Two late-race wreck up front in the Great Clips 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday put John Hunter Nemechek up front and in position to claim his second-career win. Nemechek held the lead and claimed that win in his first Truck Series race at Atlanta. With the victory he became the youngest winner in Truck Series racing at the track, claiming the win at the age of 18. As a matter-of-fact, he wasn’t old enough to compete in the race a year ago.
“We put in a lot of hard work with just a little funding,” Nemechek said. “And we’ve come out and contended for wins.”
Cameron Hayley finished second, Timothy Peters was third, Daniel Hemric fourth, and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five. Finishing sixth through 10th were Ben Rhodes, John Wes Townley, Parker Kligerman, Caleb Holman and Spencer Gallagher.
Matt Crafton and Christopher Bell combined to lead most of the 130-lap race, with Crafton leading a race-high 76 laps and Bell running up front for 42 laps, but each was caught up in separate late-race wrecks, each while leading the race.
After three minor cautions, two for the expiration of the new 20-minute caution clock and another for a blown engine, the race was marred by two late-race wrecks. As Crafton and Daniel Suarez battled for the lead, Bell made contact with Suarez, resulting in Suarez making contact with Crafton. Bell was able to continue with minimal damage, while significant damage took Crafton and Suarez out of the race.
“We were so fast, Crafton said. “We definitely felt like we had a truck to win this race.”
After a six-and-a-half-minute red flag for track clean-up, Bell inherited the lead. But with seven laps remaining, a tire issue sent Bell hard into the wall while he was running up front. Townley was up front for the restart, but a poor restart shuffled him back as the race field scattered to miss him. By the time the field took the white flag, Nemechek was up front.