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Piquet passes Crafton on last lap to win at Vegas

October 01, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

LAS VEGAS -- Nelson Piquet Jr. converted a last-ditch, last-lap pass for the lead Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, prevailing in the Smith's 350 to seal his second Camping World Truck Series victory of the season.

Piquet dove low to the inside of Matt Crafton in the first turn and made the winning move stick on the backstretch of the 1.5-mile track. Crafton, whose winless streak stretched to 30 races, finished .223 seconds behind the Brazilian at the checkered flag.

Las Vegas

Results
Pos. Driver Make
2. Matt Crafton Toyota
3. Joey Coulter Chevrolet
4. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet
5. Todd Bodine Toyota

Pole-starter Joey Coulter, who made a bold, three-wide move to briefly lead after the final restart, settled for third after leading a race-high 40 of the 146 laps. Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan took fourth and Todd Bodine rallied from a first-lap spin to finish fifth.

It was the third national-series victory in what has been a breakthrough NASCAR season so far for Piquet, who also won in the Nationwide Series' event at Road America in June and the Truck Series' race at Michigan in August. Piquet twice tried to pull in front of Crafton over the final green-flag run, but made the third time the charm.

"I have no idea what happened," Piquet said. "I had to give it a last try, I stuck it in there and God gave me a little bit more grip on the inside and we made it. It feels great. We really needed this win -- probably the best win of my career. For sure, [one of the] top-five moments of my career."

For Crafton, who led 13 of the last 14 laps except for the final one, the third runner-up finish in the past four races at Las Vegas had an unmistakable sting.

"That sucks, it plain and simple sucks," Crafton said. "We had a great truck and were really good there at the end. He had a real good run there at the end ... but my God, that's a tough one to lose on the last lap."

Ty Dillon finished 10th to keep his lead in the standings by one point over James Buescher, who wound up sixth. Timothy Peters finished eighth and ranks third, 24 points off the top.

Parker Kligerman led 36 laps but was sidelined with 20 laps remaining after his third scrape with the outside retaining wall. The 19th-place result dropped Kligerman one spot to fifth in the series points, 39 points behind Dillon.

Action-sports star Travis Pastrana recovered from a sixth-lap spin to finish 15th in his Truck Series debut.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Nelson Piquet Jr. scored his second career win in his 47th start; first win at Las Vegas in his third start.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. is the third repeat winner of 2012; he won at Michigan, four races in between.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. is the 14th different winner at Las Vegas.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. led four times for 30 laps, including the last one; it's the second last-lap pass at Las Vegas.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. started 13th; the previous six races on this configuration were all won from the top three.
• Nelson Piquet Jr. posted his 11th top-10 finish of the season.
• Turner Motorsports scored its seventh career win, all in 2012.
• Chevrolet scored its 11th win of 2012 and eighth at Las Vegas; both are most of all manufacturers.
• Matt Crafton (second) tied his best-career finish at Las Vegas for the third time, all in the past four races.
• Joey Coulter (third) has finished in the top-10 in nine of the past 11 races this season.
• Brendan Gaughan (fourth) has finished in the top five in his past four Truck races.
• Todd Bodine (fifth) has finished in the top five in the past three races at Las Vegas; it's his fifth top-five this season.
• James Buescher (sixth) has top-10s in six of the past seven races; he's second in points, just one behind Ty Dillon.
• Ty Dillon (10th) posted his 17th top-10 in his 20th career start.
• Travis Pastrana (15th) and Ryan Reed (17th) made their Truck debuts.