BUSCH DOMINATES LUCAS OIL 150 IN BRAND-NEW DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA TUNDRA
AVONDALE, Ariz. (Feb. 26, 2011) - After running second to Clint Bowyer for the first 43 laps of Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway, a lightning-quick four tire pit stop by the Dollar General pit crew helped Kyle Busch win the race off pit road. Busch, who registered a perfect driver rating of 150.0 for the race, assumed the lead on lap 44 and proceeded to lead the final 107 laps en route to his first NASCAR Camping World victory of the 2011 season and 25th of his career.
"We brought a brand new chassis out here, 007, and it's really cool to get a win in our first race with it," said proud Kyle Busch Motorsports owner/driver Busch. "The guys really put their minds together at the shop and the chassis department did a great job making improvements to the truck. We unloaded fast off the truck for practice, qualified decent and ran well. That's all you can ask for. The guys did a great job tonight on pit road. They were phenomenal there. They had some great pit stops. It feels really good to put Dollar General back in victory lane. Rick Dreiling (Dollar General CEO), his wife Ellen and daughter Amy, they're all here with us tonight to help celebrate. All the folks at Dollar General are phenomenal to work with and I love getting them to victory lane! Combos, Flexco, Triad, Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, Camping World for their support of the series. It's great fun to come out here and race with these guys. Electric Sunglasses. The fans! I want to say hey to my kids who are here from the Sunshine Acres Home (Mesa, Ariz.) through the Kyle Busch Foundation. We had about 50 of them here tonight. It was cool to get those kids tickets, thanks to the raceway for that."
The win propelled the defending owners' series champions into first place in the 2011 standings. Under the new points system, the Kyle Busch owned No. 18 leads the No. 2 Delana Harvick entry by one point after two races. Busch's win was his 87th in NASCAR national series competition, tying him with Jeff Gordon for sixth all-time.
After starting the race from the third position, Busch made quick work of second-place Austin Dillon passing him on the first corner of the first lap. The 25-year old driver settled into the second spot as Bowyer began to pull away from the field. He communicated to crew chief Eric Phillips that the No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra was a little free off the exits of turns two and four.
Debris on the track brought out the first caution of the night on lap 43. After beating Bowyer off pit road, Busch chose the inside lane for the restart on lap 49. After narrowly leading the No. 2 truck out of turn two, the Las Vegas native began to slowly pull away from the field with each passing lap. By the time the second caution of the night occurred on lap 58, the No. 18 Dollar General Toyota was 20 car lengths ahead of the closest competitor.
Busch once again selected the inside lane for the restart on lap 63. As the field came off turn two, he began to distance himself from the pack once again. By the time the race reached the halfway mark, the 2007 winner of the event had put two seconds between himself and Bowyer.
As the race continued under green flag conditions, Busch communicated to Phillips that the Dollar General Toyota Tundra was getting tighter through the center of the turns later in the run.
David Mayhew brought out the third caution of the night on lap 101. When pit road opened, Busch came down pit road for four fresh tires with an air pressure adjustment and a full tank of fuel. He and Bowyer raced side-by-side to the timing line at the end of pit road. After reviewing the footage, the official ruling revealed that the Dollar General pit crew had once again won the battle off pit road.
After just two cautions during the first 100 laps, the final 50 laps would be slowed by five cautions totaling 28 laps. On each restart, Busch would start double file from the inside lane but by the exit of turn two would lead the field down the backstretch.
The final eleven laps of the 150-mile race proceeded under green flag conditions. Spotter Eddie D'Hondt calmly informed Busch of the distance between his truck and Bowyer's with each passing lap. The No. 18 Dollar General Toyota slowly pulled away from the defending race winner as Busch collected his second Truck Series victory at the one-mile tri-oval.
Ron Hornaday finished third, followed by Johnny Sauter and Austin Dillon. Rounding out the top 10 were Cole Whitt, Matt Crafton, Justin Johnson, Joey Coulter and Jason White.
Busch, who has won five of the last eight Camping World Series truck races he has entered, will pass the keys to the No. 18 Toyota Tundra over to Kasey Kahne when the series resumes at Darlington Raceway on March 2.