Despite a final stage littered with six cautions, John Hunter Nemechek held off team owner and teammate Kyle Busch, to score his first victory under the Kyle Busch Motorsports banner.
Nemechek started third and led 94 laps of the scheduled 134 to score the seventh Truck Series victory of his career at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“Coming back to the Truck Series, that was the plan, that was the goal. We came into the year with the hashtag ‘here for wins’ and we are here for wins,” said Nemechek. “I definitely think experience paid off tonight.”
Stages 30/30/74 made up the 134-lap race distance. Only one truck went to the rear, the No. 02 of Kris Wright, due to unapproved adjustments.
Stage 1: Lap 1 – Lap 30
The first yellow of the night didn’t take long to fly. In fact, the yellow came out on Lap 1 for the No. 04 of Cory Roper, who spun in Turns 3 and 4 to slow the field.
From there, the rest of the stage was caution-free, but there would be some noticeable incidents. On Lap 9, the No. 42 of Carson Hocevar came to pit road as Hocevar suffered a flat tire. Thirteen laps later, the No. 19 of Derek Kraus was on pit road after losing power.
Despite these incidents, Nemechek dominated the first stage and took the stage victory. Sheldon Creed, Matt Crafton, Kyle Busch, Stewart Friesen, Christian Eckes, David Gilliland, Ben Rhodes, Chandler Smith and Grant Enfinger completed the Top 10.
Stage 2: Lap 36 – Lap 60
Shortly after the restart for Stage 2, Busch reported that he had no oil pressure in his No. 51 Toyota Tundra. However, the Las Vegas native kept plugging along and passing trucks for position. Meanwhile, Zane Smith in the No. 21 was on pit road for a flat tire and then penalized for too fast on pit road.
At Lap 48, Busch took the lead away from Nemechek and went on to win the second stage. Nemechek, Friesen, Crafton, Rhodes, Hill, Enfinger, Gilliland, Eckes and Akrum were the Top 10.
Stage 3: Lap 67 – Lap 134
As the green flag flew for Stage 3, there were multiple cautions that filled the stage. A couple of them were for hard hits. The first was on Lap 70 when the No. 44 of Conor Daly hit the Turn 1 wall, ending his night early. Thankfully, the IndyCar veteran would walk out of the Niece Motorsports entry unscathed. The second caution was brought out when a big crash erupted on Lap 98 as the No. 24 of Raphael Lessard was cleared too early going into Turn 1 and was spun by the No. 17 of David Gilliland. Due to the incident, Lessard and Gilliland collided, collecting several trucks including Hailie Deegan, Ryan Truex and Bret Holmes.
The final caution of the night came out with 10 laps to go. The No. 26 of Tyler Ankrum and the No. 75 of Parker Kligerman wrecked each other on the backstretch causing another late-race restart with six laps to go.
On the restart, Busch gave Nemechek a big push going into Turn 1 which allowed the Mooresville, North Carolina native to pull out front. After the push, Nemechek checked out and won by .686 seconds over Busch for his first NASCAR victory in two years.
With Nemechek scoring the victory, Joe Nemechek and John Hunter became the first NASCAR family to score a NASCAR career win at the same track. Joe won the Busch Grand National Series (now the Xfinity Series) race back in 2003.
There were nine cautions for 48 laps and nine lead changes among five different drivers.
Official Results following the Bucked Up 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
- John Hunter Nemechek, won Stage 1, led 94 laps
- Kyle Busch, won Stage 2, led 16 laps
- Austin Hill
- Stewart Friesen, led four laps
- Matt Crafton
- Zane Smith
- Grant Enfinger
- Parker Kligerman
- Christian Eckes
- Ben Rhodes
- Brett Moffitt, led 13 laps
- Todd Gilliland
- Austin Wayne Self
- Johnny Sauter
- Danny Bohn
- Sheldon Creed
- Chandler Smith
- Tate Fogleman
- Dawson Cram
- Spencer Boyd
- Chase Purdy
- Carson Hocevar, 1 lap down
- Kris Wright, 2 laps down
- B.J. McLeod, 2 laps down
- Jordan Anderson, 2 laps down
- Hailie Deegan, 4 laps down
- Jennifer Jo Cobb, 4 laps down
- Raphael Lessard, 4 laps down
- Jesse Iwuji, 5 laps down
- Derek Kraus, 8 laps down
- Norm Benning, 11 laps down
- Tyler Ankrum, OUT, Crash
- Tyler Hill, OUT, Crash
- Cory Roper, OUT, Crash
- Bret Holmes, OUT, Damage Vehicle Policy
- Ryan Truex, OUT, Damage Vehicle Policy
- David Gilliland, OUT, Crash
- Conor Daly, OUT, Crash
Up Next: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will visit Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 20 and is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET, live on FOX Sports 1 and MRN Radio.