The Camping World Truck Series’ inaugural visit to Rockingham Speedway was a rousing success with a crowd of 27,500 fans filling the stands. Kasey Kahne flew to Rockingham after competing in the Sprint Cup event at Texas and, after 4.5 hours of sleep, jumped behind the wheel of the No. 4 Rockwell Tools Chevrolet and led the last 46 laps of the race to score the win. James Buescher turned a 16th-place start into a second-place finish while Matt Crafton led 40 laps before settling for a third-place result. Johnny Sauter was forced to make a second pit stop on the final caution of the race due to a refueling issue, started at the rear of the field and raced his way to a fourth-place finish. Timothy Peters started the race in the third slot, led for seven caution flag laps in the middle of the race, and managed to wrangle a fifth-place finish.
Nelson Piquet, Jr. started the race on the pole and ran away from the field at the drop of the green flag. By lap 61, Piquet had lapped all but the top-10 cars and held a lead of nearly a half a lap before the caution flag flew for debris. Piquet kept the lead through pit stops, but was passed shortly after the restart by Crafton on lap 68. Piquet then battled back and regained the lead on lap 82. However, Piquet’s truck was not as fast as in the first run. Crafton stayed close and retook the lead briefly on lap 108 when Piquet got loose in Turn 1.
The third caution on Lap 122 for an incident involving David Reutimann and Bryan Silas brought the leaders back to pit road for their second stop. Peters led the race back to green, but Crafton reassumed the lead on the restart. Piquet came out of the pits in fifth after making a major chassis adjustment and worked his way back to the front. Meanwhile, Kahne completed his charge up through the field when he passed Crafton to take the lead on Lap 155.
The caution flew a final time on lap 174 for debris, bringing everyone back for their final stops. Kahne easily won the race off pit road, with Piquet in second. However, Piquet was clocked at 40.08 mph in the final segment, thus earning a penalty. Piquet had to start at the tail end of the longest line on the restart and was out of contention as a result. Kahne led the final 20 green flag laps to take the win.
Piquet was very disappointed with himself after the race.
“Got caught up in some traffic and I tried to make up one of the spots in the pits,” Piquet bemoaned after the race. “Somebody said I was too fast exiting the pits. Which, I don’t know, happens. It is the first time I’ve sped since I came to NASCAR.”
“The race turned out to be eerily similar,” Parker Kligerman observed about his day at Rockingham. “The first half of the race we ran top three, top five the whole time. Had a great truck, especially in that third run when we were four tenths faster than the leader at the end of the run for 20 laps. I took the experience of saving the right rear on that run and sure enough it paid off with 20 laps to go.”
“It is fun when your truck is as good as ours was,” Sauter observed after coming through the field when he had to overcome a bad pit stop. “Proud of everybody on this Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota. Just couldn’t kind of get the balance right all day. Just a little too tight, a little too loose, just back and forth.”
The Camping World Truck Series is back in action Saturday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. The SFP 250 is scheduled to start at 2:00pm EDT.
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