Nemechek Wins at Martinsville Despite Two Postponements

AP Photo/Tim Bell

MARTINSVILLLE, VA – RIS – John Hunter Nemechek survived a bump from Kyle Benjamin in the closing laps and went on to win the Alpha Energy 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway.  The race was scheduled for Saturday, but 24 laps into the race, precipitation started as rain and turned to snow.  Before it was over, 8-10 inches of snow were in the speedway and on its parking lots.  Things were so bad that the race, which NASCAR had originally postponed until Sunday after the Monster Energy Cup race, had to be postponed again due to slick highways and snow removal.

 t was Nemechek's first career victory at Martinsville, where he had finished second twice and third once.

"I've finished second here multiple times, so tick-tock we finally got a clock," Nemechek said of Martinsville's signature grandfather clock trophy. "It's going to be awesome to take that thing home."

Pole winner Ben Rhodes led the first 23 laps Saturday before rain and snow halted the race.  He and teammate Matt Crafton seemed to have the best trucks on Monday, but mired back in traffic, they couldn’t get to the front.

Nemechek took the lead on a restart with 31 laps remaining and held off Benjamin by 0.106 seconds on NASCAR's first visit to a short track this season.

Benjamin had a lead of more than one second over Todd Gilliland when a debris caution slowed the race on Lap 214 and gave Nemechek his chance to win on the following restart.

Pole winner Ben Rhodes led the first 23 laps Saturday before rain and snow halted the race. The race began Saturday but was stopped for a wintry mix that turned to heavy snow. All track activity was canceled Sunday. The conclusion of the Truck Series race was a lead-in to Monday's rescheduled Cup race in a NASCAR doubleheader.

 Benjamin finished second despite leading 74 laps. Brett Moffitt was third and was followed by Grant Enfinger and Noah Gragson.

Unofficial Race Results for the 20th Annual Alpha Energy Solutions 250 - Monday, March 26, 2018

Fin, Str, Driver, Trk, Laps, St1, St2, Playoff Pts, Tms Led, Laps Led, Pts, Status
1) 8, John H. Nemechek(i), No. 8 Fleetwing Chevrolet, 250, 6, 5, , 1, 31, 0, Running
2) 4, Kyle Benjamin(i), No. 54 Crosley Brands/Foothills Capital LLC Toyota, 250, 5, , , 1, 74, 0, Running
3) 7, Brett Moffitt, No. 16 AISIN Group Toyota, 250, 9, 6, , , , 41, Running
4) 3, Grant Enfinger, No. 98 Champion Power Equipment/Curb Records Ford, 250, 3, 8, , , , 44, Running
5) 11, Noah Gragson, No. 18 Safelite Toyota, 250, 8, 7, , , , 39, Running
6) 9, Myatt Snider #, No. 13 Liberty Tax Ford, 250, 10, 9, , , , 34, Running
7) 16, Timothy Peters, No. 92 BTS Tire & Wheel/Carquest Auto Parts Ford, 250, , , , , , 30, Running
8) 13, Harrison Burton, No. 51 DEX Imaging Toyota, 250, , 10, , , , 30, Running
9) 15, Austin Hill, No. 02 United Rentals Chevrolet, 250, , , , , , 28, Running
10) 12, Justin Haley, No. 24 Fraternal Order of Eagles Chevrolet, 250, , , , , , 27, Running
11) 18, Dalton Sargeant #, No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil Chevrolet, 250, , , , , , 26, Running
12) 1, Ben Rhodes, No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Ford, 250, 1, 1, 2, 5, 134, 45, Running
13) 17, Cory Roper, No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors Inc. Ford, 250, , , , , , 24, Running
14) 23, Todd Gilliland #, No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota, 250, , 2, , 1, 1, 32, Running
15) 2, Matt Crafton, No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Ford, 250, 2, 4, , 1, 4, 38, Running
16) 20, Reid Wilson, No. 20 OEM2 Powered by TruNorth Chevrolet, 250, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 28, Dawson Cram, No. 50 Fluidyne Chevrolet, 250, , , , , , 20, Running
18) 29, Wendell Chavous, No. 49 SobrietyNation.org Chevrolet, 250, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 6, Johnny Sauter, No. 21 Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet, 249, 4, 3, , , , 33, Running
20) 5, Stewart Friesen, No. 52 We Build America Chevrolet, 248, 7, , , 2, 6, 21, Running
21) 14, Tyler Matthews, No. 99 Popeye's/BB&T Scott & Stringfellow Chevrolet, 248, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 25, Jordan Anderson, No. 3 Bommarito/Lucas Oil Chevrolet, 248, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 22, Kyle Donahue, No. 83 First Responder Racing Chevrolet, 234, , , , , , 14, Electrical
24) 24, Robby Lyons, No. 15 Bubba Bear Sauce Chevrolet, 227, , , , , , 13, Engine
25) 26, Josh Reaume, No. 33 R Coin/Green Heart Partners Chevrolet, 227, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 10, Cody Coughlin, No. 2 JEGS.com Chevrolet, 225, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 21, Austin Wayne Self, No. 22 Kreuz Market/Don't Mess With Texas Chevrolet, 164, , , , , , 10, Electrical
28) 19, Justin Fontaine #, No. 45 ProMATIC Automation/Superior Essex Chevrolet, 158, , , , , , 9, Accident
29) 31, Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet, 55, , , , , , 8, Electrical
30) 27, Kevin Donahue, No. 63 First Responder Racing Chevrolet, 49, , , , , , 7, Brakes
31) 30, Norm Benning, No. 6 Zomongo/H&H Transport Chevrolet, 35, , , , , , 6, Too Slow
32) 32, Mike Senica, No. 1 Pennsylvania Power Products Inc. Chevrolet, 8, , , , , , 5, Parked

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 02 Mins, 05 Secs.
Total Race Length - 250 Laps - 131.5 Miles
Average Speed: 64.628 MPH
Margin of Victory: 0.106 Seconds
Race Comments: John Hunter Nemechek won the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway, his sixth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory. Prior to the start of the race, the following trucks dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for reasons indicated: No. 4 and 10 (engine change), No. 6 (missed drivers meeting), No. 33 (unapproved adjustments).
Failed to Qualify: (1) No. 74 Mike Harmon(i).
Caution Flags: 10 for 68 laps: Laps: 16-26 (No. 1 stalled on the backstretch [63]); 72-82 (Stage 1 conclusion [83]); 87-92 (02, 2, 4, 19, 21, 50, 52 Incident in Turn 2 [45]); 117-122 (No. 52 and 99 Incident in Turn 4 [49]); 142-152 (Stage 2 Conclusion [2]); 160-163 (No. 45 and 99 Incident in Turn 4 [50]); 215-219 (Debris in Turn 3 [50]); 225-229 (No. 21 and 88 Incident in Turn 1 [20]); 234-238 (No. 15 Incident in Turn 2 [49]); 240-243 (No. 20 Incident in Turn 2 [21]).
Lead Changes: 10 among 6 drivers: B. Rhodes 1-25; M. Crafton 26-29; B. Rhodes 30-76; S. Friesen 77-81; B. Rhodes 82; S. Friesen 83; B. Rhodes 84-92; T. Gilliland#  93; B. Rhodes 94-145; K. Benjamin(i) 146-219; J. Nemechek(i) 220-250.

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 3, Posted 10:01 PM, 03.26.2018