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Gale win Truck race, Buescher claims title

by Pete McCole
Saturday, November 17, 2012

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Cale Gale
Getty Images for NASCAR
James Buescher came within one position of seeing his championship hopes fade away, only to see the his closest competition for the title go up in a shower of sparks to clinch him his first NASCAR championship, while Cale Gale made some sparks of his own in a side-by-side duel with Kyle Busch to claim his first-career NASCAR victory in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Buescher survived a wild final 10 laps of racing to win the 2012 truck title, beating out Timothy Peters by six points to become the 12th different driver to win the title and the second-youngest champion in the 17-year history of the series.

Buescher managed to hold on for a 13th-place finish to win the title by six points over Timothy Peters, having led the points standings for the final three races of season. 

“It wasn’t pretty, it was a little messy,” said Buescher of his performance in Friday’s race. “But I was doing everything I could to keep our Great Clips Chevy going forward.  It was pretty loose and really slick out there.  We struggled finding speed in our truck tonight.  But we did what we had to do to win the championship, and it worked out in our favor.

“Championship or no championship, it was going to be a great year, and to win the championship after winning four races this season makes it an incredible year. We had a shot at it last year, but we came into this year swinging and did a lot of work over the offseason. It definitely paid off. This is definitely the coolest thing I've ever done in racing.”

Despite staying out of trouble all night and keeping the other title contenders at bay, Buescher almost lost it all in the last ten laps, as rookie Ty Dillon sliced his way to the front of the field looking to close the points gap on Buescher.

Following a caution flag with 10 laps to go, Buescher was ninth behind Dillon, who restarted 6th, while Gale was back in 12th after pitting for fresh tires.

Under green, Buescher started to fade back deeper into the field, while Dillon continued his way to the front, making it all the way to second behind Busch with five laps to go – and just one point behind Buescher.

Behind Dillon was Kyle Larson - the recently crowned 2012 K & N Pro Series East champion - who had already led a race-high 48 laps in a spirited battle with Busch and was looking for his first career truck series win.

As the two entered turn four with five laps go, Larson made a run to the inside, forcing Dillon to block, sending both trucks spinning into the outside wall, collecting Ryan Blaney in the process.

Dillon limped back to pit road to assess the damage, but it was obvious his title hopes were over.

“We were in a no-win situation, we just had to go out there and win the race and make something happen, and that's what I was trying to do,” said Dillon, who would fall to fourth in the final points standings. “I'm all right with everything that played out, it's just we were going for it and almost had it.  We were trying to hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth and almost did it.”

After a ten-minute red flag to clean up the mess, the race resumed with Busch jumping back to the lead, clearing second-place Gale on the outside.

Gale battled back, moving up behind Busch’s bumper coming to the white flag and then cutting to the inside coming through turns one and two, going side by side before Gale nosed out ahead coming through turn four.

Gale puts Busch in the wall to win
Getty Images for NASCAR
Coming to the stripe, Busch battled back and tried to squeeze his Toyota Tundra between Gale’s truck and the wall, but Gale was having none of that – he turned his Chevrolet Silverado to the inside and crushed Busch against the wall, throwing up smoke and sparks as the two crossed the line looked side by side, with Gale just edging out Busch by just .014 seconds to become the 16th different winner of the year and ninth first-time winner of the season in the truck series

“It's not my style, but I knew that if I could pinch him (Busch) a little bit that I could get the advantage, and pretty much that's about what I was thinking at that point,” said Gale. “I was just thinking if I could win this race how big it would be and how much it would mean to me and obviously everybody that surrounds me and worked so hard this year

“I've won in everything I've ever raced, and I don't know if I could have lived without winning a NASCAR race because it's all I've ever wanted to do.  And to be able to get that chapter knocked out of my life is a dream come true.”

Busch collected his third top-five finish in just his third truck series start of the season, but will end up with his first winless season in the truck series since 2004.

“I got drove into the fence,” said Busch. “That’s it.”

Joey Coulter came home third in the race and third in the points standings, 13 points behind Buescher. Nelson Piquet Jr. and Miguel Paludo finished out the top five.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 5 33 Cale Gale * Chevrolet Rheem 47/0 140 Running
2 6 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Dollar General 0 140 Running
3 11 22 Joey Coulter Chevrolet Rip-It Energy Fuel 41/0 140 Running
4 4 30 Nelson Piquet Jr. Chevrolet flalottery.com 41/0 140 Running
5 7 32 Miguel Paludo Chevrolet World Diabetes Day / Duroline 39/0 140 Running
6 10 13 Johnny Sauter Toyota SealMaster / Curb Records 39/1 140 Running
7 1 7 Parker Kligerman Toyota Toyota 38/1 140 Running
8 14 17 Timothy Peters Toyota Toyota 36/0 140 Running
9 12 6 Justin Lofton Chevrolet Mercury 35/0 140 Running
10 18 08 Ross Chastain * Toyota Custom Cooling 34/0 140 Running
11 19 11 Todd Bodine Toyota Toyota Care 34/1 140 Running
12 9 88 Matt Crafton Toyota Menards / Ideal Door 32/0 140 Running
13 17 31 James Buescher Chevrolet Great Clips 31/0 140 Running
14 21 39 Ryan Sieg Chevrolet Pull A Part LLC 30/0 140 Running
15 28 151 German Quiroga Toyota NET10 Wireless 29/0 139 Running
16 29 81 David Starr Toyota Zachry 28/0 139 Running
17 22 23 Jason White Ford GunBroker.com 27/0 139 Running
18 30 2 Tim George Jr. Chevrolet Applebee's 26/0 139 Running
19 25 27 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Hillman Racing 25/0 138 Running
20 8 9 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff 24/0 138 Running
21 24 84 Mario Gosselin Toyota Carport Empire / ProBuilt 23/0 138 Running
22 20 101 Jake Crum Chevrolet Bandit Chippers 22/0 137 Running
23 13 8 Max Gresham * Chevrolet Made in USA Brand 21/0 137 Running
24 26 07 Jeff Agnew Chevrolet Wear Your Gear / www.Bobber .info 20/0 136 Running
25 3 3 Ty Dillon * Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats 19/0 135 Running
26 36 225 Travis Miller Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com 0 135 Running
27 2 4 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Earnhardt Ganassi Racing 19/2 131 Accident
28 16 29 Ryan Blaney Ram Cooper Standard 16/0 131 Accident
29 35 57 Norm Benning Chevrolet Gardner Motor Group 15/0 131 Running
30 34 93 Ryan Lynch Chevrolet Blankhood.com 14/0 130 Running
31 32 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Ram Driven2Honor.org / Koma Unwind 13/0 129 Running
32 15 09 John Wes Townley * Toyota Zaxby's 12/0 118 Running
33 33 99 Bryan Silas * Ford Rockingham Speedway 11/0 43 Accident
34 23 220 Dusty Davis * Toyota Speedy Polish / Thunder Exhaust / Millennium VIP Group Inc. 10/0 28 Clutch
35 27 38 Chris Jones Chevrolet RSS Racing 9/0 10 Brakes
36 31 0 Blake Koch Ford Driven2Honor.org 0 3 Transmission

* Denotes Rookie

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