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NASCAR Truck: John Hunter Nemechek wins at Gateway

John Hunter Nemechek celebrates in victory lane at Gateway Motorsports Park after winning the Drivin' for Linemen 200 on June 17, 2017 (photo courtesyvof Getty Images for NASCAR).

John Hunter Nemechek celebrates in victory lane at Gateway Motorsports Park after winning the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 on June 17, 2017 (photo courtesyvof Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

John Hunter Nemechek claimed his first win of the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday night in the Drivin’ for Linement 200. He started on the front row alongside pole sitter Chase Briscoe, took the lead on lap one and led the entire 35-lap stage one to take a stage win, and led a total of 46 laps in the 160-lap race.
“I felt like we had the truck to beat if we had track position,” Nemechek said. “Track position was everything. Clean air was everything.”
After taking two tires during a late-race green-flag cycle of stops, Nemechek was fourth in the running order as Matt Crafton took the lead by taking fuel only. Nemechek got by Crafton to take the lead with six laps remaining. Crafton fell back to fourth by the checkered flag.
Nemechek’s win marked the first win from someone outside the Kyle Busch Motorsports and GMS Racing organizations in the first eight races of the season. Nemechek’s NEMCO Motorsports team operates on a shoestring budget, and as a result, his father and truck owner, Joe Nemechek, doesn’t know if the team will complete the 2017 season.
“It’s taken everything that I have to get here,” the elder Nemechek said. “Our future in this deal is not certain. Hopefully, this can spark some interest in sponsorship.”
Briscoe pitted while everyone else stayed out during the final caution of the race on lap 148, and as a result, he restarted 13th but was on newer tires. With the new tires, he was quickly able to get up through the field and took second after contact with Christopher Bell on the final lap.
After the contact Bell slipped back to sixth. Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger finished third through fifth.
Crafton was the race leader after a fuel-only stop under green with just under 30 laps remaining. Briscoe led before the late-race cycle of stops and took fuel only with he pitted with 26 laps to go, but a slight hiccup on pit road caused him to give up the lead to Crafton. Meanwhile, Nemechek was third after taking two tires during his green-flag pit stop.
Nemechek took his final lead from Crafton with six laps remaining.
“Those guys just took two tires, and I was on no tires, and we had a lot of laps on them right-side tires, and we were just done,” Crafton said. “You win some; you lose some, and everybody is upset, but at the same time ,they knew we were here tonight.”
After Nemechek led every lap of the opening stage, pole sitter Briscoe took only two tires between the first two stages of the race and was up front for the restart at the beginning of stage two. From there, he led the remainder of the second stage.
At the and of stage two, Briscoe was fourth out of the pits, while Bell took the lead with a two-tire stop. Briscoe got up to second on the restart and then took the lead on lap 81. By the checkered flag, Briscoe had led 88 laps, just over half the race.
The yellow flag wad displayed sparingly throughout the 160-lap race. Aside from two cautions that separated the race into three stage, the yellow waved only one other time when Josh Reaume slowed on the track on lap 148.
Other top-10 finishers included Ryan Truex in seventh, Ben Rhodes in eighth, Noah Gragson ninth, and Justin Haley in 10th.
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on June 18, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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