Same old, same old: Kyle Busch wins yet another Truck Series race
For the seventh time this season it was Kyle Busch doing celebratory burnouts and bowing to the field after scoring the win in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Busch arguably had the best truck in the field, leading 80 of the 147 laps, but scoring the win was not easy for the driver whose nickname is Rowdy.
Just as Busch was driving away from the field, an incident between John Wes Townley and Tayler Malsam brought out the caution and the leaders to pit road.
With varying strategies, Busch restarted the race in the ninth spot, but wasted no time slicing and dicing his way through the field and up to the second spot behind German Quiroga.
As the field came to two laps to go, Johnny Sauter had to check up for the slow truck of Max Gresham and was sent sliding through the frontstretch grass to bring out the caution and send the race into a green-white-checkered finish.
Taking the green flag, Busch was able to grab the lead from Quiroga with help from behind from Timothy Peters.
As Busch drove away, Quiroga fell through the field and spun hard into the outside wall to bring out the caution flag and end the race.
The victory was the seventh of the year for Busch, 12th victory of the year for Kyle Busch Motorsports and helped Toyota wrap up the manufacturer championship.
"It’s pretty awesome to be in Victory Lane, but I feel really, really bad for Bubba Wallace," Busch said of his teammate who had motor issues earlier in the race. "He was doing everything right tonight. He was really, really fast. Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) and those guys did a great job getting that thing fast, like our Toyota Care Tundra was. It’s a shame to see the motor let go. Can’t say enough about everyone from Toyota, Toyota Care, TRD, this is our manufacturer championship tonight, winning it for Toyota."
Busch admitted he was worried about getting back to the front of the field after pitting for tires in the closing laps, but knew things would work out once he saw where he was lined up on the restart.
VIDEO: Johnny Sauter goes for a late spin at Texas
"When I saw four trucks out there (that did not pit) I only counted four, then all a sudden the 15 (Mason Mingus) popped up and that made it five," he explained. "When I counted four that would put us eighth on the outside, but then the 15 was there and I was ninth on the inside. I thought the 17 (Peters) was in the catbird seat there. I figured he had the perfect strategy — two tires, going to be on the outside, get through those guys and get to the front. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to him, but I got there and that caution came out and got us side-by-side for the restart with the 77 (Quiroga). Just sort of set sail there and held it wide open for the last two laps and the truck was pretty fast."
With Busch taking the win, Jeb Burton, Tyler Reddick, Matt Crafton, Peters, Joey Coulter, Gresham, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Blaney, and Cameron Hayley rounding out the top 10.
Following the race, Johnny Sauter and his crew tried to confront his ThorSport Racing teammate Jeb Burton on pit road. It was the second week in a row Sauter has had a post-race confrontation, as he tried to go after Timothy Peters at Martinsville Speedway.
Burton said he had no place to go when Sauter checked up, and hoped his teammate would understand.
"Right there with Johnny, the 23 (Gresham) — you can see him, he’s sideways and I barely touched (Sauter). I didn’t mean to touch him," said Burton. "That’s the last thing I want to do is to wreck my teammate. He was trying to dodge the 23 and I was right there and stuff happens fast, man. He knows damn well I don’t race like that and that’s the last thing I wanted to do."
For much of the night, the Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks were dominant at the front of the field as Busch and Wallace Jr. swapped the lead between their two trucks.
While other championship contenders had their own issues, Wallace’s great night came to an end with just 41 laps to go when his motor let go running in the second spot.
Leading the most laps on the night up to that point, Wallace was doing exactly what he needed to do to get back in the title hunt, but the motor failure put him behind the wall while the rest of the title contenders remained on track.
Once cleared from the infield care center, Wallace took to his Twitter account to say, "Sorry didn’t wanna talk, heart broken. I have no words, devastated. Thank you all. Too good to be true."
The incident brought out a lengthy caution and red flag period that set up the final run to the checkered flag.
Early in the race, point leader Matt Crafton complained of possible engine issues while running third, but the issue faded as he kept the No. 88 ThorSport Toyota at the front of the field.
Running second when the sixth caution of the night flew with nine laps to go, Crafton took the green-white-checkered restart in the eighth spot, but was able to climb back to fourth.
"We had the second-to-last restart and got four-wide on the top side and one of the trucks below was right below me and decided to drive me up into the fence," said Crafton. "It was either wreck and lose a bunch of points and do something stupid, and I just had to lift. That cost us a bunch, a bunch of spots. We didn’t have enough time at the end."
With Wallace’s issues and separate issues for Ryan Blaney, Crafton was able to extend his point lead to 24 points. With only two races left in the Camping World Truck Series season, the championship battle is down to a two-driver race between Sauter and Blaney.
VIDEO: German Quiroga Jr. wrecks on the last lap after battling late for the lead