Special to the Standard
In a 150 lap race in which half of the starting field failed to see the checkered flag, Uxbridge driver Jason Hathaway survived the mayhem to record an 11th place result in just his second career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the race held November 10th on the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval.
The first two stages (40 laps each) of the Lucas Oil 150 were slowed by only one incident-related caution period, the long green flag runs hampering Hathaways’s progress and leaving the driver of the Premium Motorsports-prepared Kubota/ Choko Motorsports/ Fast Eddie Racewear Silverado running three laps behind the race leaders. Eventually making time to tighten up a ‘loose’ race truck during pit stops, the No. 15 Chevy began a climb through the field.
Following the relatively calm opening half of the race, action quickly picked up in the third and final, 70 lap stage, with a trio of red flag stoppages required to clean up the racing surface after several multi-car crashes.
With 20 laps remaining, the initial red flag was displayed to retrieve the mangled cars of championship contenders Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton, with Hathaway then running in the 18th spot. As the race’s frontrunners continued to knock themselves from contention, Hathaway steadily improved his position, and endured one final restart in a Green/White/ Checkered dash to the stripe to record a result just outside of the top ten.
“First of all, I can’t believe that I had the chance to run a truck at Phoenix Raceway. And never did I think I would have finished P11 in my first oval race. Having an opportunity to run at this fun oval was a dream come true. The NASCAR Camping World Series is so much fun and the competitors are great to race with,” said Hathaway, post-race.
Fellow Canadian driver, NCWTS regular Stewart Friesen, (No. 52 Halmar Chevrolet) somehow squirted through a five-wide, back straight scramble on lap 134, surviving by mere inches the spectacular melee that eliminated Ryan Truex, Jesse Little and Dalton Sargeant. When the checkered flag finally flew to mercifully conclude the mechanical slaughter, Friesen was shown crossing the line in a well-deserved sixth place.
The Canada and Premium Motorsports connection then carried over into Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup feature race, as St. Thomas’s DJ Kennington returned to stock car racing’s premium division at the controls of the No. 15 Northern Provincial Pipelines Chevrolet, gaining 11 spots from his qualifying position to notch a 26th place result in the Can Am 500.