It almost appeared that Kyle Busch having to start last – and going a lap down – in Saturday night’s Baptist Health 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was akin to the NASCAR Gander & RV Outdoors Truck Series all-time winningest driver giving everyone a head-start.
But even that challenge wasn’t enough to keep Busch from victory. He added to his record series win total – extending that mark of excellence to 58 trophies, taking the checkered flag 2.847-seconds ahead of Tyler Ankrum, Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott and Johnny Sauter in a dramatic final restart with six laps remaining.
Todd Gilliland, Austin Hill, Christian Eckes, Matt Crafton and Ty Majeski completed the top 10.
As the race played out, with a caution coming out with 12 laps to go, some drivers were able to pit for brand new tires and others – such as Busch – put on a barely-worn set making for a suspenseful final restart that did not disappoint. Busch was able to hold off the field – prevailing in a three-wide fight for the lead – and earn his third career win at the Homestead 1.5-miler.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]“You’re always concerned about tires being better and having the opportunity to out-show you, but I felt like six laps was just the right amount, any more than that and it probably would have been a different outcome," said Busch, who drove the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.
“I knew the Cessna Beechcraft Toyota Tundra here was going to be awesome. Thanks to TRD and Rowdy Energy, everybody that helps us here and makes us so fast and want to say thanks to Big Machine Hand Sanitizer as well, they were on the quarter panel the last two weeks and we didn’t win and now they’re not here and we won."
Busch was originally penalized for failing inspection – forced to start last in the 38-truck field then take a “drive through" penalty through the pits on the first lap. While he was starting to make his way up through the field, the defending Homestead winner and Saturday night’s polesitter Austin Hill took control of the race.
Hill, Florida-native Ross Chastain and Grant Enfinger fought for the early-race advantage and Chastain earned the opening stage victory. Busch was ninth on the ensuing restart and moved to second place in only one lap, ultimately taking the lead for the first time on Lap 39 of the 134-lap race.
Chastain won the opening stage and Busch rallied from his early race challenge to win the second stage.
Busch held the point easily through caution periods and challenges – leading Hill by 3.5-seconds with 40 laps remaining. When a final caution came out for Jordan Anderson’s truck with 12 to go – most of the leaders pit for tires and those such as Ankrum and Elliott, who had brand new sets made up a lot of ground and earned top-five finishes.
Busch collects his 211th NASCAR national series victory – most all-time. It was also Kyle Busch Motorsports sixth series win at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Toyota's 11th series win at the 1.5-mile track.
Austin Hill extends his points lead to 44 points over second place Christian Eckes and 48 points up on two-time winner Grant Enfinger in third.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 51 Cessna Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 1st
How concerned were you with other trucks restarting behind you with fresher tires?
|Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Cessna Toyota, leads a pack of trucks|
|Michael Reaves/Getty Images|
“You’re always concerned about tires being better and having the opportunity to out-show you. Felt like six laps was just the right amount and anymore than that, it probably would have been a different outcome. Can’t say enough about this Cessna Beechcraft Toyota Tundra, it was awesome tonight. It’s been awesome all year, we’ve just had some fluke things that have kind of taken us out of the running. The last restart there with Ross (Chastain) behind me, he got a good launch and I got a good shove from him down the frontstretch and then there was room there in the middle for him. Obviously, here we go. Had to give him room and we just tried to race it out on the outside and see what happens off of turn two. Just able to get that momentum off the outside. I didn’t lift much through the corner and just got that run and then those guys got side-by-side and that let me get away. Really good race for us and proud of everybody at KBM, proud of the effort. I know we’ve got issues and we’ll continue to work on that and get better."
Was this good medicine for the last couple races after being able to make it back from the penalties to start the race?
“Yes and no. We’ve thrown away the last two races. This is how we’re supposed to perform and run and look. The deal with the infraction was a fluke deal, that’s how these trucks were allowed to run last time we were down here in Homestead. This thing has just been sitting on the side waiting for me to get behind the wheel of it and it didn’t go to the fab shop so it didn’t get a bar cut out that was legal here last year and not legal here this year. Not sure there was a performance advantage to it, just something we’ve been running and not allowed to do it anymore."
What was your mindset going into the race knowing you had to start at the back of the field?
“Nothing we were going to do about it so we just had to work on what we had thrown at us and what we were going to have to overcome. I knew the Cessna Beechcraft Toyota Tundra here was going to be awesome. Thanks to TRD and Rowdy Energy, everybody that helps us here and makes us so fast and want to say thanks to Big Machine Hand Sanitizer as well, they were on the quarter panel the last two weeks and we didn’t win and now they’re not here and we won. I think there’s something to that and I am a bit superstitous. Just trying to remain calm and knowing that we had a fast piece. We actually thought and we timed it out, that I was going to be a lap down. When it all shook out to where I wasn’t a lap down, we were like, ‘Okay, let’s just roll here, we’re going to be fine and that changes the complexion entirely of what we thought we were going to have to do.’
