Busch 'Starts' on Pole, but Comes from Back To Win at Bristol NASCAR.COM RaceView Driver Leads 116 Laps En Route To 19th Truck Series Victory Technically, Kyle Busch started from the pole in Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200 NASCAR Camping World...
Busch 'Starts' on Pole, but Comes from Back To Win at Bristol
NASCAR.COM RaceView Driver Leads 116 Laps En Route To 19th Truck Series Victory
Technically, Kyle Busch started from the pole in Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
But the driver of the No. 18 NASCAR.COM RaceView Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports had to start last and work his way through the field before leading the final 116 laps en route to his 19th career victory in the Truck Series and his third consecutive at Bristol.
"It's pretty awesome," said Busch, who now has 76 victories in NASCAR's top-three divisions (Sprint Cup --18, Nationwide -- 39, Camping World Truck -- 19) "I have to thank NASCAR.COM RaceView, Toyota, M&M's, Z-Line Designs, Interstate Batteries, Flexco, NOS, Electric Sunglasses, Camping World, what a great series, and of course the fans for coming out here and supporting Bristol on a Wednesday night."
The Las Vegas native turned the fastest lap during afternoon qualifying, but when he came to pit road following his run, a mechanical problem in the engine was discovered that required a minor adjustment prior to the race. While the adjustment was small, because all trucks are impounded after qualifying, any adjustment made by a team requires that the vehicle drop to the back of the 36-truck field prior to the start of the race, per NASCAR rules.
From the drop of the green flag, Busch quickly made his way up to the front and was in the top-20 by lap seven and cracked the top 10 by lap 28. When a caution for oil on the track came out on lap 30, Busch darted to the pits on lap 31 for his only pit stop of the night. The KBM crew changed four tires and stuffed the tank with as much fuel as possible in hopes of finishing the race without having to stop again.
When the green flag flew again on lap 35, Busch was in 22nd place, but he didn't stay there for long. He moved to eighth by lap 48 and was up to second by the 55th circuit around the .533-mile concrete oval. By then, it was just a matter of time and, on lap 91, Busch took the lead under caution when leader Mike Skinner pitted.
Despite leading the rest of the way, it wasn't easy for Busch.
Because he pitted on lap 31, he and the rest of the KBM crew knew that fuel could be an issue if the race was extended due to a green-white-checker finish. In the lead and on the way to victory, a six-truck accident brought out the red flag and halted the race for more than eight minutes just before the checkered flag was scheduled to fly. As he nervously drove his truck around behind the pacecar prior to the final restart, Busch, nor crew chief Eric Phillips were entirely sure there was enough gas in the tank of the Toyota Tundra to make it to the finish.
When the race resumed in overtime on lap 204, Busch hit the gas pedal and the truck responded and he took off in search of victory. Just as he was taking the white flag signaling the final lap, three trucks crashed behind him to bring out the caution. However, because he had already taken the white flag, the race was over and all Busch had to do was complete his final lap under caution and claim the victory.
"It was a really good night," Busch said. "We unloaded and we were pretty decent in practice. It seemed like the tires threw us off just a little bit, but we were able to overcome that. Eric (Phillips) made some good calls in practice and we changed the truck around a little bit. Overall, it was a fast ride, the NASCAR.COM RaceView Tundra. I'm really proud of the way the guys worked all day.
"Unfortunately, we had a miscue with the engine (in qualifying). We qualified on the pole but had to start at the back of the field and drive up through everybody and get up toward the front. We had the right pit strategy. Fortunately, Eric made a nice call to pit when we did. We saved fuel for the rest of the day. I wasn't 100 percent aggressive on saving fuel, but I was 92 percent and we were able to prevail and get up front. We led the most laps and ultimately got to victory lane. Being in victory lane at Bristol is pretty cool."
While Busch is not running the full Camping World Truck Series schedule, the No. 18 Toyota is competing for the owner's title and moved up one position to second in the standings, 68 points behind the first-place No. 30 truck of Germain Racing.
Aric Almirola finished in the runner-up spot behind Busch while Ron Hornaday Jr., Mike Skinner and rookie James Lofton took spots three through five. The rest of the top-10 consisted of Todd Bodine, Brad Keselowski, Timothy Peters, Miguel Paludo and Matt Crafton.
The race featured 13 caution periods for 71 laps, with 12 drivers failing to finish the 147-lap race.
The next event on the Camping World Truck Series schedule is the Aug. 27 EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.