Nelson Piquet Jr. took his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win – and first on pace rather than fuel mileage as at Michigan – with an aggressive, bold last lap pass on Matt Crafton through Turns 1 and 2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Piquet got a great jump on the race's last restart to advance to second, passing Joey Coulter, with he and Crafton in lock-step for the final few laps. Piquet drove deep into the corner, hit the apex and even got on the apron, before sliding up on corner exit in front of Crafton.
Euphoria in victory lane came as Piquet called it the greatest win of his career, while still engulfed in the moment.
“I have no idea what happened – I stuck it in there, and someone gave me a little more grip on the inside,” Piquet said. “It's the best win of my career, or for sure of the top five in my career. It was win or wreck. One of the restarts, they pushed me to the wall, but ‘I said this race is mine!' Winning is all that matters.”
Crafton didn't need reminding of that last quote, after the runner-up finish.
“It sucks. Plain and simple,” he said. “I got really loose in the third run, but got really good at the end. He got a real good run off of four. Man, that's a tough one to lose on the last lap. It's very hard one to swallow.”
Erstwhile dominant driver Joey Coulter finished third, having made the decision to go with four tires on the final pit stop cycle when others went with two.
“Four was still the right decision,” he said. “We got tighter on the long run so we needed to do that. That was all we had. The 88 (Crafton) wants to draft at Talladega next week so we'll see how it goes.”
Series veterans Brendan Gaughan and Todd Bodine completed the top five. Gaughan has his fourth top five in six starts this season for Richard Childress Racing, while Bodine recovered from a first lap spin to a top-five result. Only 22 trucks finished of the 34 that started.
With five races to go, Ty Dillon leads the standings by one point over James Buescher. Dillon finished 10th, Buescher sixth, on the night. Timothy Peters in third clawed back two points with an eighth place finish and is 24 behind Dillon, still with a realistic chance, while Coulter (38 back), Parker Kligerman (39) and Crafton (41) would need some help to get back into title contention.
The series heads to Talladega next week.