Armed with a new series name, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series kicked off their 2019 racing season on the high banks of Daytona with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on February 15 under the lights.
After winning the pole for the Arca Series race the previous week, 18 year old Christian Eckes made history by putting his truck on the pole for the 100 lap race around Daytona International Speedway. Racing veteran David Gilliland started alongside Eckes on the front row.
Stages one and two of the race were 20 laps each with the final stage lasting 60 laps.
In a harbinger of what was to come, a lap four caution saw Natalie Decker – one of two female drivers in the race, Angela Ruch was the other – bringing her flaming truck down pit road.
Sheldon Creed won stage one of the race.
Johnny Sauter won stage two after Brett Moffitt and Sheldon Creed were black flagged for locking bumpers and had to come down pit road to serve a penalty.
A big crash involving eleven trucks brought out the fifth caution flag of the race on lap 54 when Jordan Anderson slowed down his truck and Sheldon Creed had no place to go, gathering up a third of the field. Sheldon Creed, Jordan Anderson, Gus Dean, Johnny Sauter, Austin Wayne Self, Brett Moffitt, Myatt Snider, Brennan Poole, Christian Eckes, Stewart Friesen, and Grant Enfnger were all involved in he crash.
The second “big one” happened on lap 98 involving 10 trucks. Sheldon Creed’s truck caught on fire. Ben Rhodes, Gus Dean, David Gilliland, Austin Wayne Self, Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen, Clay Greenfield, Joe Nemechek, and Matt Crafton were all involved in he crash.
With only two laps remaining, the race went into overtime but before the drivers could reach the white flag, the eleventh caution came out, setting a new record for cautions in a truck race at Daytona.
With only 10 trucks on the track to finish the race, Austin Hill took the white fag and won his first ever race. This was the fewest number of trucks to ever finish a race on the track.
The results for the NextEra Energy Resources 250:
Austin Wayne Self