Friday, July 8, 2011

Trucks - Busch Finds a Way to Win at Kentucky

MARTINSVILLE, VA - APRIL 02:  Kyle Busch, driv...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

It didn't seem like Kyle Busch had the truck to win, but, after some great late restarts and some misfortune for most of the other contenders, he cruised to victory in Thursday night's University of Northwestern Ohio 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

Busch started in the rear of the field after missing the drivers' meeting, but quickly charged toward the front, finally taking the lead for the first time on Lap 61.  He led twice for 61 laps, including the last 18.  Toward the end, his was not the fastest truck, but most of the other contenders fell by the wayside.

Polesitter Johnny Sauter passed Busch for the lead on Lap 103, but broke a rear axle while trying to leave his pit on a green-flag stop on Lap 124.  About eight laps later, Austin Dillon challenged Busch for the lead, but his hood came loose and folded back over his windshield.  He had to pit to have it cut loose.

With ten laps to go, Charlie Vest spun.  He didn't hit anything, but NASCAR finally had to throw the caution because he was blocking the entrance to pit road and couldn't get the engine restarted.  About the time the caution waved, Steve Arpin spun straight toward Vest, but he finally had it running again and moved out of the way in time to avoid the collision.

That set up a restart with five laps to go.  Busch got a great restart, but Joey Coulter did not.  He dropped back and bunched the rest of the field up.  Nelson Piquet Jr., another contender, got pushed back in the middle of a three-wide pack.  He got into the rear of the other Brazilian in the race, Miguel Paludo, and they both went hard into the wall.

That set up the green-white-checkered finish.  Again, Busch got a great jump, but Jason White did not.  Busch cruised to victory.  Parker Klingerman, Brendan Gaughan and Todd Bodine got around White to finish second, third and fourth respectively.  White came home fifth.  (Race results)

It was Busch's first win at Kentucky Speedway, his fifth Camping World Truck Series win of the season and the 29th of his career.  It was his 98th national series win, third most all-time.  The race went 152 laps, two past the scheduled distance.

Ron Hornaday made the bonehead move of the race.  After a restart on Lap 76, he was challenging Cole Whitt for fourth place.  Hornaday got loose and came up into Whitt and they both went into the wall.  That would have been the end of it if Hornaday had stayed on the brakes, but he tried to straighten out his heavily damaged truck and keep moving.  He slammed Jack Smith into the wall, then slid down the track and took out John King and Josh Richards.

The series points standings were shuffled a bit.  Sauter stayed in first, and even gained three more points on Whitt (-23).  Dillon (-25) moved up a spot to third.  James Buescher (-32) and Klingerman (-35) each moved up three spots to fourth and fifth respectively as Hornaday (-37) dropped three spots to sixth.

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