Kyle Busch Motorsports Earns its Maiden Victory Busch, Dollar General Toyota, Dominate at Nashville; Malsam Finishes 17th Well, that didn't take long, did it? Just four races into its inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Kyle...
Kyle Busch Motorsports Earns its Maiden Victory
Busch, Dollar General Toyota, Dominate at Nashville; Malsam Finishes 17th
Well, that didn't take long, did it? Just four races into its inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) scored its maiden victory by way of a thoroughly dominating performance by team owner Kyle Busch in Friday night's Nashville 200.
The 24-year-old from Las Vegas started from the pole and led 131 of 150 laps in the No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra en route to his 17th career Truck Series victory in his first Truck Series start on the 1.33-mile oval at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn. It was his second victory with Dollar General as a sponsor, as he won the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway driving for Braun Racing.
Meanwhile, Tayler Malsam and the No. 56 Toyota Tundra for KBM put up a solid effort but just could not find a way to overcome a myriad of handling difficulties and came home a frustrating 17th in Friday night's 150-lap affair.
"It feels pretty awesome," said Busch, who qualified second and finished second at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., in the previous best result for KBM this season. "This is so cool -- to win in your own stuff and to have these guys behind me who worked so hard. We've been working some long hours in the shop just getting this truck ready. Eric Phillips (crew chief) did an awesome job with this truck. He gave me a great Toyota Tundra."
After clocking the fastest lap in this morning's opening practice session, then blazing to the pole by a hefty quarter of a second over the rest of the field, the race-winning performance was very matter-of-fact for the young driver who in his relatively short career has amassed 64 victories in NASCAR's top three series -- Sprint Cup (16), Nationwide (31) and Truck (17).
He started cleanly, led the first 77 tours of the 1.33-mile concrete oval before points leader Timothy Peters finally got by him for a relatively brief 17 laps at race's midpoint, then weathered the late-race challenges of Kevin Harvick before taking charge and crossing the finish line .426 of a second ahead of Harvick to end his fellow owner-driver's personal four-race Truck Series winning streak.
"You never know how good you're going to be or how you're going to do," Busch said. "Tonight was a very, very good night for us. Eric did an awesome job with the truck to make it good. We didn't have a whole lot of changes to it during practice. We tried a couple of different things just to see if we could learn something, just to get ready for when Brian (Ickler) comes back here in August. From the get-go, the truck was good. It was fast. We just tried to stay out in clean air and do what we could out there and not get bothered much by traffic. Timothy (Peters) ran a great race. He was really, really fast, there, on the long runs, and I was surprised to see him go by. His truck was pretty good at that point."
"It was pretty uneventful for the most part," added crew chief Phillips. "We had a pretty good truck when we unloaded today. We made a few changes this morning but really didn't do a lot all day. A couple of little air pressure adjustments, but we just tried to keep the thing out front. The guys in the pits did a really good job. We've struggled with that a little bit, being a new race team. I'm really proud of the guys, as hard as they've worked on their pit stops these last few weeks."
Malsam, the 21-year-old from Washington, started 21st but worked himself into the top-15 just six laps into the race and stayed in that relative position for the rest of the evening despite a slew of handling difficulties.
"We were all over the map," said Malsam, who saw a solid top-10 finish disappear less than two laps from the finish by a cut tire last weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. "It felt really awesome to see Kyle win the way he did. That will hopefully swing the momentum in our direction. For some reason, this track and I just have never seemed to get along. Our next race (at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City) is at a track I like a lot."
Behind Busch and runner-up Harvick was Ron Hornaday Jr., Peters and Todd Bodine in spots three through five. Matt Crafton, Mike Skinner, Aric Almirola, Stacy Compton and Rick Crawford completed the top-10.
The race featured two caution periods for 10 laps, with four drivers failing to finish.
While Busch and Brian Ickler are sharing the No. 18 Toyota over the 25-race Truck Series season, the team is competing for the owner title and gained one spot to take third in the standings, 36 markers behind the new series-leading No. 2 entry of Kevin Harvick Inc. Ickler, who finished third last weekend in his KBM debut race at Martinsville, will be back in the No. 18 Toyota at the next Truck Series event May 2 at Kansas.
Malsam, competing in all 25 races in the No. 56 Toyota, dropped one spot to ninth in the driver championship standings, 197 points behind Peters, the series leader.
The next event on the Camping World Truck Series schedule is the May 2 O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway.