NASCAR Truck Series Hits Las Vegas [Recap]

NASCAR Las Vegas

Although Joey Logano got the pole for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, it was Kyle Busch who went home with the checkered flag. As fans looked forward to the Sprint Cup race on Sunday, where Kevin Harvick will be on the pole, racing was not done for the day with the completion of the Nationwide race in Dover. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) played host to the Camping World Truck Series race. After a strange final qualifying session which featured a red flag being waved with 18 seconds to go because of debris on the track, and only 11 trucks posting laps, Ryan Blaney wound up with the pole.

Amid concerns about excessive tire wear, NASCAR added a competition caution scheduled for lap 30 and added a fourth set of tires for the race. Before those 30 laps were complete, the assembled fans knew that it would be an interesting race. There had been two cautions and six lead changes. After just two laps, the No. 15 truck of Mason Mingus spun out to cause the first caution.  After the four-lap caution, it took only eight more laps for the yellow flag to come out again. The No. 99 car of Bryan Silas spun out on turn four and brought  out the second.

Darrell Wallace Jr. ended the final practice with the best posted time, qualified second to start the race on the outside of the first row, and projected to have a strong race. By the end of the competition caution, he had led the most laps with 12, and made it clear he intended to make those projections come true. Wallace Jr. came into the race only 35 points behind points leader Matt Crafton in the No. 88 truck, and had his sights set on closing that gap. Last year’s champion, Timothy Peters, challenged Wallace Jr. throughout those first 36 laps, leading only one fewer laps than the leader and taking the lead twice himself.

The fourth caution of the night came in lap 55 when the No. 20 truck of Jason White hit the wall, doing enough damage to send him to the garage. Turn four proved to be problematic for the NASCAR Truck Series drivers the entire night.

With 55 laps to go of the 146, Wallace Jr. continued to hold the lead, though Crafton had managed to wrangle the truck whose performance he had been complaining about on the radio earlier in the race to pass Peters on the outside and take second. His truck showed no signs of the horsepower issues mentioned as he pressed hard to take the lead from the No. 54 truck. He had not led a lap all night at that point, but his truck looked good as Crafton was finding his groove.

With the completion of green-flag pit stops before the final 30 laps of the race, Wallace Jr. once again held the lead, this time with the No. 51 truck of Erik Jones following in second. Jones is a teammate, also racing for Kyle Busch’s team, but was not ready to concede the race to Wallace Jr. without a fight. With just under 15 laps to go, Jones passed the No. 54 to take the lead, eyes on his third career win, and he never looked back. Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Nationwide race in Dover, and his team took the top two spots in the Truck Series race in Las Vegas the same day. Post race, Wallace Jr. commented that while he was happy with the “KBM dominance” that it was “bittersweet” race. He also commented that he was looking forward to “the hell show” of Talladega on October 18.

Commentary By Jim Malone

Sources:
Live Viewing of Rhino Linings 350, LVMS 9/27/14
Post Race Interviews with Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Crafton, LVMS 9/27/14
ABC

Photo courtesy of NASCARMedia

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