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Published on September 30th, 2012 | by NASCAR Wire Service


Piquet Passes Crafton To Win At Vegas

Nelson Piquet Jr waves the checkered flag on his victory lap after winning the Smith's 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.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.

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.

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