It came down to a late race restart with just three laps to go as Darrell Wallace Jr out did German Quiroga on the high-side and Darrell Wallace Jr won the Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park. It’s Wallace’s second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory and the first of his 2014 season.
Finishing in the second position was German Quiroga. Quiroga was involved in a late race controversy with driver Erik Jones. Jones was leading on lap 154 when coming off of turn two Quiroga made contact with Jones’ truck sending Jones into the inside wall hard. Jones was okay but disappointed and he finished in the 23rd position.
Finishing in the third position was Timothy Peters with Johnny Sauter coming home fourth and Ron Hornaday Jr finished in the fifth spot. Finishing sixth was pole sitter Cole Custer with Ryan Blaney finishing seventh. John Wes Townley finished in the eighth spot with Chase Pistone coming home ninth and Tayler Malsam finished in the 10th position.
Cole Custer and Darrell Wallace Jr led the field to green in the 160 lap Drivin’ for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park. It was the first trip to the track since the 2010 season for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Custer became the youngest pole sitter in NASCAR history on Saturday night. However, Custer’s night got off to a rough start when Darrell Wallace Jr passed him for the lead on lap one. Wallace was leading when Justin Jennings crashed on lap three to bring out the races’ first caution flag. Jennings would finish in 32nd of the 32 trucks.
The race would restart on lap 10 with Wallace and Custer on the front row. Wallace continued to lead when the second caution flag of the night flew on lap 15 for debris in turn two. Wallace again led the restart on lap 20 and began to pull away from the field.
On the restart youngster Tyler Reddick would have trouble as he lost second and third gear on his #19 Brad Keselowski Racing truck. The issue would continue throughout the night and Reddick finished 13th.
Meanwhile, Wallace continued his assault on the field. By lap 47 Wallace had led every lap of the race and was showing just how strong his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra was. The field would begin to come in for green flag pit stops on lap 58.
It was under this round of pit stops that the race would change drastically as Gray Gaulding would run his #20 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado out of gas. The truck would stop right in the entrance of pit road. The mishap would bring out the races’ third caution of the night and lead to a lot of different strategies being played as some teams had pitted before the caution flag flew and some did not.
Wallace pitted from the lead right before the caution period but would suffer a problem on his pit stop. A miscommunication between Wallace’s crew chief Jerry Baxter and his pit crew would lead to Wallace’s truck receiving some damage on the left rear after the left rear tire fell off the truck when the jack was put down too soon. Wallace would restart from the middle of the pack when the race would restart on lap 73.
Points leader Matt Crafton was in front on the restart and began to pull away from the field. One lap into the run Ray Black Jr would spin and hit the outside wall after contact with Cole Custer. Black would finish 24th.
On the lap 78 restart Matt Crafton and John Hunter Nemechek were on the front row. Nemechek out drove Crafton and took the lead on lap 79. It was the first time in the 17-year-old’s career that he would lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Nemechek continued to lead over Crafton and by lap 91 his lead was .177 seconds and he fought off some challenges from Crafton earlier in the run. The two drivers would make contact battling for the lead on lap 96 that resulted in Crafton losing a lot of ground.
The contact allowed Nemechek to pull away from Crafton and by lap 114 his lead over Crafton was just under a half of a second. Green flag pit stops would begin again on lap 117.
On lap 122 Crafton passed Nemechek for the lead after a long battle between the two drivers. On lap 124 Crafton would lose a tire and slam the outside wall hard coming off of turn four. Crafton’s wreck would bring out the races’ fifth caution flag of the evening. Crafton was done for the day and he finished 26th.
The majority of the leaders would pit and John Hunter Nemechek’s team got his #8 SWM-NEMCO Motorsports Toyota off of pit road first and he would lead the field to green on the lap 134 restart.
On that restart Darrell Wallace Jr shot to the lead, passing Nemechek. Nemechek would fall back on the restart and would lose the third position to German Quiroga after there was slight contact between the two drivers. The contact between the drivers showed that Nemechek had the letters of his left rear tire rubbed off and he would continue.
Unfortunately for Nemechek the contact was enough to cut a hole in the tire and send Nemechek into the wall on lap 146 to bring out the races’ sixth caution flag of the evening. Nemechek would have slight damage on his truck but he would continue. He finished in the 15th position as the last truck on the lead lap.
The race would restart with Darrell Wallace Jr and Erik Jones on the front row on the lap 153 restart. Wallace would lose the lead to Jones and then also get passed by German Quiroga for the second spot. Quiroga would then come up on the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota of Jones and the two would make contact as Quiroga’s right front made contact with Jones’ left rear off of turn two. The contact was enough to send Jones hard into the inside wall ending his day after 154 laps. Jones finished 23rd.
The final restart of the night would occur on lap 157 and Wallace would pull away from Quiroga and win the Drivin’ for Linemen 200.
Other notables in the field included Joey Coulter in 11th, rookie driver Mason Mingus in the 12th position, and rookie Ben Kennedy in the 14th spot. Jeb Burton finished 18th after pitting for a flat tire under green for an unscheduled stop earlier in the race. Gray Gaulding finished 20th.
Johnny Sauter now leads the points after the Drivin’ for Linemen 200. His ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton trails Sauter by 10 points. Third in the standings is Ron Hornaday Jr who is 13 points off the lead. Fourth in the standings is Timothy Peters who is 15 points behind. Ryan Blaney is 17 points back in fifth. Sixth in the standings 18 points behind is German Quiroga with John Wes Townley seventh in the standings. Eighth in the standings is Ben Kennedy with Darrell Wallace Jr in ninth and Jeb Burton in tenth.
The next race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule is the UNOH 225 at the Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, June 26th.
Tags: Darrell Wallace Jr., Drivin' For Lineman 200, Erik Jones, Gateway Motorsports Park, Matt Crafton, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series