John Hunter Nemechek wins Las Vegas Truck race
Last November, John Hunter Nemechek said the goal of returning to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Kyle Busch Motorsports was to win races.
He’s got the first one out of the way.
After his new boss pushed him to the lead on the final restart with six laps to go, Nemechek held off Busch in the closing laps to win Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“He was faster than me in Stage 2, so I really didn’t know,” Nemechek told FS1. “It was all about using our truck to the best we could possibly do - wrapping the bottom, taking the dirty air away. He had to run up and it created more lap time for him.”
Busch had fallen a lap down after suffering a flat tire and spinning to bring out a caution on Lap 90. But just a few laps later, another caution on Lap 98 for a multi-truck crash gave him the free pass to return to the lead lap.
Two more yellows helped enable him to climb from 25th back into contention for the win.
“We just didn’t have the laps there in the end, and my stuff was burnt up by the time I got there,” said Busch, who was nonetheless happy to see Nemechek in Victory Lane.
“It’s just cool to have a guy that is motivated and has the leadership,” he said of Nemechek. “I mean, all the (KBM) kids are motivated. They all want to run good and they all want to win. But John Hunter’s been there and done that.
“He’s won in Xfinity and he’s run Cup and he’s won with his own team with his Dad (Joe Nemechek) in the Truck Series, so it’s cool to have somebody that can showcase our trucks, our speed, up front, each and every week.”
Austin Hill, Stewart Friesen, and Matt Crafton completed the top five finishers.
STAGE 1 WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek
STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Hill has now recorded four consecutive top-three finishes at Las Vegas, which include wins in the last two September races there. ... Zane Smith recovered to finish sixth after pitting under green early in Stage 2 following contact with another competitor and subsequently drawing a speeding penalty on pit road ... Grant Enfinger, driving the No. 9 entry usually run by Codie Rohrbaugh, finished seventh ahead of eighth-place Parker Kligerman. Both were among the near-dozen drivers with Camping World sponsorship in tonight’s race after company chairman/CEO Marcus Lemonis offered earlier this week to sponsor any truck that needed it.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: IndyCar veteran Conor Daly, driving the No. 44 Niece Motorsports entry, saw his night end in a crash on Lap 69. Daly told FS1 he lost the air off his truck while racing with another competitor before going into the Turn 1 wall at a hard angle. He climbed out of the car under his own power and was later checked and released from the infield care center.
NOTABLE: Nemechek claimed his first Truck Series win since March 2018 at Martinsville Speedway.
NEXT: The Truck Series returns Saturday, March 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1). Enfinger won there last June.