John Hunter Nemechek gets first Truck win of year with Gateway victory

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John Hunter Nemechek led the final six laps following a restart with eight to go to win the Camping World Truck Series’ race at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Nemechek passed Matt Crafton in Turn 2 and went unchallenged to claim his fourth Truck Series win and his first of the year.

NEMCO Motorsports is the first non-Kyle Busch Motorsports or GMS Racing team to win this year.

The win comes after Nemechek entered the race with no laps led despite two top-five finishes. Outside those two races, Nemechek had finished 21st or worse in every other race.

“It’s definitely an emotional win,” a tearful Nemechek told Fox Sports 1. “All the hard work that goes in, everyone’s worked their tails off. We haven’t had the best luck this year. Getting into victory lane when we needed to, God is great, I can’t thank him enough. I knew all the hard work would pay off. This is an awesome Father’s Day present for dad here and team owner (Joe Nemechek).”

Nemechek later said, “Not knowing how many more races we’re going to get to this year, this definitely means a lot.”

Joe Nemechek said only half the team’s races for this season had sponsorship and that there was doubt whether the No. 8 Chevrolet would be able to go to the next race at Iowa Speedway.

“I hate to see John Hunter go through that, he has so much talent,” Joe Nemechek told FS1. “He’s going to be a Cup champion one of these days. Right now, we’re just trying to get to the next race. He is tough. As far as driving the racecar is one thing, but when you deal with all the financial part of it just to figure out how to keep going, that makes it hard on a young kid. … That was his will tonight. We got the truck close, but he was on it.”

Chase Briscoe, who led a race high 88 laps,  finished second for the second week in a row. The rookie was one of two drivers who pit during the final caution for tires, leading to a frantic charge through the field.

The top five was completed by Chase Briscoe, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger.

Stage 1 winner: John Hunter Nemechek

Stage 2 winner: Chase Briscoe

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Christopher Bell was in second on the last lap, but contact with Briscoe cut his left rear tire and sent him to sixth. … Matt Crafton earned just his second top five of the year …. Ryan Truex finished seventh for his sixth top 10 in a row … Grant Enfinger earned his third top five of the year.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: The 11 trucks that failed to finish due to some sort of mechanical failure … Todd Gilliland earned his second DNF in as many starts after a transmission problem on Lap 114 … Jennifer Jo Cobb failed to start after the team discovered a hole in her radiator on the starting grid and was unable to make repairs. … Josh Reaume brought out the only caution outside of the stage endings. His No. 50 truck stalled on pit road with 12 laps to go.

NOTABLE: The No. 02 of Austin Hill failed front heights in post-race inspection. Any penalties will be announced later in the week.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Those guys just took two tires and I was on no tires and we had a lot of laps on them right side tires and we were just done. You win some, you lose some and everybody is upset but at the same time they knew we were here tonight.” – Matt Crafton after finishing fourth.

WHAT’S NEXT:  The Iowa 200 at Iowa Speedway at 8:30 p.m. ET on June 23 on Fox Sports 1.

Stewart-Haas Racing makes pit crew changes to all four Cup teams

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Stewart-Haas Racing has made changes to all four of its pit crews heading into Sunday’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, NBC Sports has confirmed.

The changes come with two of the organization’s four teams qualified for the playoffs through wins — Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer — and Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola in position to make the playoffs via points.

The changes:

— Shayne Pipala becomes the front tire changer for Harvick’s team. He replaces Eric Maycroft, who moves to Michael McDowell’s team (Stewart-Haas Racing provides the pit crew for that Front Row Motorsports team).

— Ira Jo Hussey becomes the front tire changer for Bowyer’s team. He replaces Daniel Coffey.

— Matt Holzbaur becomes the tire carrier for Bowyer’s team. He replaces Josh Sobecki. Holzbaur had been with Michael McDowell’s team.

— Daniel Coffey moves to Almirola’s team as front tire changer. Coffey replaces Ryan Mulder.

— Ryan Mulder moves to Busch’s team as front tire changer. He replaces Shayne Pipala.

The changes come after Bowyer expressed his displeasure with his pit crew’s performance last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, saying:

“Can’t … maintain the position one … damn time on pit road. It’s about … ridiculous. I’m tired of it.

“I’ve had enough. Three spots every … damn time I come down pit road.”

At Chicagoland, Harvick led going into the final pit stop but got beat by Kyle Busch, who went on to win the race. Harvick finished third.

