NCWTS: Same Old Story; Rowdy Busch Banks Seventh Truck Win of Season at Texas

Jacob Seelman Featured, NASCAR, West 0 Comments

FORT WORTH, Texas — Race report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR¬†photo —

Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway, it was the same story we’ve seen six times before this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. It was just a different verse.

Kyle Busch surged to second on a late-race restart after pitting for fresh tires, then blasted past German Quiroga on a subsequent green-white-checkered attempt to lay claim to his seventh NCWTS victory of the season and the 42nd of his career. The win was his third a Texas in the Truck Series and his tenth at the mile-and-a-half track in all of NASCAR’s top three series.

The win was made official when the field was frozen after Quiroga crashed in turn one on the final lap, drawing the caution flag to end the race. Busch’s performance also clinched the Manufacturer’s championship for Toyota.

“It’s pretty awesome to be in Victory Lane, but I feel really, really bad for Bubba Wallace,” Busch said, referencing his teammate who had motor issues after the two battled for the lead earlier in the race. “He was doing everything right tonight. He was really, really fast. Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) and those guys did a great job getting that thing fast, like our Toyota Care Tundra was. It’s a shame to see the motor let go. Can’t say enough about everyone from Toyota, Toyota Care, TRD, this is our manufacturer championship tonight, winning it for Toyota.”

Busch admitted he was concerned when he had the inside lane for a restart with five laps to go, but was able to move forward and take advantage of four fresh tires late in the going.

“When I saw four trucks out there (that did not pit) I only counted four, then all a sudden the 15 (Mason Mingus) popped up and that made it five,” he explained. “When I counted four that would put us eighth on the outside, but then the 15 was there and I was ninth on the inside. I thought the 17 (Peters) was in the catbird seat there. I figured he had the perfect strategy — two tires, going to be on the outside, get through those guys and get to the front. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to him, but I got there and that caution came out and got us side-by-side for the restart with the 77 (Quiroga). Just sort of set sail there and held it wide open for the last two laps and the truck was pretty fast.”

The race was run remarkably green, with just three cautions in the first 100 laps slowing the pace — two of those coming for debris — before Wallace’s engine expired in a spectacular plume of smoke to bring out the red flag with 40 laps to go. The Martinsville winner led 51 laps on the night but saw his championship hopes virtually evaporate after coming into the event second in the championship.

Following the red flag, Busch reclaimed the lead until a caution with nine laps to go when the No. 32 of Tayler Malsam cut across the nose of the No. 63 of Justin Jennings at the same time John Wes Townley smacked the wall just ahead of them exiting turn four, sending Malsam and Townley through the grass and setting up a five lap sprint to the finish after eight trucks stayed out, led by Quiroga.

The field made it to two laps to go, but when Johnny Sauter cut across the nose of his teammate Jeb Burton, spinning into oncoming trucks, it set up the dash to the finish that allowed Busch’s four fresh tires to prevail.

Burton hung on to finish second and said he had no place to go when Sauter checked up on the high lane.

“Right there with Johnny, the 23 (Gresham) — you can see him, he’s sideways and I barely touched (Sauter). I didn’t mean to touch him,” said Burton. “That’s the last thing I want to do is to wreck my teammate. He was trying to dodge the 23 and I was right there and stuff happens fast, man. He knows damn well I don’t race like that and that’s the last thing I wanted to do.”

Sauter attempted to confront Burton after the race, the second week in a row he has been involved in a post-race skirmish with another driver.

Polesitter Tyler Reddick used a strong late-race rebound and fresh tires to finish third, with points leader Matt Crafton coming home fourth and extending his lead to 23 points over Ryan Blaney, who finished ninth.

“We had the second-to-last restart and got four-wide on the top side and one of the trucks below was right below me and decided to drive me up into the fence,” said Crafton. “It was either wreck and lose a bunch of points and do something stupid, and I just had to lift. That cost us a bunch, a bunch of spots. We didn’t have enough time at the end.”

Timothy Peters rounded out the top five.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes in one week’s time at Phoenix International Raceway. Erik Jones is the defending winner of the event.

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