2021 Ncwts Pocono John Hunter Nemechek Vl Celebration Dave Moulthrop Photo
John Hunter Nemechek celebrates a win at Pocono Raceway. (Dave Moulthrop photo)

Nemechek Bests Busch For Pocono Truck Series Win

LONG POND, Pa. – With a perfect late-race restart Saturday at Pocono Raceway, John Hunter Nemechek outdueled his boss Kyle Busch for the third time this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

After using the choose rule to advance to the front row for the final green flag, Nemechek used a push from polesitter Todd Gilliland to wrest the lead from Busch exiting turn one with seven laps left in the CRC Brakleen 150.

Nemechek then fended off Busch’s efforts from there and drove away after Busch and Creed made contact while racing for second inside of four to go. He took the checkers in front by 1.337 seconds.

RESULTS: Truck Series CRC Brakleen 150

It marked Nemechek’s fifth Truck Series win of 2021 and the 11th of his career.

“This just means a lot,” said Nemechek in victory lane. “This whole group works so hard. They never gave up. We weren’t very good in the first stage; we were off. We only planned on one stop … but ended up with more, and it ultimately got us a win at the end of the day.

“Just super pumped, and going three-for-five against Kyle is pretty good,” Nemechek added. “The 38 (Todd Gilliland) gave me a great push and we had an excellent restart. I cleared myself there; (spotter Tony) Hirschman was saying “still there, still there” through the middle of turns one and two and I thought I was clear in my mirror. Slid up, took the air away from Kyle and after that, we set sail.

“The fastest truck definitely won today.”

Busch pitted just before the end of stage two Saturday to gain track position, and the move appeared to work out for the all-time Truck Series wins leader, as he cycled to the point during the second stage break and led with ease following a restart with 25 to go.

Creed dogged Busch for the top spot during much of the second half of the race, the only driver who could stay with the familiar No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra.

But as the laps wound down, Busch began pulling away by nearly two seconds, and the prospect of his record-extending 62nd win in Truck Series competition appeared imminent.

A turn-one crash involving Stewart Friesen, however, changed the narrative with 10 laps left.

It bunched up the field and set up a game-changing restart, as well as a choose period that ultimately helped Nemechek gain the upper hand.

#4: John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota Tundra Power Up Premium Trail Mix and #51: Kyle Busch, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Toyota Tundra Cessna
John Hunter Nemechek (4) races Kyle Busch Saturday at Pocono Raceway. (Toyota Racing photo)

While Busch and Creed both elected the outside lane, Nemechek went low to jump from third to second and give himself a shot at clean air when racing resumed for the final time.

He didn’t squander it, clearing Busch at the exit of the first turn after the restart and never looking back.

After Creed looked under Busch for the runner-up spot with four to go and the two got together, it broke their momentum and allowed Nemechek to escape to a lead of more than two seconds.

Though Busch tried to trim that margin over the final eight miles of racing, it was just too much to overcome.

“Our Cessna Tundra was pretty good. We were up there leading, and then the caution came out and just bunched us all up together,” Busch noted. “We got a decent restart – not a great restart – and when we were all even going into (turn) one, John Hunter just slid me and got the lead.

“I was trying to figure out what I could do to fight him and get the lead back, but then just got drilled in the left rear,” he added. “That basically handed the win to the 4 and we were fighting for second from there on out.”

Creed crossed the line third ahead of his GMS Racing teammate, Tyler Ankrum, with Austin Hill finishing fifth and locking himself into the Truck Series playoffs as a result.

Three-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton was sixth, followed by Gilliland, Zane Smith, Ryan Preece and Derek Kraus.

Past Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter was involved in a two-truck crash on the initial start of Saturday’s race after rookie Jack Wood missed a shift coming to the green flag.

While Sauter was able to continue, he ended up 35th, five laps down at the finish with a wounded truck.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season continues July 9 at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway with the running of the Corn Belt 150. It will be the series’ inaugural trip to the half-mile, black-dirt oval.