NCWTS: Truckers Get Physical In Canada; Nemechek Edges Custer In Photo Finish

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John Hunter Nemechek (8) slammed into Cole Custer coming to the line and ultimately won the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. (Steven Ellis photo)

John Hunter Nemechek (8) slammed into Cole Custer coming to the line and ultimately won the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. (Steven Ellis photo)

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario — In a wild, woolly and physical NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stop in Canada, John Hunter Nemechek forced his way by Cole Custer on the final turn of an overtime finish, driving Custer to the grass and slamming doors with the young gun en route to his second win of the season.

Nemechek and Custer came together and off-roaded their trucks through the grass coming to the line, with Nemechek beating out Custer by .034 of a second despite Daniel Hemric originally being scored as the race winner.

The green-white-checkered finish was actually set up by back-to-back cautions inside of 10 laps to go. The first incident occurred on a restart with eight laps to go, when Kaz Grala went spinning into the wall off the exit of turn one, and the second came with four to go when Travis Kvapil’s truck stalled at the same spot on the course.

On the final restart, Nemechek spun his tires and lost momentum as Custer got away, with Spencer Gallagher following Custer through to assume the runner-up position. It took Nemechek a full lap, but he got back to second at turn seven — passing Gallagher down the Mario Andretti Straightaway — and gave chase to Custer for the win.

Once Gallagher spun coming off the final corner to the white flag, it was between Custer and Nemechek, with Custer holding a solid lead all the way through turn five.

But by the time the duo got back to turn seven, Nemechek was looking to pass Custer the same way he had passed Gallagher. Nemechek stalked the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet through turns eight and nine, giving him a shot before moving him clean out of the groove in turn 10.

Drag racing to the line, Nemechek turned left into Custer and the duo rode into the grass together — neither showing up on timing and scoring as they crossed the line due to being off the track limits, resulting in a lengthy NASCAR officiating review to officially determine the winner.

Ultimately it was Nemechek who emerged with his second win of the season over Custer, who was in desperate need of a win to clinch a spot in the Chase and finished a painful second.

After the race, Custer showed his displeasure by tackling Nemechek to the ground on the front straightaway right where they got together, with the fight quickly broken up by officials and Custer escorted back to his pit stall.

John Hunter Nemechek celebrates his win in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. (Tom Szczerbowski/NASCAR photo)

John Hunter Nemechek celebrates his win in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
(Tom Szczerbowski/NASCAR photo)

After leading 20 laps total on the day, Nemechek minced no words in victory lane, taking responsibility for the contact but also not apologizing for the way he won the race.

“I caught the 00 (Custer) there and we didn’t wreck him for the win. Rubbin’s racing,” said Nemechek of his third career win in his 45th start. “If I would have been in the same spot he would have done same thing to me. You have to do everything you can to get a win here.”

“I don’t know if I’ll sit down and talk with him. We’ll see where it goes. If we have a conversation, we will. If not, we won’t. We got the win today, and that’s a big thing for our team.”

A runner-up result was bitter for Custer, who led a race-high 39 laps and would have qualified for the Chase with the victory. Instead, he sits on the outside looking in with one race remaining to qualify for the playoffs.

“We had a really fast truck and just got taken out,” Custer lamented. “He hit me going into the second to last corner and then he hit me again. I don’t know what else to do. That’s how it is I guess.”

Finishing third was Hemric, who tagged his Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Austin Cindric around in the final corner.

Two time season winner Matt Crafton and Christopher Bell trailed in fourth and fifth.

Tyler Reddick, Johnny Sauter, Ben Kennedy, Cameron Hayley and William Byron rounded out the top 10.

Ben Rhodes brought out the first caution of the race at lap eight, spinning before crashing into the tire barriers to end his day. He finished 30th, tying his worst result of the season.

The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event will be on Sept. 16, with the running of the American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway — the final race before the inaugural Truck Chase.

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