Was this track different in June than what we normally have in November?
“I don’t know. I haven’t run the November race in a long time because I’ve been eliminated from being able to run that race. This engine package, I’ve never run here before so definitely some differences and definitely some things that we planned for and I think we were right on. It seemed like the track was really loose tonight and we were really loose. We actually went loose for awhile and then it kind of came back to me at the end and I just could check out. It was real interesting how the runs played out there. Again, our 51 Tundra was awesome."
Can you translate anything to tomorrow?
“I think you can a little bit, but with the daytime, it’s going to be slick. It’s going to be way different than what we were here last time. We thought last time it was slick, but it’s going to be slick. From what I expected it to be, there’s definitely less throttle on time. I would expect tomorrow to get a little more racey and be a little more out of the gas like we saw at Atlanta."
Can you take us through the day starting with the penalty in inspection?
“I guess some rules were changed over the off-season and the truck we ran tonight I think ran here at Homestead last year and they just put it off to the side knowing that I would be in it in March. It’s now June, but still it never made it’s way to the fab shop for some updates or for some bars that needed to be cut out due to NASCAR changing the rules. We missed it and came down here with that bar in there and I guess they wanted to prove a point. We had a big penalty, probably bigger than it would have been if there had been another driver in the truck. We’ll take it and move on. We kicked everybody’s ass anyways. Great night for our Cessna Beechcraft Toyota Tundra. It was cool to get out there and run as we should and how we know KBM ttrucks have the speed to do."
What will be your final truck race this season and why?
“With all the schedule changes and stuff like that, it was originally supposed to be Kansas. That is Cessna’s home and they’re from not to far away up the road and we would have really liked to have been able to put on a show in front of them and their fans and people that support their NASCAR program and coming out to support the race. Obviously, no fans allowed anymore and Kansas turned into a doubleheader so switching a driver out puts them to the back on the second day so we didn’t want to do that. So we moved our race to Charlotte from that one, but my next one will be Texas. I’ll finish up at Texas and that will be it."
Are you comfortable with no Cup practice at Talladega next weekend?
“I think it would be more of an issue with the engine tuners and knowing whether or not we guessed correct on the gear. Then obviously whether they can guess right on the fuel mapping of the engine, stuff like that with it just being different RPM and essentially less horsepower. I think it’s going to be something more challenging for them than for us drivers. I don’t think any of us would have any problem with it."
Do we need practice or some type of testing with changes in tires and some rules?
“I think they enjoy it the way it is right now with obviously some guys coming in and hitting it and some guys coming in and missing it. Most notably if you have your big name guys missing it such as ourselves with the 18 car, then it’s a bigger story and it’s a bit more interesting to watch and to see if we can overcome and come back from our deficits that we keep putting ourselves in so early in these races with the M&M’s Camry. As far as myself and the 18 and if I were to say what we wanted. It’s funny, if I say it, we’ll never get it so I shouldn’t say it. We would prefer to have a practice, whether it’s 30 minutes, 50 minutes, 60 minutes, whatever it is, but just one set of tires to be able to go out there, get a baseline, run some laps, check our heights and make sure our cambers and stuff are all set and good because so far that’s where we’ve been missing it the most I feel like. We’ve come to some of these race tracks over-cambered on the right-front and we’re really making the right-front tire mad. That’s what happened in Bristol for us. We still ran good, but it was still not right and then also Martinsville, that was definitely our problem. We just couldn’t overcome it once we got that lap down and then we went two laps down and then we were one lap down. We were all over the place. One set of tires and one practice would certainly bode well for us."
Were there any other drivers tonight that impressed you?
“I can’t say that I really ran along with anybody. Ross (Chastain) was pretty good there in that second stage when we were running with him. He had some early speed in the runs, but wasn’t capable in the long runs. I felt like our truck was really fast in the long runs and had good balance the longer we went actually. Felt good about my truck, but really didn’t get a chance to run around many others."
How different does it feel racing at Homestead with it not being the championship race weekend?
“Everything is so different right now that nothing feels normal. You come to the race track, there’s no fans, it’s very empty. It feels like you’re here for a test session, test races or something. I remember we did test races at Charlotte a few years ago when they first came out with this new generation car. It’s kind of similar to that I guess, nobody in the grandstands. Overall, being down here this time around with no championship on the line is certainly different. I remember coming here last time, we did win the championship so I left here with another championship trophy, which was awesome. It’s kind of a little bittersweet you could say that we’re not racing with that opportunity right now. Overall, I feel like it’s just like any other race now that there’s not that pressure on the line and this race tonight was definitely a lot slicker because of the hot race track and definitely different than it’s been the last couple times we’ve been here."
