John H. Nemechek overtook fan-favorite Matt Crafton with five laps remaining and held off Chase Briscoe to take the title at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 on Saturday at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Nemechek, who held the lead at the Drivin’ for Lineman 200 the past two years before finishing in the top six, went past Crafton with a move down low, then was able to take the checkered flag for the first time in the 2017 season and fourth time in his career.
The victory was even more special in that just hours before Father’s Day, Nemechek was able to give his dad and car owner, Joe Nemechek, a gift he won’t soon forget.
“It means a lot. My dad has been my mentor, my teacher, my adviser in teaching me about driving. To be able to win this title today, it means a great deal,” Nemechek said. “I’ve had the lead here (Gateway) the last two years, and I’ve maybe had some bad luck. I just tried to drive a smart race tonight, and it worked out for me this time.”
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Looking to end a victory drought of more than two years, Crafton took his first lead of the night with on lap 138. But he was overtaken by Nemechek with five laps remaining, following a restart on the third caution flag of the night.
Briscoe placed second, while Johnny Sauter placed third. Crafton placed fourth. Rookie Grant Enfinger was fifth while ‘16 champion Christopher Bell placed sixth
Briscoe earns poll
Truck Series rookie Chase Briscoe won the Keystone Light Pole Award for the fourth annual Drivin’ for Linemen 200 with a lap of 32.888 seconds (136.828 mph) Saturday. The pole was Briscoe’s second in eight starts this season and his fifth top-10 start.
Nemechek and Bell rounded out the top three qualifiers.
Indy Cars, dragsters headed to Gateway
The Drivin’ for Linemen 200 is just one of three major events which are being held this summer and fall at Gateway.
Tickets for the Verizon IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on August 26 are currently on sale. The race will highlight a week of activities, which will be held throughout the St. Louis area.
The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals will be at Gateway, Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.
Majeski repeats ARCA title
Pole sitter Ty Majeski won his second straight ARCA Midwest Series Illinois Lottery 50 at Gateway on Saturday.
Majeski also won the pole earlier in the day but started 15th after ARCA officials inverted the top 10 qualifiers, then used a dice roll.
“I knew our car was good,” Majeski said. “You don’t know what cars are going to do 40 laps into the race.”
But a first-lap accident in Turn 1 brought out a red flag. Majeski was part of that wreck when somebody’s fender flattened Majeski’s right rear tire. That forced Majeski to come in and change his tire, putting on a tire that had about 25 laps on it.
That pit stop sent Majeski to the rear of the 22-car field.
“I knew that we were a top-three car,” he said. “There’s such a big difference on speed with cars starting up front and cars starting 15th. There’s cars going all over the place.”
Majeski got around Dan Fredrickson with two laps to go and managed to hold him off. Paul Schafer Jr. finished third.
Austin Blair, 17, of Fairview Heights, and the son of Gateway general manager Chris Blair, finished 13th.