Check this page often for blogging directly from the Gateway Motorsports Park infield media center. Starts Saturday morning! Need NASCAR and ARCA race news? Get it here from Kenneth Roberts, a veteran industry professional!
In the area? Listen to tonight’s #D4LM200 on WBGZ 1570 AM / 94.3 FM in Alton, Illinois. At the track: 107.1 FM.
11:20 p.m. John Hunter Nemechek gave his dad and truck owner Joe Nemechek an early Father’s Day present when John Hunter took the lead with four laps remaining and pulled away to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park.
“Today was a very special day for us,” Joe Nemechek said. “I’ve tutored him the best I know how and tried to teach him all the right values and it’s up to him to do it on the race track. He’s been able to take it and take it to the next level.”
Hunter Nemechek, who qualified second, grabbed the top spot from Matt Crafton in Turns 1 and 2 on the 156th lap and held off pole-sitter Chase Briscoe.
The 20-year-old Nemechek, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet, raced to his first victory of the season and fourth in the series. Joe Nemechek is a former NASCAR driver, who raced Saturday night but finished 28th in the field of 30 trucks.
“I was hoping there would be a caution there with 10 or 12 laps remaining because I thought we had the truck to beat if we had track position,” said Hunter Nemechek. “We made the call on the green flag pit stop to take two tires and I felt like that was the call to make when the guys in front of us took no tires and we were right behind them. We were running them down.”
Nemechek made his final pit stop of the night on lap 131 and took two tires and fuel even though the team had a minor problem with their jack release during the stop.
That didn’t prevent Nemechek from making his eventual winning move although he had to work for his way through the field as he came out in fifth place.
Nemechek slowly worked his way to the front moving into fourth with 20 laps left. He was third when the only caution flag of the night came out when Josh Reaume stopped on pit lane after running out of fuel.
On the restart on lap 155, Nemechek took the lead over Crafton and never looked back.
“I got a run on Crafton and was able to get by him,” Nemechek said. “I just tried to run a smart race. We’ve had really fast trucks this year. Hopefully our luck has changed now.”
Nemechek led 48 of the 160 laps and beat Briscoe by 1.635 seconds. Series points leader Johnny Sauter finished third, followed by Crafton and Grant Enfinger. Defending race champion Christopher Bell wound up sixth.
Briscoe, who won the second of the two stages and led the most laps at 88, made a pit stop on lap 150 during the caution and took on four tires and fuel.
That stop pushed the rookie back to 13th but he ran out of time as he tried to catch Nemechek.
“The first two laps after the restart I had too much front brake in it and it kept locking the wheels up getting into (Turn) one,” Briscoe said. “The amount of distance I lost cost us there in the end. It was tough and it would have been tough even with those first two laps (on the restart).
“I don’t know if we would have gotten the 8 (Nemechek), but I feel like we would have been so much closer than we were.”
Nemechek dominated the first part of the race lead the first 39 laps and he won the first of the two stages. But a slow pitstop dropped him to fifth as he gave up the lead to Briscoe as the second stage began.
Briscoe won the second stage, holding off Crafton, Nemechek, Grant Enfinger and Bell. After that only two drivers _ Crafton (16 laps) and Justin Haley (three laps) held the point. Everything else belonged to either Nemechek or Briscoe.
There was only one official caution period in the race, on Lap 148 when Josh Reaume stopped on pit lane after running out of fuel. The race took 1 hour, 47 minutes 18 seconds to complete and the average speed was 111.836 miles per hour.
9:35 p.m.: John Hunter Nemechek won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park.
He beat pole sitter Chase Briscoe, series points leader Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Grant Enfinger. Christopher Bell, who won last year’s race, finished sixth.
9:19 p.m.: With 20 laps remaining, Matt Crafton is the leader followed by pole sitter Chase Briscoe and defending race champion Christopher Bell.
There still hasn’t been any yellow or red flags.
8:30 p.m.: Pole sitter Chase Briscoe won the second stage holding off Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek, Grant Enfinger and defending race champion Christopher Bell.
Nemechek was the first stage winner.
The first 70 laps of the 160-lap race have been completed in 48 minutes. There have been no yellow or red flags.
8:29 p.m.: Pole sitter Chase Briscoe was the second stage leader with five laps remaining in the stage.
He is ahead of Matt Crafton, first stage leader John Hunter Nemecheck, Grant Enfinger and Johnny Sauter.
There haven’t been any yellow or red flags at this point as the trucks have sped through the first 65 laps in about 45 minutes.
8:06 p.m.: John Hunter Nemechek won the first stage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 Saturday night at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Nemechek, who started second, led all 35 laps of the stage. Pole sitter Chase Briscoe was second followed by Matt Crafton, defending race champion Christopher Bell and Ryan Truex.
But Nemechek lost four spots on the ensuing pit stop falling back to fifth giving up the lead to pole sitter Chase Briscoe. Crafton was second, Austin Cindric third and Johnny Sauter was fourth.
8 p.m.: With 10 laps to go in the first stage, John Hunter Nemechek remains the leader, followed by Briscoe, Crafton, who moved to third, Gilliland and Bell.
7:52 p.m.: With 25 laps to go in the first of three stages of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’s For Linemen 200 John Hunter Nemechek was the leader followed by pole sitter Chase Briscoe and Todd Gilliland, Matt Crafton was fourth and defending race champion Christopher Bell was fifth.
7:45 p.m.: The green flag is waving as the fourth annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’s For Linemen 200 has begun under sunny skies with some high clouds.
Pole sitter Ty Majeski won his second straight ARCA Midwest Series Illinois Lottery 50 at Gateway Motorsports Park Saturday evening.
Majeski, who won the pole earlier in the day, also won last year’s race.
