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NASCAR's best driver Kyle Busch wins again

by Pete McCole
Saturday, March 07, 2009

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Even without two gears Kyle Busch can beat anyone in NASCAR
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com

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.”

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort Toyota crosses the finish line in front of Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 2 Charter Chevrolet
Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
Busch and Harvick dominated the race, leading a combined 101 of the 130 laps in a race to looked to be coming down to a fuel mileage race, until a caution flag on lap 115 set up the final round of pit stops.

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.

Results

Fin

Str Trk Driver Team Lap Pts BPts Status LLd
1 1 51 Kyle Busch Miccosukee Resort Toyota 130 190 5 Running 33
2 3 2 Kevin Harvick Charter Chevrolet 130 180 10 Running 68
3 4 30 Todd Bodine Tilted Kilt Toyota 130 170 5 Running 18
4 8 5 Mike Skinner Exide Batteries Toyota 130 160 Running
5 17 25 Terry Cook Harris Trucking/Toyota Tundra Toyota 130 160 5 Running 4
6 11 07 Chad McCumbee ASI Limited Chevrolet 130 150 Running
7 5 33 Ron Hornaday Jr. VFW Chevrolet 130 151 5 Running 3
8 23 40 Mike Bliss Oakland Metal Buildings Chevrolet 130 142 Running
9 18 1 Johnny Benson Red Horse Racing Toyota 130 138 Running
10 24 16 Brian Scott Albertsons Toyota 130 139 5 Running 1
11 12 88 Matt Crafton Tide/Menards Chevrolet 130 130 Running
12 19 11 T J Bell Jr. Red Horse Racing Toyota 130 127 Running
13 29 81 Tayler Malsam # One Eighty Toyota 130 124 Running
14 13 10 James Buescher # International Maxx Force Diesel Ford 130 121 Running
15 21 17 Timothy Peters Strutmasters.com-Hayes Iron & Metals Toyota 129 118 Running
16 2 14 Rick Crawford Circle Bar International Truck Engine Ford 129 115 Running
17 22 24 David Starr Zachry/Toyota Tundra Toyota 128 112 Running
18 16 13 Johnny Sauter # Fun Sand-R. Atkins-Curb Records Chevrolet 128 109 Running
19 20 60 Stacy Compton Wyler.com/Melling Engine Parts Toyota 127 106 Running
20 10 9 Max Papis GEICO Toyota 127 103 Running
21 15 4 Ricky Carmichael # Monster Energy Chevrolet 126 100 Running
22 7 7 J R Fitzpatrick # Mammoet Chevrolet 126 97 Running
23 26 15 Shane Sieg Phoenix Construction Toyota 126 94 Running
24 32 90 Gabi Dicarlo Great Clips Toyota 125 91 Running
25 25 48 Bryan Silas Rockingham Speedway Chevrolet 123 88 Running
26 9 6 Colin Braun Con-Way Freight Ford 118 90 5 Accident 3
27 14 23 Jason White GunBroker.com Dodge 103 82 Engine
28 6 8 Dennis Setzer Malcolmson Construction Chevrolet 73 79 Accident
29 30 85 Brent Raymer # buygeorgiacabins.com Ford 44 76 Vibration
30 36 57 Norm Benning D3Outdoor.com-Artic Cat/Shodeen Chevrolet 31 73 Vibration
31 34 47 Brandon Knupp FT 11 Multi-Purpose Degreaser Chevrolet 27 70 Vibration
32 31 12 Mario Gosselin James Carter, Attorney at Law Chevrolet 17 67 Ignition
33 35 87 Chris Jones # Copy Wizard Chevrolet 15 64 Engine
34 33 08 Butch Miller ASI Limited Chevrolet 13 61 Brakes
35 27 21 Johnny Chapman GunBroker.com Dodge 11 58 Rear End
36 28 72 Clay Rogers Chevrolet 10 55 Drive Shaft
# = Rookie, Fin = Finish, Str = Start, Pts = Total Points, BPs = Lap Leader Bns Pts,  LLd = Laps Led
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
Attendance: 40,000

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