John Hunter Nemechek

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John Hunter Nemechek fastest in final Truck Series practice in Miami

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John Hunter Nemechek posted the fastest speed in the final Camping World Truck Series practice session of the season.

The NEMCO Motorsports driver recorded a speed of 165.239 mph around Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Nemechek was followed by Grant Enfinger (164.971), Kaz Grala (164.845), Noah Gragson (164.534) and championship driver Christopher Bell (164.414).

The three remaining championship drivers:

9th – Austin Cindric, 161.968 mph

13th – Matt Crafton, 160.839

14th – Johnny Sauter, 160.762

Myatt Snider, who was ninth fastest, recorded the most laps with 28.

Justin Haley had the best 10-lap average at 159.992 mph.

Cindric was the only playoff driver to make a 10-lap run. He had the fourth best 10-lap average at 159.441 mph.

Three drivers – Timothy Peters, Austin Wayne Self and Robby Lyons – experienced engine failures during the session.

The Truck Series will qualify for the Ford EcoBoost 200 at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Click here for the practice report.

Results of Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 Truck race at Phoenix

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It was a long and wild race that included three red flag race stoppages that lasted over a combined 37 minutes.

It also saw one driver who was in a must-win situation if he wanted to advance to next week’s championship race come up one spot short of doing so.

And it also marked a first win ever in the Valley of the Sun for the victor.

Those were some of the highlights of Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix Raceway.

MORE: Patience pays off for Johnny Sauter at Phoenix, wins 2nd straight race

MORE: Truck championship field set for Miami — points report

Defending Truck Series champ Johnny Sauter won his second race in a week, and his first ever at Phoenix. John Hunter Nemechek, who came up short of advancing to Miami, was second, followed by Cody Coughlin, Chase Briscoe and Kaz Grala.

Click here for the results.

Truck championship field set for Miami

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AVONDALE, Arizona – Christopher Bell, Matt Crafton and Austin Cindric earned spots in next weekend’s championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway, joining Johnny Sauter, who enters after having won the past two races.

Bell, Crafton and Sauter, the reigning series champion, were in the championship race last year.

MORE: Patience pays off for Johnny Sauter at Phoenix, wins 2nd straight race

MORE: Results of Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 Truck race at Phoenix

Bell clinched a spot after the first stage. Crafton clinched a spot after the second stage. Cindric earned the final spot when John Hunter Nemechek, who was in a must-win situation, failed to take the lead from Sauter on the final restart and finished second.

Click here for points report

 

Patience pays off for Johnny Sauter at Phoenix, wins 2nd straight race

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Johnny Sauter won for the second week in a row – and earned his first win at Phoenix Raceway – capturing Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150.

Sauter, who won last week at Texas, came from behind, helped out by three big wrecks in the final 21 laps, that allowed him to go to the front and take the lead on the final restart with two laps to go.

The defending Camping World Truck Series champ heads to Miami for Friday’s championship race. He’ll square off with two-time champ Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric.

This could be one of the most compelling Truck championship battles, as it pits veterans and former champions Sauter and Crafton vs. 22-year-old Bell and 19-year-old Cindric.

John Hunter Nemechek, who needed a win to advance to Miami, finished second and was eliminated. Cody Coughlin was third, followed by Chase Briscoe and Kaz Grala.

“It stinks to be that close,” Nemechek told Fox Sports 1. “We definitely have to keep our head held high. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

MORE: Results of Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 Truck race at Phoenix

MORE: Truck championship field set for Miami — points report

With seven laps to go, leaders and Kyle Busch Racing teammates Noah Gragson and Christopher Bell got together and took each other out. Bell tried to stay on the track, but the damage on his truck proved to be too much and he came to pit road for repairs with four laps to go.

With 21 laps to go, contact between Austin Cindric and Ben Rhodes sent Rhodes crashing. Matt Crafton was unable to avoid his Thor Sport Racing teammate, putting Rhodes and Crafton out of the race.

“They took a cheap shot,” Rhodes’ crew chief, Eddie Troconis told Fox Sports 1 of Cindric. “If they want to go to Homestead and race like that, they’re not going to make it past Lap 1.

“We raced the clean and were better than them all year long. We deserve to be at Homestead. It sucks that they’re going to go. I believe NASCAR should park then and penalize them. … He doesn’t know how to race. It’s unfortunate it comes to this.”

Troconis and Crafton both had bitter predictions for Cindric at Homestead.

Said Troconis, “Obviously, they’re not going to out clean in Homestead.”

Crafton told FS1: “Just wrong place, wrong time. I told Ben (Rhodes), the 19 (Cindric) better not finish Homestead.”

Rhodes told FS1: “(Cindric) put me in a bad place and I was trying to do everything I could to keep the spot, but once we filed into Turn 1, we were all going to wreck. I don’t know if that was the right move on his part. … It looked like a desperation move. I guess if I was in his position, I can’t blame him, but it’s not the move I would have liked to see. … Just driving over his head, I guess.”

STAGE WINNERS: Stage 1 (Christopher Bell), Stage 2 (Christopher Bell)

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Austin Cindric not only reached the Championship 4 round, he also recorded his 13th top-10 finish in the last 14 races. … Bayley Curry finished a career-best 10th.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: On the restart following the Cindric/Rhodes/Crafton wreck with 15 to go, Dalton Sargent, Jesse Little and Ryan Truex were involved in a wreck that brought out another red flag. As soon as it happened, Truex said over his team radio, “What the hell just happened?”

NOTABLE: The race was red-flagged three times due to wrecks in the final 21 laps for over 37 minutes in total.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m a lucky man, what can I tell you?” – Race winner Johnny Sauter.

WHAT’S NEXT: The 2017 season wraps up Nov. 17 with the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Teammates Christopher Bell, Noah Gragson qualify on Phoenix Truck front row

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Christopher Bell will start from the pole for tonight’s Lucas Oil 150 Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix Raceway.

Bell, who is the current points leader in the Truck Series, scored the fastest speed of the 32-truck field at 137.012 mph.

Bell’s Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson will also be on the front row for tonight’s race, qualifying with a speed of 135.619 mph.

Playoff contender Ben Rhodes qualified third (135.359), followed by fellow playoff contender Matt Crafton (135.318) and Todd Gilliland (135.014).

The remaining drivers still in contention to advance to next Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200 championship race are John Hunter Nemechek (6th, 134.821), Austin Cindric (7th, 134.645) and defending Truck Series champ Johnny Sauter (10th, 133.556).

Click here for the full qualifying results.