side of Ty Majeski, sending him through to second. However, the contact caused a tire rub on the No. 7 and Zilisch had to back it up, slowing down just enough to conserve his tires. He fell down to about 4th when he was once again nabbed for corner cutting and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty. Luckily, a caution was brought out for a spinning Lawless Alan, meaning that he would get at least one more restart with a bunched-up pack so that he could maybe make up some ground.

HOW!? Rear-end Housing Comes Off Andretti’s Truck, Triggering Overtime

Oddly, with 2-laps remaining in regulation, the entire rear axle fell off of the No. 04 of Marco Andretti. This bizarre incident caused a lengthy caution, possibly bringing fuel strategy into play. The caution will send the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series into overtime at COTA. Click the video below to take a gander at this strange occurrence.

The incident, as reported by Bob Pockrass.

Corey Heim Dominates COTA to Win!

After taking the lead for the final time in the second stage, Corey Heim never looked back. His No. 11 Tricon truck seemed to be in a league of its own as he led a majority of the laps to secure his first win in 2024. The team, after feeling that they struggled the year before (where they came home 6th) built this truck brand new for Heim, circling the date for this race specifically, the only road course race of the ’24 Truck Series schedule.

In The Stands

In response to Connor Zilisch missing the first turn, Mayhem Mike Miller said that he had a strange feeling that something like that was going to happen.

ZIGAG said that it was all just part of the plan–Zilisch just wanted to make his eventual win “interesting”.

Elizabeth Carolyn was elated that Nick Sanchez won the first stage.

Following the end of the second stage, Cal Leferink took to X to post how he’s sad that this is the only road course race for the truckers this year. Clearly seems to like what he’s seeing.

Dylan Price just wants ThorSport to bring a truck to the track worthy of Ty Majeski’s talent.

Fans took to X to react to Marco Andretti’s axle rolling across the track, bringing out the caution that sent us into #NASCAROvertime.

DoubleLogic says that that was a first for them!

Elizabeth Carolyn is heartbroken for Marco Andretti.

KyleEricM3 has NEVER seen something like that before!


With race 1 of our Saturday double-header in the books, what did you think of the Craftsman Truck Series race at COTA? How did your favorite driver do, Daily Downforce readers? What did you make of the Marco Andretti/axle fiasco? Were you happy with the winner or were you hoping somebody else would have something for the No. 11 car in the closing laps? Let us know on all of our socials and keep it right here at for our continued coverage of the double-header.

Up Next: NASCAR Xfinity Series action from COTA!

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts