Lady in Black Teases Ickler Before Saying Goodnight Toyota Driver's Run for a Top-Three Finish Spoiled by Late-Race Accident The Lady in Black -- a.k.a. Darlington (S.C.) Raceway -- teased Brian Ickler for 123 of 147 laps of Saturday night's Too...
Lady in Black Teases Ickler Before Saying Goodnight
Toyota Driver's Run for a Top-Three Finish Spoiled by Late-Race Accident
The Lady in Black -- a.k.a. Darlington (S.C.) Raceway -- teased Brian Ickler for 123 of 147 laps of Saturday night's Too Tough To Tame 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race before she decided to lower the boom.
Ickler, the 24-year-old Southern Californian and driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra racetruck for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), was flirting with a top-three finish in his very first visit to the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval that has bitten even the most seasoned veterans behind the wheel. But with 27 laps to go, while Ickler was trying with all his might to hold onto third place with four-time and reigning series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., in his rearview mirror and in pursuit, Ickler made right-side contact with the SAFER Barrier on the outside retaining wall exiting turn two. Three laps later, his right-front tire went down, sending Ickler and his No. 18 Toyota harder into the SAFER Barrier heading into turn three. Ickler limped his racetruck back to pit lane, from where KBM crew chief Eric Phillips sent him to the garage and then called it a night soon thereafter. Ickler placed 21st.
"I got into the wall there racing Hornaday and flat-sided the right side of the truck," said Ickler, who had a pair of top-five and four top-10 finishes in his five previous starts this season for KBM. "We ended up having a fender rub, and that ended up cutting a tire heading into (turn) three, and that just killed it. It was definitely my fault and not how we wanted to run at Darlington. We had a pretty good night going. We're going to pay the price in points for that one."
Ickler started 10th for the 200-mile event -- the Truck Series' first appearance at Darlington since 2004 -- and made steady forward progress from the wave of the green flag. He picked up two positions on the opening lap, was up to sixth by lap eight, and was pretty much a fixture in the top-five from that point forward until his fateful lap-123 accident.
A brilliant restart on lap 62 moved Ickler from fourth to second behind Hornaday. He maintained his second position until pitting for the second and final planned stop of the night under caution on lap 76. While Hornaday and Ickler both took on four tires and fuel, they rejoined the race behind five competitors who took right-side tires only -- in the sixth and seventh positions, respectively. By lap 102, Ickler was up to fourth and, once again, a brilliant restart on lap 109 vaulted him from fourth to second, this time behind eventual race-winner and series point leader Todd Bodine.
Polesitter Timothy Peters was able to get by Ickler on lap 115 to take away second place as Ickler was held up by a lapped truck. That dropped him back to third with Hornaday coming on quickly. Ickler did his best to hold off the veteran, but then came the unfortunate turn of events that began to unfold five laps later.
"Brian did well, overall, for never being here before," said Phillips. "We unloaded and I don't know if we had the best truck. But the guys worked really hard, and it'd been hot all day. We had a fast truck tonight. We just got into the fence a little bit and cut a tire. We probably should've pitted and fixed the tire, so that's probably on me. But Brian did a good job and all these guys keep working hard on this Toyota. I knew the tire was rubbing a little bit, but there was also some debris on the backstretch that NASCAR kept talking about, and since they were paying so much attention to it, I was thinking they were going to throw a caution. But, all in all, it was a good learning experience for Brian, but a tough day for KBM."
While Ickler is not running the full Camping World Truck Series schedule, the No. 18 Toyota is competing for the owner's title and fell one position to third in the standings, 113 points behind the first-place No. 30 truck of Germain Racing and 85 markers back of the second-place No. 2 racetruck of Kevin Harvick Inc.
Bodine's victory in the Too Tough To Tame 200 was his 20th in 155 Truck Series starts, his third of the season, and his first victory and first top-10 finish in two races at Darlington. Peters finished 0.531 of a second behind Bodine in the runner-up spot while Hornaday, Johnny Sauter and rookie Austin Dillon took spots three through five. The rest of the top-10 consisted of Matt Crafton, James Buescher, Stacy Compton, Aric Almirola and Ken Schrader.
The race featured nine caution periods for 37 laps, with 16 drivers failing to finish the 147-lap race.
The Camping World Truck Series is right back at it in just four days with Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.