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Busch Edges Almirola in Talladega Photo Finish

NASCAR Truck race
Saturday, October 30, 2010

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In the closest finish in series history when using electronic scoring, (0.002 seconds) Kyle Busch passes Aric Almirola for the win on the final lap in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnny Sauter finished third
Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
Kyle Busch surged past Aric Almirola a fraction of a second before the two drivers reached the finish line to win Saturday’s Mountain Dew 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

The victory was Busch’s sixth in 13 starts in the series this year, his second at Talladega and the 22nd of his career, but it left Almirola feeling robbed, after Busch appeared to cross the yellow out-of-bounds line between the apron and the racing surface while making the winning pass.

Busch’s margin of victory of .002 seconds tied Ricky Craven’s Sprint Cup win over Kurt Busch at Darlington in 2003 for the closest finish in any of NASCAR’s top three series since the introduction of electronic timing and scoring in 1993. Johnny Sauter ran third, followed by Matt Crafton and Ricky Carmichael.

Almirola met with NASCAR officials after the race but still wasn’t clear on the interpretation of the yellow-line rule.

"I just went and talked to them, and the reason they gave me was that Kyle’s truck was sideways when he was next to me, and that’s what made him go below the yellow line," Almirola said. "I didn’t force him below the yellow line, they didn’t tell me that I did. They said that he went below the yellow line because he was trying to regain control of his truck. I guess they’re going to have to do a better job elaborating in the driver’s meeting on what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.

"I guess if you get out of control and you go below the yellow line and save it and still gain a position, that’s OK. I’m still confused, and I’m still disappointed. I probably shouldn’t even be doing interviews right now because I’m obviously biased because I finished second. … A part of me feels like I let my guys down, and we didn’t win, but a part of me feels like I got robbed."

Busch said he wasn’t even aware of the yellow line as he raced Almirola for the win.

"I was so busy watching the mirror and the 13 truck (Sauter) and seeing where he was and trying not to run into the side of the 51 (Almirola) and trying to get away. I was just sideways. The yellow line never even crossed my mind there at the end."

The yellow-line rule figured prominently in the Oct. 5, 2008, Cup race at the 2.66-mile racetrack, when Regan Smith was demoted from first to 18th for passing race winner Tony Stewart below the line on the final lap. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton explained the sanctioning body’s decision not to penalize Busch.

"Right at the start/finish, due to side contact, him (Busch) and the 51 got together when he went below the 51," Pemberton said. "It (Busch’s truck) was spinning sideways and he was correcting it. It was just contact. There was plenty of room. There was almost two truck-widths.

"It’s not like he got pinched down there or not like he put himself down there where there wasn’t any room. The contact happened way back on the racetrack. The contact is what got him down there. He wasn’t forced down there because of a lack of room. He got down there because of the door-to-door contact.

"We looked at it two or three times. We had three or four camera angles, and there was absolutely no question whatsoever."

Neither driver, however, felt there was contact between the trucks as they raced toward the stripe.

Chris Fontaine held the lead when Norm Benning’s No. 57 stalled on the track to cause the fourth caution of the race on Lap 86. Fontaine restarted at the front of the field on Lap 89 with Busch beside him. Busch surged into the lead before the end of that circuit, only to be passed on the outside on Lap 90 by Aric Almirola and Johnny Sauter.

Almirola was out front a lap later when Grant Enfinger turned series leader Todd Bodine and ignited a wild wreck that ended with polesitter Ron Hornaday Jr.’s No. 33 Chevrolet sliding through the tri-oval on its roof.

The accident ended an adventurous day for Bodine, who saw his points lead over Almirola shrink to 216 points with three races left in the season.

Note: With the win, Busch, the owner of his No. 18 Toyota, took a 42-point lead over Bob Germain’s No. 30 Toyota (driven by Bodine) in the owners’ standings.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 18 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Traxxas / Toyota Tundra 190/5 95 Running
2 5 51 Aric Almirola Toyota Red Top Collector Car Auction 175/5 95 Running
3 8 13 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet FarmPaint.com / Curb Records 165/0 95 Running
4 11 88 Matt Crafton Chevrolet Australian Gold / Menards 165/5 95 Running
5 7 4 Ricky Carmichael Chevrolet Monster Energy 155/0 95 Running
6 9 31 James Buescher Chevrolet Wolfpack Rentals 150/0 95 Running
7 15 17 Timothy Peters Toyota Wiss Metal Cutting Tools 146/0 95 Running
8 3 3 Austin Dillon * Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Remington Arms / Tracker 142/0 95 Running
9 2 23 Jason White Toyota GunBroker.com / Pursuit Channel 143/5 95 Running
10 19 46 Craig Goess Toyota Greenville Toyota 134/0 95 Running
11 4 2 Ken Schrader Chevrolet Moore's Marinade 135/5 95 Running
12 13 181 David Starr Toyota Zachry 127/0 95 Running
13 16 5 Mike Skinner Toyota Exide Batteries 129/5 95 Running
14 27 93 Mike Garvey Chevrolet S&W Towing 121/0 95 Running
15 14 60 Narain Karthikeyan Chevrolet SafeAuto Ins.Co. / Wyler.com 118/0 95 Running
16 28 153 Justin Hobgood Chevrolet Alabama Cattlemen's Association 115/0 93 Running
17 23 47 Donnie Neuenberger Chevrolet Plan B Technologies 112/0 93 Running
18 10 30 Todd Bodine Toyota Valvolline 109/0 93 Running
19 6 84 Chris Fontaine Toyota Glenden Enterprises 111/5 92 Ignition
20 32 28 Andy Lally Chevrolet FDNY Racing 103/0 92 Running
21 1 33 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet E-Z-Go 2Five Street Legal Vehicle 110/10 91 Accident
22 12 95 Grant Enfinger Ford BeasleyAllen.com / Roush Yates 97/0 91 Accident
23 21 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb * Ford drivenmale.com / DriverBoutique.com 94/0 91 Running
24 26 39 Ryan Sieg Chevrolet S&W Towing 91/0 91 Running
25 34 48 Bryan Silas Chevrolet ProGold 88/0 86 Running
26 25 07 Tony Jackson Jr. Chevrolet ASI Limited 85/0 77 Radiator
27 20 9 Max Papis Toyota GEICO 82/0 59 Accident
28 35 00 Dominick Casola Chevrolet Koma Unwind Chillaxation Drink 79/0 56 Susp.
29 30 89 Mike Harmon Chevrolet Blue Ox / Lafferty Performance 76/0 38 Engine
30 29 57 Norm Benning Chevrolet Norm Benning Racing 73/0 33 Brakes
31 31 85 Brent Raymer Ford Blast-It-All / Ford. Drive one. 70/0 26 Axle
32 24 6 Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevrolet Firestop / FW1 / Fuel Doctor 67/0 22 Accident
33 17 7 Justin Lofton * Toyota VisitPIT.com 64/0 22 Accident
34 22 12 Mario Gosselin Chevrolet Accell Construction / TireMonkey.com / James Carter Attorney 61/0 18 Engine
35 36 124 Jerick Johnson Chevrolet Lafferty Performance 58/0 6 Electrical
36 33 172 John Jackson Chevrolet James Carter Attorney / SponsorTheTruck.com 55/0 5 Oil Pressure
* Denotes Rookie

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