Rhodes wins Las Vegas 350
By Lori Vizza
8:08 pm - Las Vegas 350 Wrap – The Las Vegas 350 is in the books and the fans at LVMS were treated to another fantastic NCWTS event with a first-time winner.
That will it for today's coverage. Please join us in 2018, when we welcome the Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Truck Series come together at Las Vegas for tripleheader weekends in March and September.
We’ll see you then!
8:10 pm - LVMS Crowns Another First-Time Winner - Ben Rhodes scored his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Victory in tonight's Las Vegas 350 and he did it in spectacular fashion. The 20-year old driver took the lead on Lap 140 and then held off a determined charge by Christopher Bell, who was seeking his second consecutive victory.
Rhodes and Bell pulled ahead on a late restart while Ryan Truex, Chase Briscoe and Grant Entfinger battled three-wide for the third position.
As the leaders tore out of Turn 4 on the final lap, Rhodes blocked Bell’s final attempt all the way to the infield grass and took the checkers in his 45th series start.
"This is the biggest high of my life," said Rhodes. "I used every play in my playbook. I had to keep him at a distance. It was the most nervous thing I’ve ever done in my life."
With the victory, Rhodes claims a playoff spot in the Round of 6.
Bell, who already clinched a spot in the next playoff round with his win at New Hampshire, had nothing to lose as he battled for the victory.
"That was some intense racing right there," Bell said. "I’m really bummed for my guys. They gave me a piece to win with, but I couldn’t get it done."
Chase Briscoe won the three-way tussle for third but ran out of laps before he could even think about catching up to the leaders.
"This sucks," said Briscoe. "We just got to racing so hard I couldn’t get up to those two guys."
Austin Cindric and Kaz Grala finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
With five races left to decide the 2017 championship, Bell holds a 47-point lead over Rhodes. Matt Crafton, who finished seventh, is in third place, while Johnny Sauter and Briscoe round out the top five.
7:15 pm - Rhodes Wins the Las Vegas 350 - Rhodes makes a bold move to take the lead.
With five laps to go, they're mixing it up behind Rhodes with Truex, Brisco and Entfinger running three-wide for 3rd.
Three laps to go - Rhodes is out front with Bell just a couple truck lengths behind.
Contact between Entfinger and Truex behind the leaders but we stay green.
Bell looks to be a bit faster but Rhodes is holding him off.
White flag - Bell peeks to the outside on the backstretch.
And Rhodes moves all the way to the infield grass to block Bell's last ditch effort on the frontstretch.
Ben Rhodes wins his first career NCWTS victory!
2nd through 5th: Bell, Briscoe, Cindric, Grala
7:02 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 140 Update - Caution #6 on Lap 133. Austin Wayne Self has crashed. And as the caution comes out Nemechek radios to his crew that he is running out of fuel – so apparently way more than 2 laps short.
Nemechek pits before pit road is open, so he'll have to start at the tail end of the longest line. And now Nemechek stalls the engine and he'll need a push start.
Running order under caution n Lap 135: Bell, Truex, Rhodes, Briscoe, Grala, Entfinger, Cindric, Coughlin, JH Nemechek
Back to green on Lap 140.
7:00 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 129 Update - Lap 119 – Haley hits pit road with smoke coming from the engine compartment.
Lap 122 – Entfinger makes his stop and takes two tires and fuel.
Lap 123 – Crafton and Rhodes come to pit road – 4 tires for both. Briscoe stops for two tires only.
Lap 125 – Bell gives up the lead to make a pit stop, handing the lead to JH Nemechek. According to Gere Kennon, the Nemechek's truck may be about two laps short of going the whole way on fuel. But this is Vegas and they don’t call it gambling for nothing.
Running order on Lap 129: JH Nemechek, Bell, Truex, Entfinger, Roes, Cindric, Crafton, Briscoe, Coughlin, Grala
6:48 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 116 Update – Bell is back in the lead on Lap 106.
2nd-5th: Truex, Rhodes, JH Nemechek, Gragson
Lap 108: Gragson gives up his top five running position to make a green flag stop. Gragson was going to wait to pit for another 10 laps or so but he thought he felt a tire going down so he came in early.
