Nelson Piquet Jr. did a masterful job of saving fuel over the closing laps and scored the first Camping World Truck Series victory of his career in the VFW 200 Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
Piquet won the race by a whopping eight seconds over Jason White, who also was working a fuel-saving strategy over the closing laps.
Piquet had a 15-second lead over White with five laps remaining and slowed dramatically to preserve fuel for the final 10 miles. His truck ran 43 laps with its final fuel load.
Completing the top five were Dakoda Armstrong, Parker Kligerman and James Buescher.
“It’s finally an amazing moment that I made it in the Truck Series,” said Piquet, a native of Brazil. “I think if we were second or third in the championship (he’s ninth), I would have been more concerned. But I said, ‘Let’s just go for it,’ and we went for the win.”
Crew chief Chris Carrier made the decision to pass up the final scheduled pit stop and take a chance on Piquet’s fuel lasting through the 100th lap.
Piquet also is a winner in the Nationwide Series.
Kurt Busch and Piquet got together while racing for the lead earlier in the race, sending Piquet into a spin and eventually into 15th place. He rallied quickly to move into the top five.
The day was an adventurous one for former series champion Todd Bodine, who was involved in two incidents, the second of which sent him to the garage for the rest of the race.
On lap 47, Bodine produced the third caution of the day as he spun at the exit of turn two after an encounter with John Wes Townley.
Five laps later, Bodine slipped as he exited turn four and slammed the wall, heavily damaging the rear end of the truck.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.