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Ben Rhodes fastest qualifier at Eldora

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Ben Rhodes posted the fastest lap in qualification for the Eldora Dirt Derby with a lap of 86.801 mph, but he will have to wait until after his qualification race to know if he will lead the field to green. With his fastest lap, Rhodes will be credited with winning the pole.

He beat dirt midget racer Logan Seavey (86.747 mph) by .013 seconds. Seavey is making his Camping World Truck Series debut.

Tyler Dippel (86.368), Grant Enfinger (86.146) and Stewart Friesen (85.997) round out the top five.

Wendell Chavous (81.919) and Cody Coughlin (86.264) hit the wall during their qualification runs. Chavous qualified 33rd. Coughlin qualified 24th.

Points leader Johnny Sauter posted a time of 81.908 mph and was 34th among the 39 trucks that took time.

NASCAR America at 6 p.m. ET: Kyle Busch joins Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 6-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN and features a guest appearance by Kyle Busch.

Rutledge Wood will host with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton joining Busch from the Big Oak Table in Charlotte.

  • We’re live from the Big Oak Table in Charlotte for another edition of Wednesdays with Dale Jr. Today, we’ll be joined 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch.
  • The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota Camry will talk about his 2018 season. He currently leads the Cup Series in race wins (5) and playoff points (30). He’ll discuss being part of the “Big Three” along with Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. and how this group of champions have separated themselves from the rest of the field.
  • What are his thoughts entering this weekend’s race at New Hampshire?
  • Busch will also give his take on several other topics, including tonight’s Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway. Kyle Busch Motorsports has three trucks in the field. Should NASCAR add a dirt race to either the Cup or XFINITY Series? We’ll get his answer tonight.
  • Plus, Kyle and Dale Jr. will answer questions provided by the fans who use the hashtag #WednesDale
If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online 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 6 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

5-hour Energy to end NASCAR involvement at end of season

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Furniture Row Racing announced Wednesday that it is seeking sponsorship of the No. 78 car for next season with the announcement that 5-hour Energy will not return after this year.

5-hour Energy became the major co-primary sponsor this season on the No. 78 team with Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats for 30 Cup races. 5-hour Energy joined Furniture Row Racing in 2017, serving as a majority primary sponsor on the No. 77 car with Erik Jones.

Wednesday’s announcement comes just days after reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. won at Kentucky Speedway for his fourth Cup win of the year.

5-hour Energy has been a primary sponsor in NASCAR for nearly a decade, including the seven in Cup.

Rise’ Meguiar, President of Sales for Living Essentials, parent company of 5-hour ENERGY, issued a statement on the business decision.

“Since joining Furniture Row Racing in 2017, the team has delivered on every promise. In addition to being a championship team, winning races and putting 5-hour ENERGY in victory lane multiple times, they have also become part of our family.  We cannot thank Barney Visser, Joe Garone, Martin and the entire Furniture Row Racing team enough for the pride they have given us.  They are a first-class group on and off the track.  Although 5-hour ENERGY has made the business decision to leave NASCAR, we will be fans and friends for life, and we look forward to finishing strong in 2018.”

Said Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing, in a statement:

“I want to first send a sincere thank you to everyone at 5-hour Energy for being an excellent and loyal partner. The way 5-hour Energy has activated its programs over the years demonstrated a commitment and creativity as a NASCAR race team sponsor. We understand that companies do change business strategies, but friendships last forever and that’s how we feel about 5-hour Energy.”

“Being a perennial championship contending team with a talented driver in Martin, Furniture Row Racing continues to be committed in offering a new sponsor not only success on the racetrack but also the benefit of a strong marketing platform with our powerful team of partners – Bass Pro Shops, Auto-Owners Insurance, Toyota, Furniture Row and Denver Mattress.”

This decision by 5-hour Energy comes as Truex’s contract with Furniture Row Racing ends after this season. He was asked last weekend at Kentucky about where things stood with a new contract.

“We’ve got some stuff to figure out, for sure,” Truex said. “I don’t plan on doing anything different. Just give the team some time to figure things out. We’re all kind of trying to figure it all out together so we can make it happen.”

So what needed to be figured out?

“Just sponsorship commitments and all the stuff that goes along with that,” Truex said. “Figuring out how much money we have to spend, when do we get it, how much are we getting and where can we spend it. Just trying to figure out all the details honestly. There’s a lot of puzzle pieces to be put together that we haven’t finished yet. Honestly, we haven’t been in a big hurry to get it done. In due time.”

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