The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its bow in 1995 and in the 20 years since it has racked up 499 races. This weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was its landmark 500th race, making the prize just that little bit more special for the drivers taking part.
The place in the record books as the winner of this milestone event proved to be Austin Dillon. While it's his seventh win in the series, it's the first time that his current team GMS Racing has made it to victory lane.
"It's very special," said Dillon, who as the grandson of Richard Childress has a keen sense of the history of NASCAR as a whole. "I owe a lot to the Truck Series for getting me to where I am today.
"I've had a lot of success qualifying, racing and winning in the Truck Series. It taught me a lot about how to race hard when you have to. It's definitely a fun series to be in, and I'm thankful for it. Hopefully, we can have thousands of races in the Truck Series. I've enjoyed all of mine."
Full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race results form New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Dillon started from pole position after setting a new qualifying track record time of 28.574s (133.296 mph) on the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway, pipping Kyle Busch by 0.156s to claim his 13th pole in 67 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, his first of 2015.
Dillon led for a race-high 80 of the 175 laps, neatly divided into two blocks at the beginning and and of the race. He was in charge for the first 43 laps until a caution for fluid on the track from the #74 Mike Harmon Racing truck driven by Jordan Anderson which sent Tyler Reddick spinning. There was a 14 minute red flag to clean up the track and at the restart Busch was quick to take advantage and take over the lead from Dillon.
Busch would lead for all but five of the next 67 laps - those five being controversial as it was clear that Busch slowed up to allow his Kyle Busch Motorsports team mate Erik Jones to briefly take over the lead to give him important championship bonus points. NTS Motorsport's Daniel Hemric took over the lead on lap 114 when Busch pitted under green, and before Busch could get back to the front there was a caution for John Wes Townley hitting the turn 1 wall on lap 136 and for a follow-up caution on lap 144 when Cole Custer planted the JR Motorsports #00 into the turn 2 wall.
When the race restarted it was Dillon back at the front with Busch alongside him on the front row and reigning series champion Matt Crafton in third. However Busch picked up a some right-rear damage and a tyre rub. When Tyler Reddick brought out the sixth and final caution on lap 162, Busch had little option but to head to pit road for repairs which left him too far back to challenge for the lead, and Dillon was able to pull out a one second lead over Crafton in the final nine lap sprint to the finish.
"The #33 was definitely a little better," Crafton admitted. "We missed it a little today. We fought tight, tight and just kept freeing it up, and I was just a little too free on the short run right there. I don't know what I was doing wrong, but I was missing my restarts so bad."
Crafton's ThorSport Racing team mate Johny Sauter crossed the line in third ahead of Timothy Peters (Red Horse Racing) and John Hunter Nemechek (SWM-NEMCO Motorsports). Hemric finished in sixth ahead of Jones and Austin Theriault (Brad Keselowski Racing) with the top ten rounded out by Dalton Sargeant (Wauters Motorsports) and Gray Gaulding (Kyle Busch Motorsports.) Busch rallied to finish just outside in 11th place at the line.
"We didn't get the finish we wanted, and we'll just have to go back and make our Tundras a little bit better," said Jones. "We can't be that far off. We'll just have to work on it and figure out what was wrong and how to be better here for the next six weeks."
In the championship standings, Erik Jones remains in the lead but by only seven points over Crafton, who takes over second place from Reddick. Sauter and Hemric remain in fourth and fifth positions while Peters moves ahead of ThorSport Racing's Cameron Hayley for sixth.
The next round of the series is the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 3.
Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and updated Camping World Truck Series championship standings.
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