John Hunter Nemechek tops Chase Elliott to win Texas Truck race
Clever pit strategy helped John Hunter Nemechek beat reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott in Saturday’s Truck race at Texas.
Elliott, making his first start in the series of the year, led the way before a final round of green-flag pit stops. However, Nemechek’s No. 4 Toyota was faster than Elliott’s and his team had him wait several more laps than Elliott before making his final stop.
When Nemechek finally completed his stop, he re-emerged the leader with nearly a 2-second lead over Elliott. Elliott could never close the gap and Nemechek grabbed the win at Texas Motor Speedway by 3.3 seconds.
The win is Nemechek’s fourth this season and fifth of his career.
“I feel like we’ve been making a statement all year. I feel like we’re one of the favorites every time we show up to the race track,” Nemechek said.
“I can’t say enough everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. I’m just lucky enough to be behind the wheel. They gave me win No. 4 here.”
Elliott ended up second, Ross Chastain finished third, Grant Enfinger fourth and Austin Hill rounded out the top-five.
“I appreciate GMS allowing me to come drive their truck. It was really solid,” Elliott said. “John Hunter got better when he moved up into the (traction compound) and making time after we pit and getting on and off pit road.”
Completing the top-10 was Chandler Smith, Zane Smith, Todd Gilliland, Tyler Ankrum and Tanner Gray.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, most of the lead-lap trucks pit but Chastain stayed out and inherited the lead.
On the restart on Lap 78, Chastain was followed by Elliott, Chandler Smith, Nemechek and Enfinger. Elliott, with a push from Nemechek, quickly powered to the lead after the restart.
With 50 laps remaining, Elliott held about a 1-second lead over Chastain with Nemechek in third.
With 38 laps to go, several of the lead-lap trucks began a final round of green-flag pit stops to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the race.
Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 126, Nemechek returned to the lead with a 1.7-second advantage over Elliott. Chastain ran third, 5.6 seconds behind the leader.
Elliott was never able to challenge Nemechek for the lead the rest of the way.
Zane Smith claimed the Stage 2 win under caution for an incident involving Drew Dollar with one lap remaining in the stage.
Gray was second, Derek Kraus third, Brennan Poole fourth and Chastain rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, most lead-lap trucks pit but a handful stayed out including Gilliland who became the new leader.
On the restart on Lap 41, Gilliland was followed by Elliott and Zane Smith. Nemechek, who pit, lined up 10th.
Elliott got around Gilliland on Lap 45 to take the lead for the first time in the race.
On Lap 52, Stewart Friesen got spun by Carson Hocevar and wrecked at the end of the backstretch to bring out a caution.
The race returned to Lap 59 with Elliott out front followed by Gray and Zane Smith.
A caution was displayed on Lap 61 when Jennifer Jo Cobb’s truck stalled on pit road. Several trucks elected to pit, including Elliott, Gilliland and Nemechek.
When the race returned to green on Lap 66, Gray led the way followed by Zane Smith and Kraus. Elliott, the first off pit road among those who pit, lined up 10th.
Zane Smith powered to the lead quickly after the restart.
With one lap to go in the stage, Dollar spun and wrecked hard between Turns 1 and 2 to bring out a caution.
Nemechek claimed the Stage 1 win under caution caused by the stalled truck of Ray Ciccarelli.
Austin Hill was second, Ben Rhodes third, Chandler Smith fourth and Friesen rounded out the top-five.
Nemechek started on the pole but Rhodes led the first lap. Nemechek reclaimed the top spot on Lap 2.
On Lap 7, Sheldon Creed spun off Turn 2 and wrecked to bring out a caution. On the restart on Lap 13, Rhodes as named the leader as Nemechek did not maintain reasonable speed under caution. Austin Hill restarted third.
On Lap 21, Creed again spun off Turn 2 to bring out another caution. A handful of lead-lap trucks elected to pit, including Elliott, Zane Smith and Dollar.
The race returned to green on Lap 30 with Nemechek still in command.
Ciccarelli stalled off Turn 2 on Lap 33 to bring out another caution, which ended the stage.
|1||4||John Hunter Nemechek||Toyota||147||1:55'16.578||64|
|14||19||Derek Kraus||Toyota||146||1:55'24.609||1 Lap||1 Lap|
|15||30||Brennan Poole||Toyota||146||1:55'27.846||1 Lap||3.237|
|16||22||Austin Wayne Self||Chevrolet||146||1:55'37.611||1 Lap||9.765|
|17||40||Ryan Truex||Chevrolet||146||1:55'46.518||1 Lap||8.907|
|18||23||Chase Purdy||Chevrolet||145||1:55'23.212||2 Laps||1 Lap|
|19||04||Cory Roper||Ford||145||1:55'38.481||2 Laps||15.269|
|20||56||Tyler Hill||Chevrolet||145||1:55'39.129||2 Laps||0.648|
|21||88||Matt Crafton||Ford||144||1:55'23.636||3 Laps||1 Lap|
|22||41||Dawson Cram||Chevrolet||144||1:55'31.290||3 Laps||7.654|
|23||02||Kris Wright||Chevrolet||144||1:55'46.451||3 Laps||15.161|
|24||3||Howie Disavino||Chevrolet||143||1:55'18.123||4 Laps||1 Lap|
|25||1||Hailie Deegan||Ford||142||1:55'47.433||5 Laps||1 Lap|
|26||12||Tate Fogleman||Chevrolet||142||1:55'48.736||5 Laps||1.303|
|27||99||Ben Rhodes||Ford||141||1:55'17.375||6 Laps||1 Lap||6|
|28||20||Spencer Boyd||Chevrolet||141||1:55'33.855||6 Laps||16.480|
|29||34||Jesse Iwuji||Toyota||141||1:55'41.344||6 Laps||7.489|
|30||33||Keith McGee||Toyota||140||1:55'20.312||7 Laps||1 Lap|
|31||6||Norm Benning||Chevrolet||134||1:55'42.025||13 Laps||6 Laps|
|32||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevrolet||131||1:55'32.747||16 Laps||3 Laps|
|33||49||Ray Ciccarelli||Toyota||89||1:25'22.525||58 Laps||42 Laps|
|34||51||Dollar Drew||Toyota||68||1:05'38.165||79 Laps||21 Laps|
|35||52||Stewart Friesen||Toyota||52||48'12.644||95 Laps||16 Laps|
|36||2||Sheldon Creed||Chevrolet||18||15'37.515||129 Laps||34 Laps|
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