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Trucks: rookie is King of the crashes

Little-known rookie driver John King claimed his first win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, after a night filled with accidents and crashes.
Rookie NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John King emerged as the winner of the Nextera Energy Resources 250 season opener, but it took the maximum allowed number of green-white-chequered-flag attempts and a whole lot of crashes and accidents to bring it about.

"I'm not supposed to be here ... The expectations were just to finish!" said a stunned King, making only his eighth series start and his first at Daytona. "It's a dream come true."

Much of the race had been dominated by Turner Motorsports duo Miguel Paludo and James Buescher. Paludo had started from pole position after setting a lap time of 49.583s (181.514mph), beating former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. by 0.023s. Buescher and Ty Dillon started from the second row with Cup regular Brad Keselowski just behind in fifth place. Eventual race winner King started from 23rd place.

Paluda led for 56 of the 109 laps of the race before spinning out all by himself on lap 83 and making a hard head-on impact against the infield wall that briefly launched the #32 into the air. "It was a hard hit, for sure," he said after climbing out of the wreck unassisted. "I lost my breath."

Prior to that there has already been two previous cautions for accidents: on lap 19 when Paul Harraka hit Chris Cockrum and then collected an unfortunate Jason Leffler in a turn 4 accident that also took out Dakoda Armstrong; and another on lap 63 triggered by John King himself, who moved up into Cale Gale who in turn went up into the path of Mike Skinner. Skinner was left with no where to go but hard into the #33.

After Paluda's exit, the race was heading to a climax when Parker Kilgerman's Dodge spun sideways on the frontstretch on lap 95 and triggered a multi-truck wreck that left David Starr, Ross Chastain, Dusty Davis and Bryan Silas with damage and also meant that the race reached its 100 lap scheduled distance under caution. That duly invoked green-white-chequered-flag conditions for the finish.

Johnny Sauter took the lead at the first attempt to end the race, only to have the race quickly go back to yellow for an accident further down the field that involved Ty Dillon, Dusty Davis, Brad Keselowski, Max Gresham, Ryan Sieg, Clay Greenfield and Rick Crawford

The second restart attempt was thwarted by an accident caused by King himself, when the 23-year-old Tennessee driver got into the back of Sauter and spun the leader into the wall, triggering further collisions in the chasing pack that meant the race was red-flagged for over ten minutes.

King was somewhat shamefaced about it and was quick to say sorry to Sauter after the race. "I apologise to Johnny Sauter. I shouldn't have been there because I'm so inexperienced," he admitted, saying he'd never pushed a car in a draft before and had no clue what he was doing. "I closed up on him real fast. I couldn't get off of him. I flat wrecked him."




Related Pictures

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Jason Leffler, driver of the #18 Dollar General Toyota, collides with Paulie Harraka, driver of the #5 Wauters Motorsports Ford, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Miguel Paludo, driver of the #32 Duroline Brakes and Components Chevrolet, spins and catches fire after hitting the wall during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey Coulter, driver of the #22 Mama Lucia Meatballs Chevrolet, spins after flying through the air during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
John King, driver of the #7 Red Horse Racing Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads a line of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 20, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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