Tag Archives: Matt Crafton

John Hunter Nemechek gets his First Win at Chicagoland Speedway

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series had an eventful weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. John Hunter Nemechek and his whole Chevrolet team persevered, bringing home their first win in the series.

On Friday it was expected that it may rain out qualifying so the first and only practice took on an even more significance as it may end up setting the starting positions for the race. Nemechek driving the Number 8 Chevrolet was only the eleventh fastest. When rain did in fact end qualifying, he started eleventh. The race was originally scheduled to run on Friday night but the race was canceled by a torrential downpour.

When the race was finally run on Saturday morning, Nemechek hung around the top ten the entire day getting as high as fourth. It didn’t look like he would be a factor to challenge Kyle Larson or Johnny Sauter, who collectively lead 101 laps of 150, for the lead.

There was a long caution flag from lap 83 to 95 after Mason Mingus got into the wet grass, went airborne and littered the track and pit road with debris. Just before the field went to green, Gere Kennon, the Crew Chief, called Nemechek to pit road to top off with fuel. Many of the other leaders did the same except while they were racing; he was saving fuel like he was told to by his Crew Chief.

With 22 laps to go the strategy that Gere Kennon had for John Hunter Nemechek started to play out. The No. 8 was in the seventh position, then each and every driver ahead of him pulled to pit road to put in fuel until finally on the second to last lap Kyle Larson ran out of fuel. Nemechek led only the most important lap of the race, the last one, to win his first race of his career.

Yea it’s definitely an amazing feeling. I was a little bit frustrated with our Crew Chief Gere Kennon on that last stop he told me to pit. We had to fix the left side Romeo window.” Nemechek added, “I really didn’t want to go to the back because track position was key and everything but we got to top off there coming to one to go. He kept telling me to save fuel, save fuel that last run and that’s what we ended up doing. I ran out coming out of turn four so that was definitely great strategy that he had worked out in his mind I should know never to doubt him.

It is hard to believe that John Hunter Nemechek, who is 18 years, 3 months and 8 days old is not the youngest winner ever. He is the fourth youngest winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series History. Cole Custer, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott were younger when they won.

Erik Jones leads the point standings by ten points over Tyler Reddick. Matt Crafton is third one point behind Reddick. John Hunter Nemechek was the highest finishing rookie.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 312761 Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Kyle Larson will Lead the Trucks to Green at Chicagoland Speedway

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series comes to Chicagoland Speedway for what is typical for that series a one day event. The teams have one practice to get their trucks right, then qualifying and a short break before the American Ethanol E15 225 at night.

Rain was expected to come through the speedway about the time qualifying was to start. According to the NASCAR rule book if qualifying should happen to be rained out then the field would be started by first practice speeds. All of the top truck teams started the practice session by running one or more qualifying laps to be prepared for that event.

Kyle Larson laid down a lap 15/100 faster than Matt Crafton. He was the only driver to break into the 175 MPH level. Crafton’s teammate Johnny Sauter was third, Tyler Reddick fourth and Timothy Peters fifth. Eric Jones, the current series point’s leader, was eighth in practice.

As luck would have it, Mother Nature arrived a little late such that only four trucks did not take time in the first qualifying session. The fast trucks of Tyler Reddick, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Kyle Larson were not able to show what they had. That doesn’t matter the field has been set by the rule book and they will start up front.

#16 Chad Boat and # 18 Ross Chastain will miss the race due to lack of owner points although they were fast enough to have made the race if qualifying was completed.

This is Kyle Larson’s first start in the Camping World Truck Series since last year and his first start for JR Motorsports in the #00 Haas Automation Chevy.

UPDATE: The race was canceled due to rain. The American Ethanol E15 225 it will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2 on Saturday September 19th starting at 10:30 AM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 304798 NASCAR Media

Brian Vickers will Miss the Beginning of the Season, Who should be in?

It was announced by Michael Waltrip Racing that Brian Vickers had surgery to replace a patch in his heart and will miss the beginning of the 2015 NASCAR season. It is not known how many races or how deep into the season he will be out. It also has not been announced who will temporarily replace him.

