The past few weeks have been a frustrating time for Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Over in the Camping World Truck Series, where Busch is running his traditional part-time schedule, it’s been pure bliss.
Busch’s bliss continued in Thursday night’s truck race at Kentucky Speedway where the team owner/driver withstood a stiff challenge from Darrell Wallace Jr. on the race’s final restart with eight laps left to capture his fifth truck win in as many starts this season.
Busch’s race-winning truck measured too low in the front during postrace inspection, however, and NASCAR officials plan to further evaluate the dominant Toyota next week at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.
Starting from the pole after skipping the two previous truck events, Busch lost the lead on Lap 2 to Wallace — his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate — but regained the top spot on Lap 36 and set sail, ultimately leading 91 of 150 laps.
Wallace, the series’ most recent winner, finished second ahead of Ryan Blaney and Timothy Peters.
Busch’s biggest challenge on the night, not surprisingly, came from fellow Sprint Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski, who overcame problems on pit road to round out the top five.
Busch saw a comfortable lead vanish when debris on the backstretch brought out the caution flag with 11 laps remaining, bunching up the field and setting up the final restart. While several drivers — including Keselowski — in the back half of the top 10 elected to hit pit road for tires, Busch opted for track position, and the decision proved wise. Busch drove away on the restart after beating back the advances of Wallace, who pulled alongside for the better part of a lap before Busch moved ahead for good.
"This Dollar General Toyota was awesome," said Busch, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks have won six of the season’s eight races. "Proud to see the first KBM 1-2 (finish) — that’s really cool for me, too, as an owner and (wife) Samantha."
Wallace, who two weekends ago at Gateway Motorsports Park scored his second career victory in Busch’s absence, enjoyed having the chance to race his team owner for the win this time.
"He knew what he was doing," Wallace said of Busch’s final restart. "He’s so cool to work with. I wouldn’t want to be with anybody else. I tried to make the most of it. He’s good, he’s good."
Blaney, the son of Sprint Cup Series veteran Dave Blaney, scored his third top-five finish in the past four outings but was none too pleased with the outcome.
"Kyle, that whole program’s been really great all year and Kyle has shown it," said Blaney, who is in his second full truck season with Brad Keselowski Racing. "We’re close to them but we still need to find a lot to get Kyle. At the end of the day we’re not happy with third and we’re not happy to see that same truck in Victory Lane."
Johnny Sauter finished ninth to remain the series points leader over ThorSport Racing teammate and reigning series champion Matt Crafton, who finished sixth and now sits eight points back of the leader.
Peters (-11) moved up a spot to third, ahead of Blaney (-12) and all-time series wins leader Ron Hornaday (-13).
Next up for the Camping World Truck Series is the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway on July 11.