Rajah Caruth Overcomes Pit Road Penalties for Bristol Top-10

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

BRISTOL, Tenn – Despite two pit road penalties in the WEATHER GUARD Truck Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Rajah Caruth rebounded to score a top-10 finish.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner from Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) had to climb out of a hole not once but twice in the 250-lap race at ‘The Last Great Colosseum.’ At the end of Stage 1 an improper driver assist from his Spire Motorsports pit crew sent him to the tail end of the field. Pitting outside of the box after the second Stage erased any gains that Caruth had made, dropping him back once again.

The No. 71 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Silverado ripped around the top of Bristol. Caruth opted to run where others were not and quickly climbed back into the top-10 before the final caution waved with 31 laps to go. In the 24 lap green flag run to the finish Caruth worked his way by rookie Layne Riggs as well as veteran Grant Enfinger to take the checkered flag in eighth.

“I don’t know what it was, but it was so much fun running the top,” Caruth explained. “You burn your stuff up doing it, but that was that was a lot of fun. Definitely a lot better product than last year for sure. I hope for the fans it was okay.

“I feel like I was the only guy running the top in the second part of the race, the second Stage. We got our brakes really hot, and I didn’t adjust well for getting the box. So, I slid in the last one and just kind of a tough day and I honestly think about back to practice.” 

While the top-10 finish continued a streak of finishing inside the top-10 in all Truck races this season for the Washington, D.C. native, it left him annoyed. On the one hand it showed the strength that Caruth and Spire have and that they’re moving in the right direction. On the other hand, it shows that there are still small mistakes that they need to work on.

“We had a tough night, but for eighth to be annoying is pretty, pretty strong, I think,” Caruth said. “We’ll just keep digging. I’m super proud of my team. It’s really indicative of the strength and everybody pulling up in the right direction at Spire so. We’ll just readjust be better for here in the fall and go to road racing next week for our cars.” 

The win at LVMS gives Caruth some leeway as he’s locked into the Truck Series playoffs. However, he didn’t finish inside the top-10 in either of the two stages and failed to earn any Stage points. The Caribbean-American lost ground to several drivers in the points standings that did earn Stage points including Tyler Ankrum, Taylor Gray, and Corey Heim.

“I mean (the win) definitely (helps since) we didn’t get any stage points tonight,” Caruth said. “That’s kind of annoying. I know Gray and Heim did, guys were racing the points did a great job tonight. It definitely helps me being locked in. Just got to work on being a little better.”

Not only was the eighth-place finish Caruth’s fourth top-10 finish of the 2024 season, but it was also the eighth of this Truck Series career. Just four races into 2024 the 21-year-old has doubled his career top-10 total.

The top-10 finish moved Caruth up from fourth to third in the points standings. He is 22-points behind leader Ankrum.

Next for Caruth is the XPEL 225 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). He has one start at the Austin, TX track, finishing 13th last year. In two career road course starts in the Truck Series, Caruth has an average finish of 21st.

The XPEL 225 at COTA is scheduled for Saturday, March 23 at 1:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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