John Hunter Nemechek won the M&MS 200 at Iowa Speedway Friday night, capturing his second straight victory.
Noah Gragson set the pole in qualifying, alongside him was Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Christopher Bell, who has won twice this season. Sixty laps each made up Stages 1 and 2, while 80 laps made up the final laps.
When Stage 1 began, Gragson led early, but it was Bell who took the lead on Lap 17 and never looked back. Bell would go on to win the first stage, which was incident free.
Stage 2 took place on lap 69; Bell and Chase Briscoe were on the front row after pit stops. While it looked like the stage would remain incident free once again, problems began on Lap 95 for Ben Rhodes, who had a vibration and had to pit from fifth place. The second caution came out on Lap 108 when Mike Senica spun off Turn 2.
This caution brought many varying pit strategies. The race leader Bell stayed out while the rest of the field pitted.
Stage 2 went back to green on Lap 113 and Johnny Sauter took the lead away from Bell three laps later. Toward the end of the stage, Kaz Grala and Cody Coughlin made contact on the backstretch to bring out another caution. Rhodes was also involved, getting a flat tire due to contact. NASCAR made the decision to end the stage under caution, to allow clean up due to extensive fluid laid down the track. Sauter ended up winning the second stage.
Stage 3 got underway with 68 laps to go. Sauter was setting the pace until Briscoe took the lead with 17 laps to go. It looked like the race was going to remain green but Matt Crafton wrecked and hit the wall hard in Turns 3 and 4, due to a bump by his teammate Grant Enfinger. Under this caution, we saw the race-winning call. Sauter stayed out, while others pitted. This also saw eventual race winner, Nemechek, take four tires and restart in the fourth position.
With seven to go for the restart, Sauter was on old tires as Briscoe made a pass for the lead and held on for one lap. Nemechek made the winning pass with six to go on the backstretch. When he took the checkered flag, there was a wreck involving Harrison Burton and Justin Haley. Both drivers were uninjured.
“That’s definitely special,” Nemechek said. “All year, we felt really good about this whole stretch, Gateway, Iowa and Kentucky. So hopefully, we can go to Kentucky and make it three in a row.”
“I can’t say enough,” Nemechek said. “Thank you to all my guys. They’re so determined. They work as many hours as needed. This is fun getting to victory lane.”
Sauter, Brandon Jones, Enfinger and Bell rounded out the top five. Current Truck Series champion Sauter is the points leader by 42 over second place Bell.
This was Nemechek’s second win of the year and his fifth career win. He led once for six laps.
There were five leaders among six lead changes, with four cautions for 34 laps.
Next Up: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes next weekend off, before heading to Kentucky Speedway Thursday, July 6.