The Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park produced yet another exciting final-lap finish for the fifth straight year.
Kaz Grala used strategy and a fast Chevrolet Silverado to put himself in position to win his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of the season.
Pole-sitter Austin Cindric was able to rebound from a pit road equipment violation and close the gap on Grala with seven laps to go.
With two laps remaining, Cindric, who had ten-lap fresher tires, caught Grala and shoved him square in the bumper in lieu of attempting a pass. That move sent the leader around and allowed Cindric to cross the line first.
“That was a dump and run,” Grala said. “To be honest, I know he’s racing for a playoff spot, and I get that, but he didn’t try to pass us – he just ran us over. Last year, you can say what you want about the finish, but they both finished one and two; they were both facing the right direction. Honestly, I don’t even think he braked for turn five. I know he’s a great road course racer and I had a lot of respect for that, but I lost some right there because I don’t race like that.”
The move surprised Grala as the pair are best friends, spending time as teammates back in their bandolero days.
“I knew he had a playoff spot on the line, but he didn’t need to lift someone’s rear tires off the ground going into five,” he added. “That’s just not a good place to do it. If you have to move a guy for the win – you gotta do what you gotta do, but you have to time it well, though, and that wasn’t proper right there.”
Cindric expressed post-race that he would have preferred to pass Grala cleanly, but knew he had to get the job done to clinch a playoff spot.
“I feel like this is what NASCAR racing is about,” Cindric said. “You have to win to make a playoff position. You can’t finish second. “Everyone made a move in the last corner. I figured I might as well change that.”
The CTMP road course has produced exciting finishes, which have been highlighted by Chase Elliott moving Ty Dillon in the inaugural event, and John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer going door-to-door last year.
The question posed following controversial incidents typically ask if NASCAR should step in or was it just hard racing?
“Personally, I know in my position I should say yes. But thankfully as a race fan myself, I don’t think so,” Grala said. “I think it’s good to have exciting racing and contact. Last year was a great finish, and people say what they want, but it was exciting even watching the replays. But at least those guys kept going in the same direction and finished one-two. If I would’ve had a move like that, I wouldn’t have been quite as disappointed with it because a one-two would’ve made sense and less dirty. But there was no need for what happened.
“I don’t think that’s NASCAR’s place, though. I think that’s driver respect. I think that’s what plays a role in it.”
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