Saturday, June 24, 2017

Trackin’ Trucks: Two in a Row for John Hunter Nemechek

John Hunter Nemechek crosses the start/finish line at Iowa Speedway.
Credit: Jeff Curry

by Courtney Horn

John Hunter Nemechek earned his second victory in two weeks after taking advantage of a late-race caution at Iowa Speedway Friday night. The NEMCO Motorsports crew took four tires during a pit stop and it paid off tremendously.

Nemechek was the first driver on all fresh tires and when the opportunity came for him to take it three-wide, he didn’t hesitate. Nemechek soared passed Johnny Sauter, who elected not to pit on the last stop, and Chase Briscoe.

“This is unbelievable for sure.” Nemechek said, “We knew that we were gonna have a good truck this weekend running here last year. We led laps last year, qualified on the pole, just didn’t finish it out like we needed to. So we were coming back here looking for some redemption.”

"Somehow it all worked out," Nemechek said. "The last strategy call, taking four tires instead of two, there at the end, we kind of had that strategy if a caution came out towards the end we were going to come no matter what, and no matter who came, just because tires were such a big factor."

Kyle Busch Motorsports dominated Stage 1 of the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store. Pole sitter Noah Gragson lead his teammate for the first 16 laps before Christopher Bell passed him and stayed out front, holding a 3.2-second lead to take the stage win.

Bell gambled during the second stage of the night after a one-truck incident involving Mike Senica allowed the leaders to pit with eight laps to go in the stage. Johnny Sauter passed Bell shortly after the restart for his fifth stage win this season.

A multi-truck incident involving Norm Benning, Kaz Grala, and Austin Wayne Self also caused about a 15-minute red flag after Self’s B&D Industries Toyota put down oil on the track.

Sauter held on to finish second, followed by Brandon Jones, Grant Enfinger, and Bell. Enfinger was involved in the Lap 187 incident with Matt Crafton. Crafton spun and hit the wall into Turn 3 after contact with Enfinger sent the ThorSport Racing driver spinning. Crafton finished 19th following the crash.

A Look Ahead 

The Camping World Truck Series take another break in their schedule but return Thursday, July 6th at Kentucky Speedway. Ben Rhodes is still in search of his first series victory. Rhodes finished 13th at the mile-and-a-half a year ago. He sits fifth in the points standings after nine races.

Matt Crafton sits fourth in the standings, 28 points ahead of Rhodes and 95 behind leader Johnny Sauter. Crafton looks to rebound at Kentucky after a late race incident at Iowa.

Nemechek sits eight in the standings despite having back-to-back wins. He finished in the runner-up spot at Kentucky a year ago. Will he have what it takes to capitalize and win three in a row?

Find out on July 6th at 7:30 p.m ET.

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