You’ve claimed you’ll leave the Xfinity Series after 100 wins, how long will you continue to race in the Truck Series?
“Trucks, as long as I’m allowed to race and my name is on the door, I’ll be running as many as I possibly can. You’re not going to get rid of me. Maybe one day they’ll lax the rules again and I can run more or maybe one day I’ll just come run trucks like Mark Martin did after he was done with his Cup stuff and I’ll go run all the truck races and get a truck championship so who knows."
|1||2||51||Kyle Busch(i)||Cessna Toyota||134||82||0||Running|
|2||11||26||Tyler Ankrum||May's Hawaii Chevrolet||134||0||35||Running|
|3||15||44||Ross Chastain(i)||Circle Track Warehouse Race Parts Chevy||134||2||0||Running|
|4||16||24||Chase Elliott(i)||HendrickCars.com/Summer Silverado Sale!||134||3||0||Running|
|5||10||13||Johnny Sauter||Vivitar Ford||134||0||32||Running|
|6||18||38||Todd Gilliland||SpeedCo Ford||134||0||42||Running|
|7||1||16||Austin Hill||United Rentals Toyota||134||29||46||Running|
|8||4||18||Christian Eckes #||Safelite AutoGlass Toyota||134||17||40||Running|
|9||13||88||Matt Crafton||Jack Links/Menards Ford||134||1||34||Running|
|10||21||45||Ty Majeski #||Plan B Sales Chevrolet||134||0||27||Running|
|11||14||4||Raphael Lessard #||Mobil 1 Toyota||134||0||30||Running|
|12||20||15||Tanner Gray #||Turtle Beach Construction Ford||134||0||25||Running|
|13||32||11||Spencer Davis #||Hearn Industrial Services Toyota||134||0||24||Running|
|14||19||52||Stewart Friesen||Halmar Racing To Beat Hunger Toyota||134||0||25||Running|
|15||7||19||Derek Kraus #||ENEOS/NAPA FILTERS Toyota||134||0||25||Running|
|16||31||22||Austin Wayne Self||GO TEXAN/AM Technical Solutions Chevy||134||0||21||Running|
|17||3||98||Grant Enfinger||Farm Paint/Curb Ford||134||0||29||Running|
|18||5||99||Ben Rhodes||Tenda Pet Care Ford||134||0||33||Running|
|19||26||30||Brennan Poole(i)||RememberEveryoneDeployed.org Toyota||134||0||0||Running|
|20||8||2||Sheldon Creed||Chevy Truck Month Chevrolet||134||0||18||Running|
|21||24||4||Cory Roper||CarQuest Ford||134||0||16||Running|
|22||28||20||Spencer Boyd||Hairclub Chevrolet||134||0||15||Running|
|23||29||2||Tate Fogleman #||Solid Rock Carriers Chevrolet||134||0||14||Running|
|24||30||0||Angela Ruch||TrueHardwoods.com Toyota||134||0||13||Running|
|25||27||56||Tyler Hill||RoofClaim.com Chevrolet||133||0||12||Running|
|26||22||33||Gray Gaulding||MSG Motorsports Safety Group Toyota||133||0||11||Running|
|27||34||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet||132||0||10||Running|
|28||12||9||Codie Rohrbaugh||Grant County Mulch Chevrolet||132||0||9||Running|
|29||35||49||Ray Ciccarelli||Springrates Automotive Chevrolet||131||0||8||Running|
|30||33||68||Clay Greenfield||Rackley Roofing Toyota||122||0||7||Running|
|31||25||3||Jordan Anderson||Bommarito.com/Lucas Oil Chevrolet||120||0||6||Accident|
|32||37||55||Dawson Cram||Long Motorsports Chevrolet||111||0||5||Trans|
|33||23||7||Korbin Forrister||Nursing Home Caregivers Toyota||95||0||5||Accident|
|34||36||6||Norm Benning||H & H Transport Chevrolet||89||0||5||Handling|
|35||17||40||TJ Bell||Cypress Ridge Hunting Preserve Chevrolet||70||0||5||Accident|
|36||9||23||Brett Moffitt||CMRroofing.com Chevrolet||20||0||5||Accident|
|37||6||21||Zane Smith #||ProAm Racing Products Chevrolet||19||0||5||Accident|
|38||38||34||Bryant Barnhill||RBR Graphics Chevrolet||1||0||5||Trans|