NEWTON, Iowa– After winning an emotional race at Gateway last weekend, John Hunter-Nemechek wins the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store, at Iowa Speedway winning back to back races for the first time in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career.
The NEMCO Motorsports driver took advantage of a late race caution after the No.88 of Matt Crafton crashed with 15 laps to go. When pit road opened, the No.8 Fire Alarm Service Chevrolet took four fresh tires and lined up on the outside of race leader Johnny Sauter who stayed out.
The four fresh tires seemed to make the difference as Hunter-Nemechek rocketed around the defending series champion with six laps left in the race. This marks the first time that Hunter-Nemechek has won multiple races in a single season in the Truck series.
“That’s definitely special.” Hunter-Nemechek said. “All year, we felt really good about this whole stretch: Gateway, Iowa and Kentucky. Hopefully, we can go to Kentucky and make it three-in-a-row.”
For Hunter-Nemechek and his small family owned team, there is much uncertainty on if they have the financial capabilities to compete full for the remainder of this Truck series season. After winning last weekend at Gateway, Fire Alarm Services stepped in to sponsor three more races for the No.8 team, starting tonight at Iowa.
“I can’t say enough, thank you all my guys. They’re so determined, they’re dedicated. They work as many hours as needed and this is fun getting into victory lane. I gotta thank Shannon and Connie from Fire Alarm Services for coming on-board. It’s sad that they weren’t here but I know that they’re watching so this is for you guys. Without them, this truck team would’ve never been alive so I especially have to thank my dad but every guy who works on this team, that’s awesome.”
For Sauter, who led 72 laps on the evening, he took the lead at the end of stage 2 after a caution ironically helped him take the lead. The GMS Racing driver looked to be headed to victory lane for the first time since Dover early this past month. As the late caution flew however, they decided to stay out on older tires and he finishes in the second position.
“I gotta thank Chase Briscoe for taking me to school.” Sauter said. “I kept asking my spotter where’s he running, where’s he running and on the radio, it sounded like he said bottom. I guess that’s what we have mirrors for, I need to do a better job myself.”
The race saw Noah Gragson lead the field to green after he won the pole earlier in the afternoon. He and teammate Christopher Bell battled for the top spot where eventually, Bell took the lead, winning the opening stage and ultimately leading a race high 99 laps.
In the second stage, Bell commanded the duration of the 60 laps until with 12 laps to go, Mike Senica spun off turn two. This made for some interesting pit calls as Bell stayed out on older tires and Sauter and the rest of the front runners came down to take on fresh rubber.
The strategy call worked for Sauter as he rocked past Bell for the top spot. The second stage ended under caution as Kax Grala, Austin Wayne Self and Ben Rhodes all wrecked.
The third and final stage started under red flag conditions and safety crews cleaned up the rest of the crash scene left over from the second stage. As the racing resumed it looked to be a Sauter night as he put on cruise control. That is when with 20 laps to go, Chase Briscoe caught and passed Satuer for the top spot. The Brad Keselowski Racing driver who had finished second in the past two races, looked poised for his first NCWTS win. Until, with 15 to go a caution would fly.
As the front runners took to pit road, it opened the door for Hunter-Nemechek to take his four tires and go on to win on Friday night.
Finishing in third is Brandon Jones with Grant Enfinger and Bell rounding out the top five.
Pole sitter Noah Gragson finishes in sixth with Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Jesse Little and Justin Haley finishing out the top 10.
The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event is in two weeks, July 6 at the Kentucky Speedway for the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 (Fox Sports 1, MRN and Sirius XM).