Brian Ickler was running fourth in the early stages of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Smith's 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when his No. 18 Tundra got loose and made contact with the outside wall. The Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) over-the-wall crew was able to repair the minor damage to the right front fender, but Ickler then found himself mired in the back of the pack.
The San Diego native was slowly moving his way back through the field until his day came to an abrupt end after being collected in a hard crash on lap 29. Ickler was relegated to a disappointing 28th-place finish in his final scheduled start of 2011.
"Today was just a case of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time," said Ickler, who registered two top-five finishes in four starts this season. "The Toyota Tundra drove great during practice but it was a little hotter today. The track was pretty slick and we were really loose in traffic. I made contact with the wall early and we were forced to pit to repair the fender. With all the slipping and sliding going on, being in the middle of the field wasn't the best place to be and it ended up costing us. It was a disappointing day and a tough one in the owners' point standings for this team."
Ickler, who rolled off the grid from the eighth position, picked up two spots on the first lap and by lap 10 found himself in fourth. On lap 12, the 26-year-old driver made contact with the Turn 4 wall causing damage to the right front fender of the No. 18 Tundra that created a tire rub.
Debris on the track slowed the field and allowed Ickler to bring his No. 18 to pit road under caution. The KBM over-the-wall crew was able to pull out the fender, put on right side tires and return their driver to the track without losing a lap.
The race restarted on lap 16, with the No. 18 Tundra scored in the 27th position. By the time the next caution occurred on lap 22, Ickler had made his way back into the top 20, but communicated that his Tundra was still ill-handling. When pit road opened, he down pit road for a chassis adjustment, a full tank of fuel and returned to the track scored in the 13th position.
Shortly after the restart on lap 29, David Starr and Ricky Carmichael got together battling for fourth. The contact sent Ricky Carmichael's truck to the apron entering Turn 1 and once the truck hit the apron, Carmichael came back across the track in the middle of Turn 1 into Ickler's path along the high line of the track. The front end of the No. 18 Tundra slammed into the back of Carmichael's truck while the rear end was plowed into by Miguel Paludo, who was tucked behind Ickler and had nowhere to go.
Ickler was observed and released from the infield care center with no injuries, but the No. 18 Tundra was severely damaged and unable to return to the race.
Ron Hornaday Jr., the winningest driver in Truck Series history, picked up his 51st -career win. Matt Crafton finished second, .629-seconds behind Hornaday Jr. Timothy Peters finished third, Johnny Sauter came home fourth and Todd Bodine fifth. Nelson Piquet Jr., David Mayhew, Cole Whitt, Brendan Gaughan and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top-10 finishers.
There were 10 caution periods for 44 laps, with 14 drivers failing to finish the 146-lap race.
The No. 18 Tundra remains second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owners' point standings, but now trails KHI's No. 2 team by 73 points with four races remaining on the 2011 schedule.