FORT WORTH, Texas – John Hunter Nemechek cruised to his fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of the season Saturday afternoon during the SpeedyCash.com 220 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Nemechek and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, making his first Truck Series start of the season driving for GMS Racing, were the class of the field throughout the 147-lap event.
Elliott was the leader at the start of the final stage, with Nemechek briefly battling another Cup Series regular, Ross Chastain, for second. Nemechek would be the victor in that battle as he set off in pursuit of Elliott.
The final round of pit stops began with approximately 40 laps left and Elliott blinked first, making his stop with 38 laps left. Nemechek, rather than hit the pits shortly thereafter, opted to instead stay out.
The order from Nemechek’s crew chief was to stay on track and turn as many fast laps as he could. The goal was for Nemechek to build enough of a gap to leapfrog Elliott when Nemechek made his final his pit stop.
Ten laps after Elliott made his final stop, Nemechek did the same. Once he completed his stop, Nemechek cycled out in front of Elliott by more than a second. Nemechek eventually cycled back into the race lead with 21 laps left when Zane Smith made his final stop.
The race ran clean to the finish from there, with Nemechek crossing the finish line 3.3 seconds clear of Elliott to earn his fourth victory of the season in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
“I felt like we had something for Chase there in the second stage or third stage, just dirty air and had to wait,” Nemechek said. “Track position rolled out really good on our green flag stop. I feel like we aced it. Then we kind of drove away from there. Super proud of all my guys, everyone at KBM, everyone that makes this possible.”
Elliott led 45 laps, but felt Nemechek got better once he moved up into the traction compound further up in the turns. That, combined with the pit stop strategy, gave Nemechek the winning hand Saturday afternoon.
“John Hunter got better I think when we moved up into the VHT (traction compound) and he did a good job making time after we pitted and getting on and off of pit road. So congrats to him,” Elliott said.
Chastain finished a distant third, though he was disqualified in post-race inspection when it was determined his Niece Motorsports team violated Section 188.8.131.52.a in the NASCAR Rule Book, which states: “The throttle body must be used as supplied by the NT1 engine supplier without modification.”
As a result, Grant Enfinger was elevated to third-place, followed by Austin Hill and Chandler Smith.