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THREE TAKEAWAYS: DC SOLAR 350 at LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

The DC Solar 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway served as the battleground for the second race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs. However, in the end, a Chase contender was not the one in Victory Lane. Tyler Reddick, who missed the playoffs this year, stayed up front all race long and clinched his first victory of 2016.

Outside of Brad Keselowski’s Racing first win of 2016, there were a few interesting notes coming out of the Nevada-based track. Here are three takeaways from race two of the Chase….

Victory Elusive to Hemric

After tire issues had plagued Daniel Hemric last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the No. 19 team proved they are not going down without a fight. Starting sixth Saturday night, Hemric and his BKR teammate Reddick traded the lead through most of the event with the Kannapolis, NC native leading a total of 38 laps. However, his stellar performance began to fade as the laps ticked down. The 25-year-old slipped back in the top-five as Reddick grabbed the lead. Hemric managed to climb back to second, but couldn’t reach Reddick who led by several car lengths.

With a win, Hemric could have automatically advanced to the next round of the playoffs. Instead, he will enter Talladega seventh in the point standings, tied with John Hunter Nemechek, 15 points away from sixth.

Crafton Rebounds from Penalty

Matt Crafton’s night did not start out well as he struggled with the handling during the first run, falling outside of the top-10 after starting second. His night then went from bad to worse; under caution at Lap 38, his team suffered a pit stop mishap. As the team changed the tires, one of them fell outside their pit box, resulting in an uncontrolled tire penalty. The infraction pushed them back to 18th, forcing him to start at the tail-end of the longest line for the restart.

Nevertheless, the Tulare, CA native was able to get a good handle on his truck and steadily advanced back into the top-10. In the end, the No. 88 team finished eighth and currently sits third in the point standings, 25 points above sixth.

Custer on the Cusp of Victory

While the 18-year-old driver hasn’t won a race this season, he has certainly come close. Saturday night was no exception. Starting third, Cole Custer spent most of the race inside the top-5 and at one point battled for the lead. While BKR drivers took home the top two positions, the No. 00 grabbed third – their fifth top-five of the year.

Custer, along with Reddick, is further proof non-Chasers are still in the hunt for wins and won’t give in to their championship chasing competitors.

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By Stephanie Adair

Stephanie Adair, a high-school student from St. John’s, Florida, is dual-enrolled in college working toward a degree in Converged Communications. As a contributor to POPULAR SPEED, she enjoys joining her love of writing with her passion for motorsports.