SPARTA, Ky. — Kyle Busch scored his sixth consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in Thursday night’s UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway.
For Busch, in his 120th NCWTS start, he recorded his fifth triumph of the season, winning in every event he has entered thus far in 2014.
After taking the last two races off at Texas Motor Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park respectively, Busch returned June 26 with a vengeance recording his second truck series win at the Sparta, Ky.-based track, the other occurring in July 2011.
By winning his 40th career NCWTS victory, Busch helped manufacturer Toyota notch their 10th consecutive victory dating back to Phoenix International Raceway, where Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Erik Jones became the youngest winner in the series’ history. It is the longest active win streak by any manufacturer in NCWTS history.
“Tonight was great,” said Busch. “It’s a great opportunity to drive good equipment and good stuff, and I’m really proud that my name is on the door. I’m most proud of Eric Phillips (crew chief) and all the guys, everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports for all their hard work and dedication and everything they’ve done to build really good trucks, they’ve done a great job for me. Seeing Darrell (Wallace Jr.) come home second tonight was pretty great, especially him getting back in traffic, like we both were and being able to methodically work his way back up to second.”
It was a good day for the 29-year old as he also scored his first NCWTS pole at the 1.5-mile speedway on Thursday afternoon alongside teammate and most recent (Gateway) winner Darrell Wallace Jr.
The driver of the No. 51 Dollar General Toyota Tundra led the field to green, but Wallace Jr. decided he wanted to impress the boss and made the move for the lead, as the caution flag waived for the first time on Lap 3 for debris on the backstretch.
Wallace Jr. led the KBM duo through the first 35 Laps, before Busch maneuvered around his NASCAR Next alum on Lap 36 to retake control of the field. Busch would continue the pace the field in the eighth race of the season until green flag pit stops began on Lap 48.
Eleven laps later, Busch rolled through the cycle and re-inherited the lead until the third caution of the night waived on Lap 61 for debris in Turn 3.
On the restart, Busch pulled away from Wallace Jr. on the start and by Lap 75 had stretched his lead by 1.888 seconds over the Joe Gibbs Racing development driver. Behind them, German Quiroga lurked in third, then the two trucks from Brad Keselowski Racing of Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney.
John Wes Townley, who lost his primary truck in a practice accident Thursday morning, triggered the fourth caution flag of the day, when he lost control of his No. 5 Zaxby’s Toyota Tundra in Turn 4.
Under the yellow, varying pit strategies shuffled the running order, putting Keselowski, who elected not to pit at the point. Max Gresham in the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet hailed on his outside for the Lap 81 restart.
The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion used clean air to his advantage to check out from his competition, but methodically Kyle Busch, who restarted eighth muscled his way back into second on Lap 89 and found himself on the rear-bumper of Keselowski on Lap 93, and retaking the top-spot on Lap 96.
The caution flag waived four laps later, which sent the leaders to pit road for their anticipated final stop of the night. Keselowski though would lose a massive amount of track position as the team left a wedge wrench in their truck as Keselowski exited sending him back to pit and restarting 13th.
Keselowski’s misfortune was teammate’s Ryan Blaney’s gain however, as he restarted alongside Busch for the Lap 104 restart.
Only a late race caution would allow the rest of the lead lap trucks to have any chance of dethroning Busch from his domination. It came on Lap 139.
Under the yellow, Keselowski gave up his spot inside the top-five in lieu of four fresh Goodyear tires. Restarting mid-pack, Keselowski had his work cut out for him, but wasn’t out of the picture.
Wallace Jr. with advice from crew chief Jerry Baxter tried to make a late-race pass with eight laps to go on his “boss,” but to no avail. Busch was able to clear his protégé on the high side coming to 143 Laps complete and cruised to a 1.844 second triumph, giving Kyle Busch Motorsports their first-even 1-2 finish in NCWTS competition.
“Really proud of Kyle Busch Motorsports finishing 1-2,” added Busch. “It’s a great testament for everything we’ve gone for and strived for and Eric (Phillips) been here since the beginning, I give a lot of credit to Eric and the team he’s built. Having him as the core has, I think been really good for us. Qualifying 1-2 and finishing 1-2, I think I was more pumped for having a 1-2 finish, than winning, honestly. I told Darrell thank you in Victory Lane. Just appreciate the way he drove tonight and fought hard.”
Behind KBM, Ryan Blaney was third followed by Timothy Peters and Brad Keselowski stormed his way through the field for a top-five finish. Matt Crafton, Austin Dillon, Ron Hornaday Jr., Johnny Sauter and Ben Kennedy comprised the top-10.
In the championship standings, Sauter continues to lead ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton by eight points (297 to 289). Timothy Peters is third (-11), Ryan Blaney fourth (-12) and Ron Hornaday Jr. fifth (-13).
Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a stop at Iowa Speedway for the running of the American Ethanol 200 on July 11. Timothy Peters is the defending champion.