NASCAR Truck Series at Atlanta 2016 Results: Winner, Standings and Reaction

Daniel KramerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2016

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 27:  John H Nemechek, driver of the #8 farbe technik Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Great Clips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

John Hunter Nemechek restarted first on a green-white-checkered finish and held on to claim his second career win in Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

Restarting second, John Wes Townley spun his tires coming to the green and blocked the rest of traffic as cars came up to speed. Nemechek held on from there.

After taking the checkers, Nemechek burned it down on the front stretch, as NASCAR Trucks showed:

Here is a look at the final results:

NASCAR Truck Series at Atlanta 2016—Results
FinishDriver
1John Hunter Nemechek
2John Hunter Nemechek
3Timothy Peters
4Timothy Peters
5Grant Enfinger
6Ben Rhodes
7John Wes Townley
8Parker Kligerman
9Caleb Holman
10Spencer Gallagher
11Rico Abreu
12Austin Hill
13Tyler Young
14Tyler Reddick
15Ben Kennedy
16Austin Wayne Self
17Cole Custer
18Garrett Smithley
19Brandon Brown
20Ryan Truex
21Timmy Hill
22Justin Marks
23Travis Kvapil
24J.J. Yeley
25Tommy Joe Martins
26Christopher Bell
27Carlos Contreras
28Johnny Sauter
29Jennifer Jo Cobb
30Matt Crafton
31Daniel Suarez
32William Byron
Source: NASCAR.com

Saturday’s Great Clips 200 was clean for most of the 120-lap affair until the final 18 laps, when twice the leader was involved in a wreck.

Just after a restart with 18 to go, Daniel Suarez and Matt Crafton collided when racing side by side for the lead coming out of Turn 2. Just behind the pair, Christopher Bell bumped Suarez as they hit the backstretch, which sent his teammate spinning into Crafton, who twisted around and slammed the outside wall. 

Here is a look at the replay, courtesy of NASCAR Trucks:

“Ran out of talent,” Crafton said over his radio, though it’s unclear who the two-time Truck Series champion was referencing.

“I think it’s easy to explain—our teammate turned us around. I don’t know why,” Suarez said in an interview with Fox Sports 1.

Four-time Truck Series champ Ron Hornaday Jr. credited NASCAR and Atlanta Motor Speedway for the safer barrier addition on the racetrack:

On the next green-flag run, Bell slammed into the Turn 4 wall when blowing his right front tire at roughly 140 miles per hour while leading by one second with eight laps remaining. His tire likely cut because of the contact he made with Suarez.

Bell also had an issue on the same wheel earlier in the race but recovered nicely and seemed to be en route to his second career win.

The 21-year-old rookie was hospitalized last week following a violent last-lap wreck at Daytona in which his car barrel-rolled 10 times at the fastest point on the track. Here is a replay of the incident, courtesy of NASCAR Trucks:

Christopher Estrada of NBC Sports gave Bell kudos for rebounding in the span of a week before eventually cutting his tire and leaving the race:

Bell made his living in the lower lane Saturday, powering through the field and eventually catching Crafton for the lead between Turns 3 and 4 with 37 to go.

But he relinquished the lead when a yellow waved and the 20-minute caution clock—a new installation in the Truck Series this year—expired with 25 to go.

When pitting with the rest of the field, Bell overshot his pit box after the sun got in his eyes as it set over Turns 1 and 2. He lost only four spots, but his crew was upset—particularly because of how important track position is at Atlanta.

On the ensuing restart, Bell tangled with Suarez and Crafton.

William Byron might’ve challenged for the win if it weren’t for a blown engine he suffered while running in second place.

Matt Weaver of Autoweek Racing shared the exchange Byron and his crew had just after he blew up:

Here is a look at the updated Truck Series standings after Saturday's race:

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series—Standings
RankDriverPoints (Behind)
1Parker Kligerman55 (Leader)
2Daniel Hemric54 (-1)
3John Hunter Nemechek52 (-3)
4Timothy Peters49 (-6)
5Tyler Young47 (-8)
6Ryan Truex45 (-10)
7Brandon Brown43 (-12)
8Ben Rhodes43 (-12)
9Grant Enfinger42 (-13)
10Johnny Sauter41 (-14)
Source: NASCAR.com

With the win, Nemechek qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup—NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. The Truck Series is off for all of March before resuming at Martinsville on April 2. 

The lengthy hiatus isn’t common, and it’ll be interesting to see whether drivers have to shake off rust when they reach NASCAR’s shortest track after consecutive weeks at Daytona and Atlanta, two of the fastest on the circuit.