Last minute strategy call helps JH Nemechek bag his second consecutive victory

Lucy Atkinson

The Camping World Truck Series had made its way to Iowa Speedway for the M&M’s 200 race. The weather was fine and the drivers were raring to fight for the chance to dominate this short-distance track. It was all Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers on the front row for the start of the race – Gragson was on pole and Bell was just behind. The winner though, would be JH Nemechek who took the lead with just six laps left in the race after a strategy gamble well and truly paid off – resulting in a second victory in a row for the young driver.

This was Nemechek’s fifth career victory, despite Bell having led 99 laps and Sauter also being a dominant influence throughout the race. Proof that racing isn’t all about talent, speed and luck, Nemechek’s victory was largely down to strategy as well. The turning point for JH Nemechek was during a the fourth caution that came out with 15 laps to go. Crafton got hard into the outside wall after teammates Crafton and Enfinger crossed paths. It was a tough day for the driver who struggled in practices, but had managed to get within the top ten as this race drew to a close.

Sauter was the only driver to stay out of pit road and his crew chief admitted that he’d made a mistake when he thought everyone else was going to stay out. Sauter was going to have to try to hold onto the top spot despite being on much older tyres, but he only managed to hang onto second. Instead, it was JH Nemechek who went to the point and ran to win his second race in a row after making the call to take four tyres during his pit stop.

This is what Nemechek had to say about his victory:

“Every one of these guys who works on this team, this is awesome. Somehow it all worked out. The last strategy call, taking four tires instead of two, there at the end, we kind of had that strategy if a caution came out towards the end we were going to come no matter what, and no matter who came, just because tires were such a big factor. It feels really good. It was unbelievable for sure.”

Strategy really does make a world of difference. Especially since Stage racing was implemented. Yes, there are scheduled cautions, but as the weeks have gone on – we have seen some bold and bizarre strategy calls that have either resulted in victory or just straight up disaster for drivers and their teams. Drivers have been pitting just before the end of the Stage, just after the end of the Stage, or simply ignoring the end of Stage cautions. There’s also the issue of whether to take tyres, how many tyres to take, and when to pit for fuel. There’s a whole myriad of strategy calls that can come in to play and it’s a gamble every time. One thing for sure is that JH Nemechek’s crew made an excellent call for him to pit and take four tyres during that final caution. Proof that races are never over until they’re over, and anything can happen.