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Eckes claims first career NCWTS win, playoff drivers have issues

LAS VEGAS — In his 44th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, Christian Eckes finally earned his most sought-after title: NASCAR winner.

Eckes led the final four laps and won after passing Todd Gilliland on Lap 130.

“My whole career has been leading up to this,” Eckes said. “There has been some ups and some downs, a lot of downs, but I’m happy we got here.”

Eckes bested teammates Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter in a Thorsport Racing 1-2-3-4, a first for the organization that started racing the series in 1996.

Rhodes took the points lead from John Hunter Nemechek by six points. Nemechek had electrical issues that pushed him to a 33rd-place finish, 51 laps down.

Zane Smith, Carson Hocevar, Chandler Smith and Sheldon Creed were the other playoff drivers who had issues.

Zane Smith made contact with Nemechek on Lap 40 and sustained damage that put him back to a 29th-place finish, 19 laps down.

Chandler Smith and Sheldon Creed each sustained significant damage in a Lap 72 wreck where Tyler Ankrum spun, Smith him and Creed hit Smith as he was trying to avoid the wreck.

Smith and Creed finished 35th and 36th, respectively.

Hocevar finished 22nd, two laps down after having a flat tire on Lap 125 and spinning on Lap 127. However, NASCAR deemed that Hocevar intentionally spun to bring out the caution which drew a 1-lap penalty.

Stewart Friesen earned a problem-free sixth-place finish.

Bubble watch: Ben Rhodes (+34 over 5th place Sheldon Creed), John Hunter Nemechek (+28), Stewart Friesen (+9), Matt Crafton (+5), Sheldon Creed (-5 behind Crafton), Carson Hocevar (-16), Zane Smith (-19), Chandler Smith (-24).

The next race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is Oct. 2 at Talladega Superspeedway (TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET).

SOURCES: NASCAR, Racing-Reference.Info

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