NASCAR's best driver Kyle Busch wins again
Kyle Busch continues to stomp the competition in all three of NASCAR’s top three series, nursing an ailing and ill-handling truck to win Saturday’s American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his second victory of the season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Busch took the lead with four laps to go after a thrilling side-by-side battle with Todd Bodine and held off fellow Sprint Cup driver Kevin Harvick by a half truck-length to score his 11th career truck series victory.
Bodine, Mike Skinner and Terry Cook rounded out the top five.
Busch fought a loose truck all day and had to overcome losing both third and second gear in the final laps to pull off the victory.
“The last restart, I stepped on the gas and as soon as I stepped in it and applied power (second gear) snapped too,” said Busch. “I had to go all the way to fourth (gear) and got out of the way so those guys could go and race and fell back to like eighth or tenth. It felt like an eternity to get this thing up to speed and get going.
“Once we got there, I didn’t lift for the final twelve laps, I just stayed in the gas wide open and ran the middle groove and it prevailed
“I don’t think we out-trucked them today, but we out-drove them at the end.”
After taking on tires, Busch and his team elected to stay out and not take on fuel, giving him the top spot over Cook, Colin Braun, Brian Scott and Skinner.
On the restart, Busch lost third gear in his no. 51 Toyota Tundra and Cook powered past on the outside, grabbing the top spot moments before the yellow flag waved for Braun’s hard crash on the backstretch.
Cook led on the restart before being overtaken by Scott, who led one lap before Todd Bodine slipped by with seven laps to go.
Busch managed to get back up to speed having now lost second gear and moved into second, going door to door with Bodine before finally powering past on the outside with four laps to go.
Harvick fought back after a bad pit stop put him deep in the field, overhauling Bodine for the second position with three to go.
Harvick looked to be gaining on the lead as Busch’s loose truck wobbled through the turns, moving right onto Busch’s bumper as they came through turn four, but Harvick’s truck tightened up too much to make up ground on Busch.
“That was a lot of fun, there at the end Kyle just took tires we had to take some gas and got back there in the field,” said Harvick. “Our pit crews were atrocious, if we had come out in front of the 88 (Matt Crafton) and the 30 (Bodine) it would have been a no contest because once we got clear air we were fine, but behind traffic and especially when Kyle got to the bottom and started taking our line, we started getting tight and started to lose grip and lost a little too much ground.
“The truck was fast, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t do a pit stop.”
Bodine’s third-place showing was his third-straight top-three finish, a remarkable feat for a team that still has yet to secure sponsorship and will have to miss next week’s race at Martinsville unless a full-time sponsor comes on board.
“As of right now, we’re not going to Martinsville,” said Bodine. “We don’t have a sponsor, if we don’t have a sponsor, we’re not going.
“In the truck series, you cannot make a star-and-park pay for itself. It’s going to be really hard for anybody to do this series without a sponsor, because you just can’t even come close what the payoff’s are, I think you’re going to see the field dwindle down here as we go along. It’s tough for any of these teams to make it work without any sponsorship and right now it’s hard to get sponsorship.”
Busch retained the points lead in the series by 25 points over Bodine. Mike Skinner jumps four spots to third in the standings, followed by Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Chad McCumbee.
Average Speed: 130.183 MPH
Time of Race: 01 Hrs, 32 Mins, 20 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.122 Seconds
Lead Changes: 15 among 7 drivers
Cautions: 5 for 19 laps
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