30 September 2012
Trucks: Nelson Piquet Jr. wins at Vegas
That included a lengthy caution for a three-car wreck on lap 116 involving Justin Lofton, Johnny Sauter and Miguel Palado on the frontstretch. It started with Palado making contact with Lofton, who was turned and hit hard enough by Sauter to launch his truck completely off the ground. Lofton and Sauter were done for the day, but Palado got away lightly and was able to continue running.
There was also a seventh caution of the day for Parker Kligerman had a hard scrape against the wall in turn 2 on lap 127 which put the former race leader out of the event, and the restart on lap 131 enabled Coulter to get the better of Piquet and take back the lead of the race. However, neither truck was string enough to hold off a surging Matt Crafton, who surged past them and into the lead on lap 132 looking increasingly comfortable for the race win especially when no further cautions materialised to affect the flow of the race.
Piquet remained close behind Crafton for the final run to the chequered flag, and as the end of the race approached he had a plan for getting past Crafton for the win.
"He was running high all the time," recalled Piquet. "When I saw him running up, I started attacking the bottom for a few laps," he said, insisting it had never been his intention to leave it right now to the wire as it turned out. "I was trying [to pass him] every lap, it wasn't because that was the last lap."
Piquet dived deep to the bottom of the track and pulled off the pass before the line to claim his second series win, but he admitted that "It was for a win or wrecking!
"I have no idea what happened," he added. "I had to give it a last try, I stuck it in there and God gave me a little bit more grip on the inside and we made it."
Crafton was understandably unhappy with losing the win in the last few seconds like that: "That is just the hardest way to lose a race," he said. "I will not sleep for a week. I'll be thinking what I could have done different.
"That sucks, it plain and simple sucks," he added. "We had a great truck and were really good there at the end. He had a real good run there at the end ... but my God, that's a tough one to lose on the last lap."
Joey Coulter followed the pair home in third ahead of Brendan Gaughan, and Todd Bodine recovered from his first lap spin to finish in fifth place ahead of James Buescher. Timothy Peters fought back from losing a lap with an unscheduled pit stop for a vibration on lap 52 to finish in eighth place.
Finishing two spots ahead of Ty Dillon keeps Peters in the hunt for the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, title, but he's still 24pts off the back of Dillon in the standings. Dillon's main rival continues to be James Buescher, who closes to within 1pt of the rookie in the standings.
Nelson Piquet Jr.
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