Daytona: Kyle Busch race report

Breath Holding Battle for Busch and Ballew in Daytona 'Busch Brings Home Best Finish for Ballew in his First NCTS Start at DIS' In a breath holding 100 lap, 250 mile NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Friday, February 15 at the Daytona ...

Breath Holding Battle for Busch and Ballew in Daytona
'Busch Brings Home Best Finish for Ballew in his First NCTS Start at DIS'

In a breath holding 100 lap, 250 mile NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Friday, February 15 at the Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Busch brought home a second place finish missing the win by a mere .007 seconds.

Busch, in the No. 51 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Tundra, made his first start in a NCTS race at the prestigious 2.5-mile superspeedway for Billy Ballew Motorsports and posted a 21st place starting position for the race.

Shortly after the green flag dropped, Busch reported that the truck was not responding with the coil binding set-up causing it to be difficult to turn. Air pressure changes were to be made on the first pit stop and it came on lap 11 allowing the NOS Energy Drink team led by Richie Wauters to make the adjustments.

After the restart the pack continued to run three and four wide around the track at speeds of up to 185 mph. The truck ahead of Busch on the high side was getting a little squirrely and out of shape so Busch moved lanes where another competitor was coming up the track and was tapped from behind. This tap sent Busch into 360 degree spin. Busch spun through the grass but was able to regain control and continue on. The race was red flagged for 17 minutes to clean up the debris on the racetrack. Busch came down pit road when the field was able to continue where the team discovered only minor damage to the left rear quarter panel.

"I was running the top side and bouncing all over the place on these springs here," Busch said. "I tried turning down the race track just a little bit to try to get underneath the 8 (Chad McCumbee) truck and when I did, my front end really bit and turned down the track. If I turned right I probably would have spun myself out or wrecked the 8 (Chad McCumbee), and I didn't know if anyone was still on my inside. I was kind of clear, but I wasn't quite exactly sure. Unfortunately, Mike (Skinner) was there and it caused a big pile-up and I apologize for that to those guys and everybody else whose season got hurt here in Daytona."

The pack continued to battle and at half way Busch reported the Tundra bounced all around the track and wanted to continue to use air adjustments to better the truck.

"I don't know what to do to make it better," Busch said.

"It bounces up and the front pitches sideways in the back."

Continuing to run three-wide, the drivers started to make their deals with the other teams to come in together. Busch's plan was to pit on lap 85 with two other Toyota Tundra's. Busch and his partners came down the track to head to pit lane when the leader darted in as well allowing Busch to pick up the second place spot before hitting the pit road speed line.

With only 15 laps remaining when the leaders pitted, most teams opted for two tires or just a fuel stop but not Busch and the No. 51 team; they took four tires knowing they'd have an advantage and be able to pull out and go for the win. But before Busch had time to make his move, the yellow flag flew for trucks wrecking ahead of him on lap 88 setting up a shootout for the win.

Busch was in the second place position for the restart with only nine laps remaining and looked to be a sure bet to win the event but had to get by the leader and eventual winner Todd Bodine. Busch laid back to try to get a run coming off of turn four where he was the fastest driver in the race averaging a speed of 181.321 mph in the corner. Busch let Bodine get too far ahead and wasn't able to get past Bodine as they took the checkered flag three-wide across the start-finish line with the margin of victory between first and second place .007 seconds.

"It was a lot of fun out there," Busch said. "We wished we would have been able to win the thing but I let Todd (Bodine) get out a little bit too far through turns three and four. I was trying to slow down and let him get out. Then I wanted to build up a run and get back on his inside or outside. I didn't care where I was going to go. Johnny (Benson) was pushing me there for a second and then he pulled out to try and get second-place. Luckily, we were still able to capitalize on that. Overall, it was a good run. We'll take it. We're going to run for points this year, so that's all we need. I have to thank the fans for all coming out tonight: there was a good crowd on hand. These truck races are a lot of fun and when people watch them they get hooked. "

Busch made 60 green flag passes and had five of the fastest laps in the Billy Ballew Motorsports No. 51 NOS Energy Drink Tundra. Ballew's second entry the No. 15 Chevrolet Silverado posted a 13th place finish with Raybestos Rookie of the Year Contender Marc Mitchell behind the wheel.

"We had a great weekend for both trucks," Ballew said.

"I'm really proud of both these teams. Kyle did an excellent job out there holding onto that truck and Marc did one whale of a job in his first race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series."

-credit: bbm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Chad McCumbee , Kyle Busch