MARTINSVILLE, Va. — While celebrating victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway, Noah Gragson did a throwback to Tony Stewart and Helio Castroneves, climbing the catchfence, and something uniquely his own, doing pull-ups.
On the final restart with 10 laps to go, Matt Crafton was the race leader. But by the time the field exited Turn 2 and dove into Turn 3, Gragson was the clear leader and drove onto his first career victory in the Truck Series.
“Oh it’s really tough racing against these veterans. Those last like 40 laps with Johnny Sauter beating off my back bumper. He did that earlier to us in the spring (at Martinsville) and I wasn’t going to let him pass me again like that. We got that caution there at the end. You can’t pass on the outside at Martinsville, but I did it!”
Crafton finished second and Johnny Sauter rounded out the podium.
Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top-10.
Chase Briscoe led the field to the green flag at 1:14 p.m. After John Hunter Nemechek brought out the first caution on Lap 37, Crafton took over the lead when Briscoe pitted and drove on to win the first stage.
Returning to green on Lap 60, Crafton spent the next 10 laps getting his rear bumper beaten in by Sauter. Finally on Lap 71, he pulled aside and allowed Sauter to take the inside line, which let him take the lead on Lap 72 and go on to win the second stage.
Christopher Bell, who inherited the lead when Sauter pitted, led the field to green with 89 laps to go. With 79 to go, Crafton got too deep into Turn 3, clipped the curb and spun Bell.
Crafton retook the lead, as a result, and led the rest of the way, until Bayley Currey spun out and planted his truck in the grass, setting up the final 10-lap run to the finish.
Caution flew for the first time on Lap 37 when Nemechek got loose, spun out and slammed the outside wall in Turn 1. The end of the first stage brought out the second caution on Lap 50. The third caution flew on Lap 100 for the conclusion of the second stage. The two-car incident with Bell and Crafton in Turn 3 with 79 to go brought out the fourth caution. A three-car incident in Turn 1 with 64 to go involving Briscoe, Ty Dillon and Justin Hayley brought out the fifth caution. Bayley Currey’s spin in Turn 1 brought out the sixth and final caution with 16 to go.
NUTS & BOLTS
The race lasted one hour, 32 minutes and 55 seconds, at an average speed of 67.932 mph. There were six lead changes among five different drivers and six cautions for 45 laps.
Bell leaves with a three-point lead over Sauter. Austin Cindric and Nemechek leave in the Round of 6 drop zone.