It only makes sense that the boss, Michael Waltrip, drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the Daytona 500 and race at Talladega but what about after that?  Why not take a very sad story and make it into a happy one? How about rotating some new talented drivers and stars of the Xfinity Series or Camping World Truck Series. This would help those drivers and the sport in general by providing some additional exposure.

The first race after Daytona is Atlanta Motor Speedway. The reigning Camping World Truck Series Champion, Matt Crafton would be a great addition to run with the Sprint Cup regulars at the fast, tire eating, 1.5 mile speedway.

The next three races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California would be a great place to show off Daniel Suarez, a young development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing who is driving his first full season in the Xfinity Series.

The short Paper Clip track, Martinsville Speedway shares the next weekend with the Truck Series. Erik Jones driving his first full season in the Truck Series would be a great story. He has three top ten finishes in three starts in the Xfinity Series but more impressive he has four wins in 22 starts in the Truck Series. It would be great to see what he could do with those Cup guys.

That takes the team deep into the Sprint Cup Season. Other drivers to consider if Brian Vickers misses more races would be Jeb Burton who currently doesn’t have a full time ride. If he misses races into June then John Hunter Nemechek, winner of the recently run Snowball Derby, can run after his 18th birthday.

We can’t wait to have Brian Vickers back. No one wants to see a drive have to miss out racing due to injury or health issues but it would be great to see it as an opportunity to showcase up and coming talent and veterans of the other Series.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 302427 Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images

Kyle Busch Comes From Behind to Win the Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland

Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Johnny Sauter led the field to the green flag in Lucas Oil 225. He led the first 23 laps then faded the rest of the race eventually to get trapped a lap down by a speeding penalty.

Due Kyle Busch’s media responsibilities for the Chase for the Sprint Cup on Thursday Erik Jones practiced the No. 51 Dollar General Truck. In spite of the seventh place starting position due to Jones’s efforts, Busch had to start the race from the rear of the field.

Earlier in the day Kyle Busch was dominating the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race only to be beat by pit strategy. Instead of starting the race disappointed he got some help from his Crew Chief Eric Phillips.

This guy (Eric Phillips) came over and rubbed on me a little bit gave me some encouraging words.” Busch added, “It’s nice to have a support system like that around you when you have frustration times and sort of straighten your mind out right.

Kyle Busch was the class of the field in spite of starting in the rear he was up to seventh place by lap 10. When the competition caution came out on lap 30 Busch was running fourth only to get a pit road speeding penalty and have to do it all over again passing 59 trucks in the process.

Busch said, “Well early on, I was patient with it, just trying to get everyone acclimated to not being on the track at all yesterday from practice day.  Me, for sure, I was getting acclimated, too.  I knew we had a good truck.  I was just trying to pace myself there early.  I knew what I had and when I had that pit road penalty and got stuck behind then I could try to charge back through harder.  The truck was good and got back to the front there.

Matt Crafton was second followed by Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick and Jeb Burton.

Tyler Reddick in the No. 19 Harper/Ace Hardware Ford is the highest finishing rookie with his best finish to date of fourth. He will be running full time next year for Brad Keselowski Racing.

Matt Crafton took over the lead from previous point’s leader Johnny Sauter who finished fourteenth by five points.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 301549 Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

 

Johnny Sauter will Start the Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland at the Front

Johnny Sauter will lead the field to green Friday September 12th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

The Camping World Truck Series had the track to themselves on Thursday for two practices. Johnny Sauter was the fastest in the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice on Thursday. There were no practices on Friday. The only activity for the Trucks was qualifying. Unfortunately just before qualifying was to begin a steady rain came to the Chicagoland Speedway.

NASCAR set the field for the Lucas Oil 225 by the rule book. The starting lineup will be set by practice speeds during the final practice on Thursday. Johnny Sauter was the fastest at 176.540 MPH.

Since Erik Jones practiced the No. 51 Dollar General Toyota for Kyle Busch, Busch will have to start the race at the rear of the field. It is going to be exciting watching him drive through the field to the front as that truck was fast in both practices.

The rest of the top ten are Brennan Newberry, Jeb Burton, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace Jr., Kyle Busch, German Quiroga, Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters.

If you cannot get to Chicagoland Speedway for the Lucas Oil 225 it will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 starting at 8 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 300740 Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images