LAS VEGAS – Nelson Piquet, Jr. made a daring last-lap pass on Matt Crafton to win Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Smith’s 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Piquet had the lead during a restart with 16 laps left, but slipped to second during a battle with Crafton and polesitter Joey Coulter. After dispatching Coulter, Piquet then set his sights on Crafton.
With five laps to go Piquet looked to the inside of Crafton’s No. 88 Toyota, but Crafton took his line away and broke his momentum. Piquet backed off for a lap before closing back in on the bumper of Crafton.
Crafton kept to the high side while Piquet continued to run low. That method allowed Crafton to maintain his lead as the pair entered turn one on the final lap. Piquet once again looked low as they entered turn one and managed to get enough of a run to clear Crafton as he exited turn two.
Crafton tried to return the favor, but Piquet managed to pull away in the final two corners to score his second series victory.
“I have no idea what happened,” a stunned Piquet said in victory lane. “I thought I would get one last try. I stuck it in there and God gave me a little bit more grip on the inside and we made it. It was great. We really needed this win. Probably the best win of my career.”
Crafton was understandably frustrated following his second-place finish.
“It sucks. It plain and simple sucks,” Crafton said. “They said the 30 (Piquet) was running the top so I moved to the top so I could try and keep up the momentum that he was. He got a real good run there off of four. I can’t thank these guys enough. That is a tough, my God, that is a tough one to lose on the last lap.”
Coulter ended up third after leading the most laps Saturday night. Hometown favorite Brendan Gaughan finished fourth ahead of Todd Bodine in fifth.
Ty Dillon leaves Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship leader by one point over James Buescher.