Tyler Reddick claimed his second win of the year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with victory for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on Friday evening.
Reddick, who took his first series trip to victory lane at Daytona in February, managed to save his tyres over a long final green flag stint and took over the lead with eight laps to go to claim victory by 1.255s over Kyle Busch Motorsport duo Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones.
CLICK: Full race results from the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway.
Reddick's BKR team mate Ryan Blaney had started the race from pole position - his fifth pole in 54 series starts - after setting a time of 22.718s (158.465mph) in the final round of qualifying, putting him 0.069s ahead of Jones. Blaney led for the first 33 laps but was then ousted from the top spot by JR Motorsports' Cole Custer during a round of pit stops under caution for a multiple-truck accident on the back stretch that involved John Wes Townley, Justin Jennings, Brandon Brown and Mason Mingus and which was triggered by rookie driver Jesse Little who was making his series début at Dover.
Custer went on to lead for a race-high 67 laps of the 200-lap race in four separate stints at the front, initially alternating back and forth with Red Horse Racing's Timothy Peters. Reigning series champion Matt Crafton picked up the lead when he stayed off pit road during a caution on lap 105 for Spencer Gallagher going for his second spin of the evening in turn 2, but Reddick put fresher tyres to good use to take over for the first time on lap 110 and he was still in charge on lap 137 when Peters' right front tyre went down and sent the #19 into a hard hit with the outside wall to bring out what would prove to be the final caution of the race.
Erik Jones opted to take just two tyres and immediately took control of the race at the restart with 58 laps remaining, quickly managing to pull out a one second lead over Reddick, Custer and his own KBM team mate Daniel Suarez. Everyone should have had enough fuel to make it to the finish, but a faulty refuelling can meant that Custer was forced to make an unscheduled extra stop for more gas on lap 186 for a splash-and-dash which put him out of contention in the final laps.
Jones had led with little trouble for an unbroken 50-lap stretch, but with no further cautions the two-tyre selection came back to bite him. With the end of the race approaching, Reddick was able to close right up on the back of Jones where he could apply the pressure and finally get around with just eight laps to go. Jones had nothing with which to counter Reddick and even even went on to lose second place to Suarez in the remaining few minutes before the chequered flag came out after almost two hours of racing.
"We were very patient," Reddick said. "We played it smart, kept it in one piece and we got it to victory lane in Dover."
“It was definitely a full organization effort,” said Reddick's crew chief Douglas Randolph. "We weren't as good as we thought we should be in practice. Our team mate was really good and we leaned on them overnight, and it helped us a lot.
"It was a crazy race today," Randolph added. "There were so many cautions, so many pit strategies. Halfway through we made a decision to try to get some track position and hope the race played out a certain way, and luckily for us it did."
For Jones, it was yet another disappointing near miss on a series win after similar frustrations at Kansas and Charlotte where he had been the fastest truck on the road only to have the win snatched away from him just before the finish. "It just really hurts being that close to a win three weeks in a row," he said.
"We got so free and I just couldn't hang on to it,” Jones explained. "“We just couldn't finish it out. It just got tough working through the lapped traffic and had to use up a lot of tyre and didn't quite have enough left.
"We had a good Tundra and we fought hard all day," he added. "We came pretty close. We'll win one soon and keep getting better every week. It was a good points day and we'll just keep moving along.”
NTS Motorsports's Daniel Hemric beat Crafton to fourth place, while Crafton's ThorSport team mate Ben Kennedy was sixth ahead of pole sitter Blaney. Brandon Jones claimed eighth for GMS Racing ahead of the third ThorSport entry driven by Johnny Sauter, with Tyler Young rounding out the top ten at the line in the #02 Young's Motorsport truck.
Owner-driver Jennifer Jo Cobb crashed out of the race early, which she apparently blamed on contact with Reddick. She climbed out of the #10 truck and walked back up the track to gesture her displeasure with the BKR driver, apparently completely forgetting that doing so breaches the rule that drivers have to stay with their car after an accident - a measure brought in last year after the death of Kevin Ward Jr. in a regional racing accident in upstate New York, when the 20-year-old had walked back onto the racing line to gesticulate and was knocked down by a car driven by Tony Stewart.
"I completely forgot," Cobb admitted. "And the fact that I forgot is such a shame because the reason it is in place likely stems from a tragedy that none of us should forget. ... It was a huge error in judgement on my part."
"We take safety very serious and discussed it with her [because] it's a serious infraction," said NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director Elton Sawyer after summoning Cobb for dressing down in the NASCAR hauler. "She understands what she did, and there will be consequences."
After six rounds of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Matt Crafton now has an 11 point lead with Tyler Reddick moving up to second place ahead of Erik Jones on the back of this week's race victory at Dover International Speedway, while Johnny Sauter, John Wes Townley and Timothy Peters all hold station in positions fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. In the owners' standings, Crafton's #88 ThorSport Toyota maintains a matching 11 point margin over Reddick's #19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford.
See full race results from Dover, plus qualifying and practice speeds and the latest Camping World Truck Series championship standings.
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