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Friday May 27th, 2022 3:04AM

Nemechek settles unfinished business with Darlington win

By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
  Contact Editor

The fastest truck won Friday’s Dead On Tools 200 at Darlington Raceway, but not without much ado between the green flag and the checkers.

Pole winner John Hunter Nemechek fought through 10 cautions, an extra pit stop to tighten a loose wheel and a overtime restart to post his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of the season, holding off hard-luck Carson Hocevar by .552 seconds in the two-lap shootout to the finish.

“Just a huge shoutout to all the guys that work on this No. 4 KBM Toyota Tundra,” Nemechek said after spinning his truck like a dervish in a celebratory burnout on the frontstretch.

“I thought we gave it away early, honestly, and we were able to rebound and battle back. I learned a lot tonight. I was finally able to bring home the first win of the year.”

Runner-up last fall at Darlington in a race he thought he should have won, Nemechek led a race-high 69 laps in triumphing for the first time at the Lady in Black and the 12th time in his career. In winning the pole earlier in the day, he was .432 seconds faster than second-place qualifier Ty Majeski.

Clearly, Nemechek had the speed, but his victory was by no means assured after he brought his truck to pit road under caution for a second time on lap 61 to remedy a loose left-front wheel. That left Nemechek 26th for a restart on lap 63, but by the end of Stage 2 on lap 90 he had climbed back to fifth in the running order.

On lap 123, he passed Christian Eckes for the lead and held it the rest of the way, through the two final cautions and the overtime.

Hocevar was the victor in Stage 2 — the first stage win of his career — but he lost ground on pit road under caution for the stage break and ultimately recovered to restart side-by-side with Nemechek in the overtime.

Nemechek had the advantage of the outside lane for the final two laps and pulled away to win by the half-second margin.

“A lot of emotions,” said Hocevar, who ran a close second to Ben Rhodes in the previous race on the Bristol dirt track. “I was freaking out for a second. I had an electrical issue, and every once in a while it would stumble, and it flat out shut off in the middle of (turns) 1 and 2 coming to the white (flag)…

“The 4 truck (Nemechek) was really good. I was hoping I maybe could have got him. I would have done a lot into (turns) 3 and 4. I was better than him in 1 and 2. He was better than me in 3 and 4, but I could have done a lot — just like every race car driver, right? But close once again. Hopefully, we’ll be one spot better next week.”

Grant Enfinger was third, followed by Majeski in fourth.

Matt Crafton was flagged in fifth place, but was disqualified when his truck failed in post race technical inspection for being two low in the front.

That moved Parker Kligerman to fifth, with Ryan Preece in sixth, Zane Smith in seventh, and Tyler Ankrum in eighth.

Fifty-eight-year-old Todd Bodine, making his 796th NASCAR national series start en route to 800, came home ninth, posting his first top 10 since 2012.

Matt DiBenedetto rounded out the top 10.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Darlington Raceway – Darlington, SC
Dead on Tools 200 – May 6, 2022

1. (1) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 149.
2. (6) Carson Hocevar, Chevrolet, 149.
3. (3) Grant Enfinger, Chevrolet, 149.
4. (2) Ty Majeski, Toyota, 149.
5. (9) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 149.
6. (13) Ryan Preece, Ford, 149.
7. (4) Zane Smith, Ford, 149.
8. (12) Tyler Ankrum, Toyota, 149.
9. (18) Todd Bodine, Toyota, 149.
10. (8) Matt Dibenedetto, Chevrolet, 149.
11. (23) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 149.
12. (19) Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 149.
13. (16) Jesse Little, Chevrolet, 149.
14. (33) Dean Thompson #, Chevrolet, 149.
15. (24) Timmy Hill, Toyota, 149.
16. (11) Christian Eckes, Toyota, 149.
17. (20) Jack Wood #, Chevrolet, 149.
18. (14) Derek Kraus, Chevrolet, 149.
19. (26) Lawless Alan #, Chevrolet, 149.
20. (28) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 149.
21. (29) Danny Bohn, Chevrolet, 149.
22. (5) Corey Heim #, Toyota, 149.
23. (32) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 149.
24. (15) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 148.
25. (10) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 148.
26. (31) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 147.
27. (36) Josh Reaume, Toyota, 147.
28. (25) Hailie Deegan, Ford, Accident, 137.
29. (27) Brennan Poole(i), Toyota, 125.
30. (30) Blaine Perkins #, Chevrolet, Accident, 124.
31. (34) Tate Fogleman, Toyota, Accident, 123.
32. (21) Kris Wright, Chevrolet, Accident, 105.
33. (17) Tanner Gray, Ford, Accident, 98.
34. (22) Chase Purdy, Toyota, Accident, 97.
35. (35) Akinori Ogata, Toyota, Engine, 54.
DQ: (7) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 149.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 91.625 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 13 Mins, 17 Secs. Margin of Victory: .552 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 10 for 54 laps.

Lead Changes: 16 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Nemechek 1-12;Z. Smith 13-21;J. Nemechek 22-39;P. Kligerman 40-48;R. Chastain(i) 49-53;C. Hocevar 54;R. Chastain(i) 55-75;T. Bodine 76-78;R. Chastain(i) 79-85;C. Hocevar 86-93;R. Chastain(i) 94-106;J. Nemechek 107-118;C. Howard 119;C. Eckes 120;G. Enfinger 121;C. Eckes 122;J. Nemechek 123-149.

Leaders Summary: (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led) John Hunter Nemechek 4 times for 69 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 4 times for 46 laps; Carson Hocevar 2 times for 9 laps; Zane Smith 1 time for 9 laps; Parker Kligerman 1 time for 9 laps; Todd Bodine 1 time for 3 laps; Christian Eckes 2 times for 2 laps; Colby Howard 1 time for 1 lap; Grant Enfinger 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 75,41,42,23,18,4,15,99,52,66

Stage #2 Top Ten: 42,41,75,23,4,98,17,99,18,51

Playoff Standings: 1. Zane Smith – 241 (2 Wins); 2. Ben Rhodes – 284 (1 Win); 3. John Hunter Nemechek – 254 (1 Win); 4. Chandler Smith – 252 (1 Win); 5. Stewart Friesen – 242; 6. Carson Hocevar – 223; 7. Ty Majeski – 221; 8. Christian Eckes – 219; 9. Grant Enfinger – 202; 10. Tanner Gray – 188.

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

  • Associated Categories: Sports, NASCAR News, Other Motorsports
  • Associated Tags: nascar, motorsports, Auto Racing, Camping World Trucks, Stock Car, Asphalt, Darlington
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