“I knew our car was good,” Majeski said. “You don’t know what cars are going to do 40 laps into the race.”
Even though Majeski, 22 of Seymour, Wisc., who will be making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut for Roush Fenway Racing at Iowa Speedway next weekend, wonSaturday’s pole he actually had to start 15th after ARCA official inverted the top 10 qualifiers then used a dice roll.
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 some 25 laps on it.
That pit stop made Majeski go 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.”
As if starting in the back weren’t bad enough, ARCA officials had a competition caution flag with eight laps remaining and Majeski trailing leader Dan Fredrickson of Lakeville, Minn.
Majeski got around Fredrickson and two laps to go and managed to hold Fredrickson off. Paul Shafer of Portage, Ind.was third.
Austin Blair, 17 of Fairview Heights and the son of Gateway general manager Chris Blair wound up 13th.
Rookie Chase Briscoe is the pole sitter for tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Briscoe, 22, who drives the No. 29 Checkered Flag Foundation Ford for Brad Keselowski, set a new Gateway track record in the winning the Keystone Light Pole Award.
He had a lap of 32.888 seconds at 136.828 miles per hour. It is Briscoe’s second pole in eight races this season. It is his first pole at Gateway.
WWE superstar wrestler Baron Corbin was supposed to wave the green flag for the ARCA Midwest Series Illinois Lottery 50 race Saturday evening at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Corbin, 32, an alum of Northwest Missouri State, who is from Lenexa, Kan., is in town for Sunday’s WWE Smackdown “Money in the Bank” wrestling event at the Scottrade Center.
But because the race was a timed event and officials for ARCA, NASCAR and Gateway feared some impending weather moving into the area would run into the television time for the NASCAR Drivin’ for Linemen 200, the race was started about 15 minutes early from the 6:10 p.m. starting time.
The early start forced Corbin, who was scheduled to appear at 6 p.m., to miss the start of race.
But a red flag on the first lap stopped the race allowing Corbin (real name Thomas Pestock) to fulfill his duties.
“I got to restart them and get ‘em running,” said Corbin, who has attended races at Kansas Speedway. “It was pretty surreal experience. I didn’t expect that kind of energy when I was up there (in the starters stand).
“When those cars start humming, it’s a different world. It’s a whole different world when you’re standing on top of the cars and they’re running around. It was pretty cool. It was a cool experience.”
Corbin, at 6-foot-8, 275 pounds, had to make sure he didn’t fall out of the starter’s stand.
“You’re standing up and don’t drop the flag, don’t fall over this, these cars are movin, they’re loud, they’re fast,” he said. “It’s exciting.”
430 p.m.: Defending race champion Ty Majeski, 22 of Seymour, Wisc., won the pole for the ARCA Midwest Tour Series Illinois Lottery 50 race set for 5:45 p.m.
He had a time of 32.925 seconds at 136.674 miles per hour around the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park oval.
Majewski, who was second in the series’ only practice session earlier on Saturday, is a development driver for Roush Fenway Racing and will make his NASCAR Infinity debut next weekend at Iowa Speedway.
“We unloaded with a really close setup from last year,” Majeski said, who also won the pole last year here. “We did some little things to the body. Real minor things. It seemed to work out really well.”
One thing Majeski’s team didn’t do that a lot of other teams do in a practice is make a mock qualifying run.
“There is just really no point,” he said. “Everybody makes the show. We knew our car had speed. We felt like we had a pretty good (car) balance. So we didn’t feel like we needed to.”
Majeski said his car was able to win the pole despite having some fuel pressure issues.
“These straightaways are so long and we run on two barrels (carburetor) (instead of four barrels) sometimes the motor starves for fuel,” Majeski noted. “We changed the fuel pump, spark plugs and we did a few other things. It seemed like we got it figured out for qualifying.”
Climbin’ for Linemen competition winner Jason Novak.
Defending champion Jason Novak, 47 of Goreville, Ill., won the Climbin’ for Linemen championship rodeo Saturday afternoon at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Novak, a lineman for Ameren Illinois who works out of Marion, bested 33 other competitors in pole climbing, eggs and buckets and a hurt-man rescue.
“We’ve got a pole in the yard and they (the company) let’s us practice off hours,” Novak said. “There’s some good competition out there. You’ve got to keep in shape. “There are guys out there half my age. So I try to keep up with them. Everybody’s getting faster. It gets harder and harder.”
Novak had the fastest time for the hurt-man climb (1 minute 5 seconds) and in the speed climb (1:15). He was also perfect in the speed climb with no points deducted (all competitors started with 100 points and had points deducted for mistakes made along the way).
The most interesting part of the rodeo is the hurt-man competition where all linemen start with no tools on their waists.
They must get their tools on and climb the pole. They then tie off the 185-pound mannequin that has been hurt in the line of duty. The competitors then must lower the mannequin to the ground in a controlled manner “without breaking his legs,” Novak said.
Another interesting aspect of the rodeo is the pole climbing with an egg. The competitors must take their empty bucket and egg to the top of the pole and exchange the bucket with another bucket and put the egg in their mouths.
They then must get down the pole without breaking the egg. If the egg breaks, the competitors finish with egg on their faces and points are deducted.
Novak was lucky he didn’t finish with egg on his face.
“There were a few broken today,” he said. “I was fortunate not to. (I have broken) quite a few over the years, though.”
The rodeo is a fund raiser held at several different venues for families whose loved ones were killed in the line of duty.
“It’s for all the families and for taking care of the wives and kids who are left behind,” Novak said. “I couldn’t think of another job I’d rather do. I went into it blind. God blessed me and I got lucky. I found a career I love.”
3:05 p.m.: The ARCA Midwest Tour Series has had its Illinois Lottery 50 race at Gateway Motorsports Park moved to 5:45 p.m. because of impending weather.