Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted the sixth race of the Summer 2019 Season for the Bolt Action Truck Series on Tuesday, with Daniel Eberhardt nabbing the pole. Eberhardt led the field to the green flag of the advertised 110-lap race with a lap time of 29.985. He was the only driver who posted a qualifying lap time faster than thirty seconds.
Points leader John Furnas was a no-show for the race, which made for a considerable shift in the standings. Furnas’ absence allowed for drivers such as Jeff Hollingsworth and Galen Gidman to reassert themselves as contenders for the championship. Showing up is half the battle, as they say.
The 19 truck of Eric Stanford started on the outside of Eberhardt, followed by Brycen Fitzgerald, and Jeff Hollingsworth. This week the 12 truck was piloted by David Washington instead of Dylan Jones. The 12 rolled off in the fifth position.
Trouble came early with a wreck on lap 1 when the 19 of Eric Stanford and the 5 of Logan McGlothlin got out of shape in the second dogleg portion of the fronstretch, in a net code situation. The 99 of Eli Greene unfortunately got a piece of that skirmish and spun. Greene did not make contact with the wall, however. Ron Hollifield did an admirable job of navigating his 11 truck through the melee.
The field would restart on lap 6 with Galen Gidman (94) in the lead. The 90 of Eberhardt, who struggled on most of the restarts throughout the race, fell from P2 to P5, behind Fitzgerald, Washington, and Hollingsworth. By lap 8, the battle for P2 between Washington and Fitzgerald heated up even more, with Hollingsworth, Eberhardt, and Faryniarz joining the fray. These drivers performed masterfully in such close quarters and showed an impressive level of control and trust with one another.
By lap 15, the 90 of Eberhardt had recovered and had his sights set on Gidman to retake the lead. Eberhardt was working the outside line with much ease, and then Gidman moved up to take his line away. With Gidman and Eberhardt working the top line, the 88 of Farynairz utilized the low line, as he would throughout the race. Washington and Fitzgerald followed, working the bottom and top lines, respectively.
Eberhardt retook the lead by just a few feet on lap 20, barely leading the lap at the line, and brought Faryniarz in tow. Then, the 94 took the lead right back. These oscillations in positions by these drivers were a thing of beauty, but were interrupted temporarily by the race’s second caution when the 99 of Eli Greene spun on the frontstretch on the following lap.
Gidman remained the leader after pit stops, and on lap 27 took the green flag once again. Déjà vu struck with Eberhardt falling back again on the restart, allowing Washington to take second place and Fitzgerald to take third. Eberhardt and Faryniarz battled for fourth.
On lap 35, Eberhardt got loose in turn one after slight netcode contact with Gidman, but he but saved it, falling back to P8 in the process.
Then, on lap 39, the 99 of Greene again ran into trouble when he drifted up into the 5 of Logan McGlothlin, causing him to spin. Greene was parked for the evening for having caused two cautions.
The lap 44 restart had Washington at the point, followed by Faryniarz, Gidman, Fitzgerald, and Hollingsworth. The ensuing laps had Washington and Gidman battling side-by-side for the lead and also had Faryniarz and Fitzgerald in the mix. On lap 52, Gidman retook the lead from Washington, just in time for Gidman to lead at lap 55 to claim an extra point for leading at halfway. One lap later, the 5 of McGlothlin had an impressive save and the 24 of Derek Casper did an impressive job of avoiding.
Another lead change occurred on lap 61 when Eberhardt passed Gidman. The very next lap Hollingsworth saved his truck from doom by using the apron to regain control of his sliding machine. Gidman had begun to fall back a bit after being passed by Eberhardt, and it was not long until Faryniarz got by him as well just as Gidman brushed the wall. The 88 maintained his charge to the front and got by the 90 on lap 65.
On lap 71, the 54 of Fitzgerald took third place from Gidman. On the same lap, McGlothlin lost control of his 5 truck and nosed it into the wall, blowing the engine.
The subsequent restart had the 90 of Eberhardt leading yet again, and he and Faryniarz battled for the lead. This battle would be interrupted when Hollingsworth pushed underneath Gidman and caused him to spin and careen into the outside wall. This severely crippled the 94 truck, and Hollingsworth was given an end of line penalty for causing that caution.
While the 90 of Eberhardt and the 88 of Faryniarz appeared to be the cream that rose to the top, the 54 of Fitzgerald consistently showed muscle throughout the race. One example of this was him besting Faryniarz on pit road and coming out in second place. Fitzgerald is methodical and steady in his approach as a driver, and he also logged the fastest lap time of the race. On the lap 81 restart, Fitzgerald made a valiant push to the inside of leader Eberhardt, but the higher line proved to be beneficial to the 90.
On lap 88, the gains that the 12 of Washington had made were negated when he smacked the wall in turn four, severely damaging his truck and immediately ducking onto pit road.
The race eventually came down to the 90 of Eberhardt and the 88 of Faryniarz battling to the very end. At one point (on lap 98), the two went three wide with the lapped truck of Ron Hollifield while battling for the top spot. By lap 105, the two were side-by-side for the the lead and remained so until lap 108.
The 90 took the white flag but then got loose in turn two, which allowed the 88 to take a look on the inside and keep the pressure on all the way to the finish line. The 90 was able to edge out the 88 at the line, however, winning with a 0.026 second margin. Eberhardt also led the most laps of the race with 42.
Congratulations to Daniel Eberhardt!
Winner: Daniel Eberhardt
P2: Andrew Faryniarz
P3: Jeff Hollingsworth
P4: Brycen Fitzgerald
P5: Derek Casper