CLICK: Full race results and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.
Brad Keselowski Racing's Ryan Blaney took his third career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and his first of 2014 after clinching the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but there was just a half of a tenth of a second in it between Blaney and his nearest challenger German Quiroga Jr. when the pair crossed the line at the end of Sunday afternoon's race in Ontario, Canada.
"It was just great racing," said Blaney's team boss Brad Keselowski. "Ryan and German put on an awesome show and a clinic of what racing should by. I'm just really proud of Ryan to get back on his feet there and get a win.
"I wouldn't have thought his first win of the year would have come on a road course, but that makes it even more exciting," he added. "They certainly have some momentum back to make a run for this championship and they're poised to strike."
Aiming for a uniquely ambitious one-stop strategy, Blaney managed to lead for a race-high 34 laps which was just over half the 64-lap race distance, but came under sustained pressure from Quiroga over the final eight laps of the race following a restart after a full-course caution for local hero Alex Tagliani spinning out.
Tagliani had started the race from pole position, the veteran racer and road course specialist having posted a track record qualifying time of 80.558s (109.889mph) in Saturday's qualifying session at the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road circuit. That put him almost half a second faster than rookie driver Gray Gaulding and the rest of the field for what was the Canadian's Truck Series début.
Tagliani went on to lead for the first seven laps but then opted for an early pit stop strategy that handed the lead to Gaulding. A lugnut issue meant a slow stop for the #19 and Tagliani was never able to get back into the lead again; Andrew Ranger briefly took point when Gaulding pitted on lap 13 and then stalled when trying to exit his pit stall, allowing Ranger to lead for four laps before his own visit to pit lane. That put Blaney into the lead for the first time on lap 17, still to make his first stop.
Blaney and second-place man Johnny Sauter enjoyed the clear track conditions ahead of them while Quiroga emerged from the early pit stops in third place some ten seconds back. In pursuit of a one-stop strategy, Blaney stretched his first stint to lap 30 before pitting and duly turning over the lead to Quiroga, Sauter having only made it to lap 25 in the meantime before needing to refuel.
Quiroga was only able to lead for three laps before being shouldered aside by the faster Cole Custer, but Custer soon had to pit on lap 35 at which point a tyre got away from the Haas Racing Development pit crew and earned the #00 a drive-thru penalty that thwarted his race strategy. Quiroga meanwhile reclaimed the lead for another five laps in Custer's absence, pulling out a two second lead over Erik Jones before his own final pit stop of the day which came on lap 40.
This second round of stops for the other trucks put Sauter and Blaney back at the head of the field. Sauter had a three second advantage over Blaney but needed another late pit stop of his own, which he finally took on lap 44. That put Blaney out in front again, but the lack of any cautions so far in the race hinted that he might yet be forced to make a late splash-and-dash that could still hand the race to Quiroga who was currently six seconds back.
Blaney's fuel situation eased when an electrical issue for John Hunter Nemechek caused the #8 to stall in turn 1, bringing out the first caution of the day. A second caution five laps later for Tagliani spinning out in turn 5 confirmed that Blaney was now good to the finish, obliging Quiroga to throw everything he had into overtaking Blaney on track in the eight laps that remained at the green flag, but he finally came up short by 0.049s at the line.
Erik Jones took third place for Kyle Busch Motorsports ahead of Gaulding, Andrew Ranger, Matt Crafton and Brennan Newberry. Sauter ended up crossing the line in eighth place which meant that he continues to holds the lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, the margin now reduced to seven points over his ThorSport Racing team mate Matt Crafton with Blaney continuing to hold third place a further six points back.
Ron Hornaday Jr. had been in fourth place in the standings before this weekend but drops to sixth after being absent from Mosport as a result of a legal dispute between the co-owners of his race team, Turner Scott Motorsport. While Harry Scott was able to find sufficient funds to run trucks for Ben Kennedy and Cameron Hayley this weekend, Hornaday was left without funding from Steve Turner and hence was forced to sit out Canadian road race.
The Truck Series takes next weekend off before returning to action at Chicagoland Speedway for the Lucas Oil 225 on Friday, September 12.
Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.