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BROOKLYN, Mich. — Saturday’s VFW 200, for Cole Whitt anyway, came down to contact so early in the race that Whitt had plenty of time to earn his eighth top-10 of the season.

Whitt’s No. 60 Fuel Doctor/Red Bull truck and Max Papis’ No. 9 kissed sides on lap two of 100. The right-side damage was heavy enough that Turn One Racing twice serviced the truck — first, just to keep up; and second, to fix a sagging splitter. Whitt fell two laps down.

Through a series of cautions and pit stops, Whitt reached the top 20 for the final fifth of the race, and he avoided the five-car wreck at the front of the field with 10 laps to go.

Back on the lead lap, Whitt noted: “Guess this still falls into the category that no one wants to win this championship, huh?” And crew chief Marcus Richmond replied: “Just you.”

Whitt picked up six positions in the final four laps and two-lap overtime to finish 10th. The rookie still ranks fifth in points, but he picked up eight points on leader Johnny Sauter. He’s 32 points behind Sauter and has 20 to make up on fourth-place Timothy Peters, but only 12 points separate positions 1-4.

“I wish we could have raced for the win like we should have been able to,” Whitt said. “Great job by the pit crew getting us back out there so quickly. A 10th-place finish still keeps us in it.”

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a quick turnaround. On Wednesday night — only four days removed from the Irish Hills of Michigan — Whitt enters Tennessee’s Thunder Valley for a visit to Bristol Motor Speedway.

Follow Red Bull Racing Team on Twitter: @RedBullNASCAR.

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