Kyle Busch came from last to first to win his 58th Gander RV Outdoors Truck Series race on Saturday.
After the No. 51 Cessna Toyota Tundra failed pre-race inspection, NASCAR slapped Kyle Busch Motorsports with an L1 penalty. The driver had to start at the rear of the field and serve a pass-through penalty prior to the start of the Baptist Health 200.
But the punishment wasn't much of a deterrent. Busch took the lead 39 laps later. He led a race-high 82 laps and finished 2.847-seconds ahead of Tyler Ankrum at the finish.
“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,” said Busch. “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. 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 superstitious.
“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.”
Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, Johnny Sauter, Todd Gilliland, Austin Hill, Christian Eckes, Matt Crafton and Ty Majeski rounded out the top 10.
The fireworks started early with a multi-truck wreck eliminating former truck champ Brett Moffitt and recent standout Zane Smith. Elliott and Brennan Poole were also involved but continued on.
Chastain won the first stage on Lap 30 but Busch took the lead nine laps later and held on for the second stage win. Busch’s charge to his second win in the last four truck races was slowed due to a brain fade by Sheldon Creed, who plowed in the barrels at the entrance of pit road and triggered the seventh and final caution on Lap 123. NASCAR was forced to red flag the race for nearly 16 minutes as track workers made repairs.
After the leaders came to pit, Busch once again was the first truck off of pit road although crew chief Danny Stockman Jr. only had one set of scuffed tires remaining for the end game. Still, it was advantage Busch.
“You’re always concerned about tires being better and having the opportunity to out-show you,” Busch said. “Felt like six laps was just the right amount and anymore than that, it probably would have been a different outcome.
“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.”
Hill retained the truck points lead by 44 over Eckes.