FORT WORTH — The two Cup Series drivers in the race, including one All-Star, were out front 100 laps into Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway.
That mattered little to John Hunter Nemechek.
Nemechek made quick work of Ross Chastain for second place, then outraced Chase Elliott through green-flag pit stops to win the SpeedyCash.com 220 and score his series-high fourth victory of the season.
The series points leader picked up his second consecutive win and the 10th of his career. It’s his third this year on a 1 1/2-mile oval and first overall in Denton County.
“I feel like we’ve been making a statement all year,” Nemechek said. “I feel like we’re one of the favorites every time we show up to the racetrack.”
Elliott, the defending Cup Series champion who will start sixth in Sunday night’s All-Star Race, led by 0.3 seconds before he helped kick off the final round of pit stops with about 40 laps remaining. Nemechek assumed the lead and stayed on the track for 10 more laps.
Despite having fresh tires during that time, Elliott found himself behind when Nemechek emerged from pit road. Nemechek’s No. 4 Toyota led the No. 24 Chevrolet by nearly two seconds with 20 to go and pulled away to a final margin of 3.4 seconds.
“John Hunter got better, I think, when we moved up into the [traction compound applied to the outside lanes in the turns], and he did a good job making time after we pitted and getting on and off of pit road,” Elliott said. “Congrats to him and their team.
“I still don’t feel great here, and I felt like I put myself in the same box that I do in the Cup car, so we’ll go back to work and try to do better tomorrow.”
Elliott was followed in the top five by Grant Enfinger, Austin Hill and rookie Chandler Smith. Zane Smith, Todd Gilliland, Tyler Ankrum, Tanner Gray and Josh Berry rounded out the top 10.
Chastain crossed the finish line third but was disqualified when officials found an illegal throttle body on the No. 45 Chevy.
With only four races remaining before the 10-driver playoff begins, race winners Nemechek, Ben Rhodes, Gilliland and Sheldon Creed have clinched berths.
“Everyone does so good with building our trucks, and I’m just lucky enough to be able to be behind the wheel,” Nemechek said. “It’s amazing to get win No. 4.”
Nemechek, who races for Kyle Busch Motorsports, won the 35-lap Stage 1, and Zane Smith took Stage 2. Nemechek led 64 laps and Elliott 45.
Defending series champion and Fort Worth’s fall 2020 winner Creed crashed on Laps 7 and 21 and finished 35th of 36 trucks. Canadian Stuart Friesen had contact with Carson Hocevar and crashed on Lap 52 while running in the top 10.
Carrollton native and Navy Reserve officer Jesse Iwuji finished 28th. Five-time TMS winner Johnny Sauter finished 12th and sits eight points out of a playoff position.
Nemechek, who leads the truck standings by 78 points over Rhodes, will return to TMS in October to run an Xfinity Series race as part of a three-race deal announced Friday by Joe Gibbs Racing.