And Gragson gets slapped with a speeding ticket. He'll have to serve a pass-through penalty. And he doubles down with a second consecutive speeding penalty. This time he’ll have to serve a stop and go, which will cause him to lose even more track position. Gagson rejoins the race in 16th place, 3 laps behind the leaders
Reaume makes a green flag stop and he receives a speeding ticket.
Top five on Lap 116: Bell, Truex, Rhodes, JH Nemechek, Crafton
6:38 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 90 Update – Lap 84 – Sauter makes an unscheduled pit stop under green for a flat tire after contact on the track. Sauter loses 2 laps during that stop but he'll lose even more track position as he gets popped for a speeding penalty and will have to make a pass through under green. He returns to the race in 19th place, 2 laps behind the leaders.
Lap 89: Battle for the lead as Bell finally gets around Gragson, who is running on those old tires.
Top five on Lap 90: Bell, Gragson, Rhodes, Brisco, Truex
6:30 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 78 Update – The leaders pit on Lap 74.
Gragson chooses to stay out because he made a stop earlier after the multi-truck crash. He'll inherit the lead.
Cindric was forced to take tires after that incident so he pits for fuel and adjustments only and wins the race off pit road. (Cindric’s team asked NASCAR officials for extra tires after their incident but they were denied.)
Running order under caution after stops: Gragson, Cindric, Rhodes, Truex, Briscoe, Bell, Crafton, JH Nemechek, Coughlin, Enfinger
Sauter restarts 13th.
Reaume was the beneficiary.
Back to green on Lap 78.
6:19 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 71 Update - Back to green on Lap 61. Rhodes takes the lead from Bell on Lap 62.
Sauter is making up some ground after that earlier incident and is back up to 8th on Lap 63.
The track is now in full shade as the lights start to come up around the speedway.
Bell pulls up right behind Rhodes to go for the lead but Rhodes holds him off to win the stage.
Caution #5 flag flies on Lap 71 to end Stage #2.
Top 10 under caution: Rhodes, Bell, JH Nemechek, Truex, Crafton, Briscoe, Sauter, Gragson, Cindric, Enfinger
6:08 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 56 Update - Yellow flag #4 on Lap 56 – Cindric spins into the infield on the frontstretch but gets it pointed back in the right direction without any impact.
Running order under caution: Bell, Rhodes, Briscoe, JH Nemechek, Crafton, Truex, Enfinger, Gragson, Grala, Coughlin
6:02 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 48 Update - Running order under the 3rd caution: Bell, Rhodes, Briscoe, Crafton, JH Nemechek, Truex, Enfinger, Haley, Peters
Friesen was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
Anderson was the beneficiary.
Back to green on Lap 48
5:55 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 42 Update - The lead lap trucks hit pit road for service. Briscoe maintains the lead as the drivers leave pit road.
Coughlin and Benning receive penalties for uncontrolled tires.
Haley takes two tires for better track position.
Running order under caution: Briscoe, Bell, Rhodes, Sauter, Haley, Cindric, Crafton, Truex, JH Nemechek
Grala missed his pit stall and had to back up. He came into the pits in 7th and restarts the race 14th.
Back to green on Lap 42 - and we're under caution for the 3rd time for a crash on the restart. Sauter, Friesen, Grala, Gragson, Cindric and Haley were all involved.
5:45 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 35 Update - Yellow #2 flies to end the first segment.
Top 10: Brisco, Sauter, Bell, Truex, Crafton, Rhodes, Grala, Cindric, Friesen, Gragson
We have 20 trucks still running on the lead lap and seven drivers either officially out of the race or behind the wall.
Briscoe has led every lap so far and wins the first stage. It's his second stage win of the season.
5:37 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 20 Update - Top 5 on Lap 15: Briscoe, Sauter, Bell, Crafton, Truex
Snider was evaluated and released from the Infield Care Center after his first lap crash.
5:30 pm - Las Vegas 350 Lap 7 Update - Snider has gone behind the wall. Haley hits pit road under caution to fix some damage he received after contact with Rhodes during the incident on Lap 1.
Back to green on Lap 7 with Briscoe leading the way.
