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Piquet Jr. wins at Las Vegas after last-lap pass on Crafton
Las Vegas (Sports Network) - Nelson Piquet Jr. passed Matt Crafton for the lead on the final lap to win Saturday night's Smith's 350 Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Piquet led the way for the final restart with 16 laps remaining, but Crafton took the top position away from him on the following lap. Piquet, though, came roaring back in the closing laps before making his winning pass.
"I knew that the 88 (Crafton) was running a little bit high and was probably tight, so I dove in and managed to keep it down in front of him," Piquet said. "It was either for a win or a wreck."
Piquet beat Crafton to the finish line by 0.2 seconds for his second career win in the series. The 27-year-old Brazilian claimed his maiden truck victory last month at Michigan. He also won his first Nationwide Series race in June at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
After competing in Formula One from 2008-09, Piquet moved over to NASCAR in 2010. His father, Nelson Piquet, is a three-time F1 world champion and a 23- time grand prix winner on that racing circuit.
"This is probably the best win of my career; for sure, one of the top-five in my career," Piquet Jr. said.
Piquet also gave Turner Motorsports its seventh truck win this year.
Crafton was hoping to score his first truck victory at Las Vegas. Instead, the ThorSport Racing driver finished second at this 1.5-mile racetrack for the third time, including a runner-up in last year's event here.
"It sucks, plain and simple," Crafton said. "That's a tough one to lose on the last lap. It's a tough one to swallow."
Joey Coulter finished third after starting on the pole and leading a race-high 40 laps. Brendan Gaughan, a Las Vegas-native, and Todd Bodine rounded out the top-five.
James Buescher, the winner of last weekend's race at Kentucky, took the sixth spot, followed by Cale Gale, Timothy Peters, David Mayhew and Ty Dillon, who managed to hold on to the lead in the championship standings. Dillon has only a one-point advantage over Buescher. Peters is now 24 points behind, while Coulter trails by 38.
The 146-lap race at Las Vegas featured eight cautions, including one for a hard crash that involved Johnny Sauter, Justin Lofton and Miguel Paludo along the frontstretch on lap 115.
Lofton lost control and spun around after he made contact with Paludo. While trying to avoid contact with the outside wall, Lofton's truck slid down the track and right into the path of Sauter.
"I should have just turned right, and put it into the fence," Lofton said. "It was a product of hard racing. The 32 (Paludo) and I were racing really hard."
No one was injured during the incident.
"We got people out here who, quite frankly, shouldn't be racing, and that's how I feel," a frustrated Sauter said.
The Truck Series will join Sprint Cup next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
09/30 00:23:42 ET
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