ROCKINGHAM — Justin Ball rode his rig to the winner’s circle for the second consecutive year Saturday at Rockingham Speedway.
Ball, a driver in the FASS Big Rig Series, earned his first win at the legendary track during the Trucks Gone Wild East Coast Truck Jeep and Offroad Festival in October 2021 — becoming the first to take the checkered flag on the oval since 2013.
The Ohio native who now lives in Oklahoma was excited about his second win at the Rock.
“Man, it’s awesome,” he said. “We’ve been looking forward to this track all year. Last year we were looking forward to coming out for our first time.
“We came out and won it last year, so it was awesome to be able to come back and do it again,” Ball continued. “Two in a row is pretty cool.”
The FASS date for Rockingham was first announced in February and the CRS Super Truck Series race was later added to the bill.
The two series alternated with two 15-set laps around the 1.016-mile track.
Ball’s win wasn’t in the bag, as he had a little tire trouble.
“Coming out of (Turn) 4, I had that tire delaminate right as we were coming up to take the checkered,” he said. “Lost pretty much everything but the core of the tire, but it was enough to roll us on through.
“… I wasn’t really sure how it was gonna go down, “ he continued. “…after the truck feeling so good in the first one, we were just gonna try and do the same thing again from the back keep on trucking.”
Ball was “doing decent” in series points earlier in the season, but an engine malfunction at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina put him behind.
Rockingham has become the last race of the season for the FASS series the past two years.
“Rockingham, to us, is like the pinnacle of our race season now because it’s the biggest, fastest track we get to go on,” Ball said. Most of the other tracks are three-eighths, half-mile or three-eighths in length.
“It’s just awesome to be able to come out here, stretch the trucks’ legs out a little bit and go,” Ball said, adding that the trucks are geared out at over 100 mph.
Last year, the trucks averaged around 115 mph.
“They’re cookin’ out here,” Ball said.
Ball’s wife wasn’t able to make it to the race this year due to a recent surgery, but his oldest daughter Lilly was there to see him win.
“It’s nice to be able to bring her out here to this track again and see the truck sitting here.”
(Note: The RO will have more photos from the race later this week.)