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John Hunter Nemechek wins postponed Truck race at Martinsville

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MARTINSVILLE, Virginia —  John Hunter Nemechek won the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway after a seven-lap shootout at the half-mile track.

Nemechek held off Kyle Benjamin to earn his sixth Camping World Truck Series win. He led the final 31 laps.

The top five was completed by Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger and Noah Gragson.

Nemechek took the lead on a restart with 31 laps to go when he passed Benjamin and Todd Gilliland three wide on the backstretch.

Nemechek was in position to take the lead because of miscommunication with his crew during the previous caution kept him out of the pits.

“(Crew chief) Gere (Kennon) came on the radio and said ‘pit,'” Nemechek told Fox Sports 1. “I didn’t hear exactly what he said because of static and we had to stay out there. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to do it. … I can’t thank everyone enough, Dad, everyone that puts their heart and soul into this deal. There’s only four guys at our shop this year, so it’s really cool to be able come back over here to the Truck Series.”

Nemechek had to survive four restarts in the closing laps. The win comes after he had three top-three finishes in his previous nine starts at the track.

Nemechek is competing for points in the Xfinity Series with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Benjamin finished second in his first Truck Series start. He was driving the No. 54 Toyota owned by David Gilliland and led 74 laps.

The race began on Saturday but was red flagged after 23 laps due to precipitation. It continued at 11 a.m. ET Monday.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ben Rhodes

STAGE 2 WINNER: Ben Rhodes

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Brett Moffitt earned his third consecutive top five … Timothy Peters finished seventh in his first start of the season … Harrison Burton finished eighth for his second top 10 in eight starts. Both are at Martinsville.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Ben Rhodes finished 12th despite winning the first two stages. The No. 41 Toyota was plagued by two slow pit stops in the final stage … Stewart Friesen finished 20th after being involved in two accidents, on Lap 87 and Lap 118 … Matt Crafton rammed into the back of Johnny Sauter out of Turn 2 with 27 laps to go. Sauter appeared to lose power before the accident. Sauter finished 19th, Crafton finished 15th … Todd Gilliland finished 14th after having to pit under caution late.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Tick tock we finally got a clock.” – John Hunter Nemechek

WHAT’S NEXT: Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway at 5 p.m. ET on May 4 on Fox Sports 1.

 

Ben Rhodes grabs Martinsville Truck pole

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Ben Rhodes laid down a lap of 95.942 mph in the final round of qualification for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 Truck series at Martinsville to win his third career pole.

Teammate Matt Crafton will line up beside him on the outside of the front row with a lap of 95.704 mph.

Grant Enfinger qualified third to give ThorSports a clean sweep of the top spots.

Round two: Kyle Benjamin was fastest 95.830 mph. With time running off the clock, Myatt Snider (94.984) bumped Harrison Burton (94.770) out of the top 12.

Round one: Todd Gilliland topped the chart with a speed of 95.213 mph. He will have to drop to the back to start the race because of an engine change, so he did not attempt to post a time in the second round.

Click here for the race lineup.

Weather permitting, the green flag will wave over the field at 2 p.m.

 

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Auto Club Speedway recap, West Coast Awards

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and looks back at the weekend’s racing at Auto Club Speedway.

Rutledge Wood hosts with Jeff Burton, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett from the “Big Oak Table” at NBC Charlotte.

What to expect from the show.

  • Martin Truex Jr. flashed his championship form from last year and earned his first win of the 2018 season Sunday in Fontana. We’ll recap the last race of NASCAR Goes West from around the “Big Oak Table” at our NBC Sports studios in Charlotte. Plus, Rut and the gang will hand out the West Coast awards, honoring the best moments from the Vegas-Phoenix-Fontana run.
  • NASCAR is a sport built on families, and it’s seen lots of kids grow up at the track through the years. We’ll spend time discussing the next generation to catch the racing bug – including Harrison Burton, son of our Jeff Burton.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you also can watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com.

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

What a finish! Check out how the K&N Pro Series East opener ended (Video)

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Todd Gilliland passed Harrison Burton on the final lap to win the NASCAR K&N Pro  Series East opener Sunday night at New Smyrna Speedway.

The 17-year-olds dueled the final two laps with Burton taking the lead before taking the white flag. Gilliland applied pressure and got back by him to win. Cole Rouse nipped Burton for second. The New Smyrna 175 will air at 6 p.m. ET on Feb. 27 on NBCSN.

Gilliland will compete for rookie of the year honors in the Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports this season. Burton will be at teammate at KBM and is scheduled to run nine Truck races this season.

Watch the final two laps of Sunday night’s race:

Todd Gilliland to drive No. 4 for Kyle Busch Motorsports; father to fill-in at Daytona

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Todd Gilliland will get a helping hand driving Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Toyota this season before he turns 18 on May 15.

The two-time K&N Pro Series West champion will miss four of the first six races to start the year because of NASCAR’s rule that drivers under 18 years old are restricted to tracks 1.25 miles or less in length or road courses.

Gilliland will miss the season-opener at Daytona (Feb. 16), Atlanta (Feb. 24), Las Vegas (March 2) and Kansas (May 11).

After starts at Martinsville (March 24) and Dover (May 4) to begin his Rookie of the Year campaign, his first race on a 1.5-mile track will be at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18.

Team owner Kyle Busch will drive the No. 4 at Atlanta and Kansas.

In a video released by the team on Twitter, it announced that Gilliland’s dad, David Gilliland, will open the season at Daytona.

The former Cup driver will make his first NASCAR start since 2016 in the NextEra Energy Resources 250.

A veteran of 398 national NASCAR races, David Gilliland’s last Truck Series start was in 2015. He has 10 Truck starts. One of those was at a restrictor-plate track (Daytona, 2015).

That’s not the only race the elder Gilliland will try to be part of that weekend.

He will attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Ricky Benton Racing, which has fielded the No. 92 in the Truck Series since 2010.

Gilliland will attempt to qualify the No. 92 Black’s Tire and Auto Service/Carquest Auto Parts Ford into the “Great American Race.” If he’s successful, it will mark the Cup debut for the team.

Gilliland made seven starts for the team in 2015.

“After talking with our partners, we felt the time was right to make a move into the Cup Series,” team owner Ricky Benton said in a press release. “Getting David back on board was also key. Having a veteran driver with his experience and success on restrictor-plate tracks – with whom (crew chief Mike) Hester has familiarity – gives us a leg up as we try to make the race.”
Gilliland has made 16 starts at Daytona in the Cup Series, including seven in the Daytona 500. His best finish was third in the 2011 Daytona 500.
UPDATE: KBM has also announced its crew chief lineup for this season.
Ryan Fugle will be paired with Noah Gragson on the No. 18 truck.
Mike Hillman Jr. will work with Harrison Burton, Busch and other drivers on the No. 51 truck.
Marcus Richmond will be on the No. 4 truck.

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