Lap 11 - Pastrana goes behind the wall with a mechanical problem. At the same time, Joe Nemechek heads to the garage, also with a mechanical problem.
5:20 pm - Las Vegas 350 Green Flag - We're just about to get underway but first, a bit of housekeeping – Timothy Peters will start the No. 02 Chevrolet at the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments after qualifying. Peters had qualified 20th fastest but he'll fall back to 29th on the parade lap.
Todd Peck has trouble getting the No. 63 Chevrolet to fire up, so his team will push him back to the garage. That means Peters has already made up one of those lost laps and will now start 28th.
The 146-lap race with take place in three segments with the first ending on Lap 35 and the second ending on Lap 70. That leaves 76 laps in the final stage for the race for the checkers.
Truex starts on the inside of the front row and green flag! Truex slides up high to take the lead from Sauter but only briefly as Sauter gets help from behind and pulls back ahead. and we're under caution for the first time for a spin on the track. It's Myatt who doesn't even get a chance to get going before he loses control going into Turn 3. Brisco comes up with the lead out of that melee while Truex falls back to fifth.
Top five under caution: Brisco, Sauter, Crafton, Bell and Truex
4:40 pm - Las Vegas 350 Pre-Race Notes – The Las Vegas 350 is the 18th race of the season and the second race of the Round of 8 playoffs. Christopher Bell, driver of the Kyle Busch Racing No. 4 Toyota won the first race of the playoffs last week in New Hampshire.
There have been 18 different race winners in the 20 previous NCWTS events at LVMS. No driver has ever won back-to-back events and Jack Sprague (1996, 1998) and Mike Skinner (2006, 2008) are the only two competitors to win more than one series event at the track.
Erik Jones was the youngest series winner at 18 years, 3 months, 28 days in 2014. Ron Hornaday Jr. was the oldest winner at 53 years, 3 months, 25 days in 2011 when he won the race from the pole.
Tyler Reddick set the race average speed record in 2016 at 143.163 mph.
4:20 pm - Ryan Truex Wins the Las Vegas 350 Pole - Ryan Truex won the right to lead the field to green for tonight's Las Vegas 350 with a 177.194 mph lap.
This is Truex's second pole of the season. His first came at Chicago, two races ago. He finished runner-up to Christopher Bell at New Hampshire and is looking for one spot better to score his first career NCWTS victory.
"I just held it wide open," said Truex, with a laugh. "I've got to win still. Hopefully we can put this Tundra in Victory Lane."
Johnny Sauter, who was the third driver to post a second-round time, held onto the provisional pole until Truex knocked him back to second.
"I'm actually thrilled with that because we were 10th after the first round," said Sauter. "If I was in the top-10 somewhere, I was happy. So 2nd is just a bonus."
Chase Briscoe was the fastest qualifying rookie with the third fastest lap of the session.
Starting tonight's event 4th through 12th are: Bell, Crafton, Rhodes, Cindric, Haley, Snider, Enfinger, Friesen and Coughlin.
3:40 pm - Truex Fastest in 1st Round Qualifying - Ryan Truex led the field in the first round of qualifying with a lap of 176.904 mph. The other 11 drivers advancing to the 2nd round to run for the pole are Chase Briscoe, Justin Haley, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell, Cody Coughlin, Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes, Johnny Sauter, Austin Cindric and Myatt Snider.
3:21 pm - Qualifying, Round 1 Underway - We are early into this qualifying session and so far, the No. 44 Chevrolet, with Austin Wayne Self behind the wheel is the early leader. The drivers who were fastest in today's practice sessions will be coming out a little. This is a single car qualifying session run in two rounds. The top 12 drivers after the first round will advance to the second round and run for the pole.
3:15 pm - Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Motor Speedway – No less than six Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders will be making their track debut this event. They are:
Noah Gragson - #18 Toyota – Gragson is a Las Vegas native who is driving for owner Kyle Busch, who is also a Las Vegas native and the truck is sponsored by Switch, a global technology solutions company based in Las Vegas. So a win for this young man would give the local fans plenty to be proud of. Gagson cut his racing teeth on the nearby Bullring when he began racing at the age of 13. His best NCWTS finish is a second at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park earlier this month. His first series start came almost a year ago in November 2016 at Phoenix International Raceway where he finished on the lead lap in 16th.
Austin Cedric - #19 Ford – Cedric is coming off an 8th place finish at New Hampshire last week to make his 24th series start. Cedric is 5th in the playoff point standings and is driving the same truck that Tyler Reddick drove to victory at LVMS in 2016.
Chase Briscoe - #29 Ford – Cedric's teammate at Brad Keselowski Racing, Brisco finished 11th at New Hampshire.
Wendell Chavous - #49 Chevrolet – Chavous finished 18th at New Hampshire.
Kaz Grala - #33 Chevrolet – Finished 10th at New Hampshire and is currently 6th in the playoff point standings.
Justin Haley - #24 Chevrolet – Finished 13th at New Hampshire and scored a season best finish of 3rd at Kentucky Speedway.
12:40 pm - Prequalifying Notes - There have been 15 different NCWTS pole winners at LVMS. Austin Dillon was the youngest at 20 years, 4 months and 29 days, when he won the pole in 2010. Ron Hornaday, Jr. was the oldest at 53 years, 3 months, 25 days, when he won the pole in 2011.
The qualifying record of 178.065 mph is held by Mike Skinner and was set in 2006.
The NCWTS at LVMS has been won seven times from the pole or 1st starting position. Ron Hornaday Jr did it most recently in 2011.
David Starr is the only NCWTS driver to record his first career pole and first career victory at LVMS. He accomplished both feats on 10/13/2002. Johnny Sauter (2009) an John Wes Townley (2015) are the only other two series drivers to post their career victory here.
11:05 am - Grala Leads Final Practice – The final practice session is in the books and Kaz Grala showed the way with a fast lap of 179.045 mph. Las Vegas native Noah Gragson was second fastest, while Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter and Ryan Truex rounded out the top five.
The track will be quiet until 3:10 when the competitors line up for qualifying.
10:00 am - Final Practice Underway - The final 55-minute practice session has just begun but one truck will be spending the first 30 minutes of the session sitting in the penalty box. The 0 truck, driven this week by Matt Mills and owned by Jennifer Jo Cobb, was popped by the NASCAR police for 1) arriving late for inspection at the New Hampshire event last week and 2) missing this morning's rookie meeting at LVMS.
9:45 am - More Fun at the Track - You may have noticed that big gap between the end of this morning's final practice and the late-afternoon qualifying session. Have no fear (of boredom) - this is LVMS and we've got plenty to keep you occupied during that time.
The 3rd Annual LVMS Show & Shine Car Show is taking place just outside the speedway in the Fan Engagement Area from noon till 4:00. Activities include a car show, beer garden, food trucks, pet adoptions by the Animal Foundation and a Kids Zone with inflatables, games, Pinewood Derby, DJ and more. Admission is free for all.
This year, we have relocated the prerace NCWTS driver autograph session to the Fan Engagement Area so you'll be closer to all the action there without having to walk back and forth to the infield.
The autograph session is scheduled to take place from 1:00-1:45.
Here's the list of confirmed drivers:
Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala, Justin Haley, John Hunter Nemechek, Travis Pastrana, Johnny Sauter, Myatt Snider and Ryan Truex.
9:30 am - Sauter Fastest in First Practice - Johnny Sauter led the way with a 179.468 mph lap around LVMS. Rounding out the top five are Ryan Truex, Matt Crafton, Noah Gragson and Stewart Friesen. The crews will have a short half hour to debrief their drivers and get their trucks ready for the final practice session.
9:15 am - Today's Schedule - With just a few minutes remaining in this first practice session, Johnny Sauter is leading the way, followed by Noah Gragson and Ryan Truex.
The remainder of today's on-track schedule:
10:00-10:55 am – Final practice
3:10 pm – Las Vegas 350 Qualifying (single vehicle/two rounds)
5:15 pm – Las Vegas 350 (146 laps, 219 miles)
8:30 am - Race Day Good Morning - Good Saturday morning and welcome to today's live coverage from Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Series Las Vegas.
The teams are prepping for today's first practice session, which is set to get underway any minute now.
There are still tickets available for this evening's race under the lights -- so come on down! If you can't join us in person, please stay tuned right here for all the action as it happens.