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In a Nutshell: A caution with 12 laps to go couldn’t stop Kyle Busch in route to victory lane as Busch dominated the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway en route to victory. It marks Busch’s fifth victory this season in five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this season so far. It also marks the 10th consecutive victory for Toyota dating back to Erik Jones’ at Phoenix International Speedway last year and the ninth win for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the last 10 races, including their sixth in a row.
Who Should Have Won: The right driver drove to victory lane as Busch had the dominant truck all night long. Busch scored the Coors Light Pole Award, before leading 91 of the 150 laps around the 1.5-mile oval. Busch didn’t have it easy, though, as he had to pass Brad Keselowski with 55 laps to go after Keselwoski and a couple other trucks stayed out while Busch’s team made the decision to hit pit road.
Welcome to the newest addition to Tracking the Trucks! In this section for each race, we’ll take a look at the most important things to know just in case you weren’t able to watch it. Love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments below…
Darrell Wallace Jr. backs up victory with second-place finish
Following his victory at Gateway, Darrell Wallace Jr. was strong throughout the weekend, qualifying second and finishing second behind his boss to give Kyle Busch Motorsports their first 1-2 finish.
Wallace tried to make a run at Busch on the final restart with 12 laps to go, diving underneath him heading into turn one, though wouldn’t have enough to pull off the pass.
“He knew what he was doing,” Wallace Jr. said of Busch on the last restart. “He’s so cool to work with. He’s hard to beat, but I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. I just try to keep making the most of it.”
Though Wallace Jr. was solid on track all weekend, it wasn’t a simple easy-go finish as Wallace Jr.’s team had to make an engine change before the first practice even got started.
As Wallace Jr. continues to run strong in the trucks, it is allowing him to open up more opportunities, including running the Nationwide Series race next weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Brad Keselowski comes up short once again
Since forming his truck team, Brad Keselowski has made numerous starts in the series to try and claim a win in his own truck. However, each time the 2012 Sprint Cup Series Champion keeps coming up short.
The trend continued on Thursday night as Keselowski had a strong truck, though played catch-up throughout the final 50 laps of the event after leaving a wrench in the back of the truck after a pit stop. Restarting 14th, 28th in line with 45 laps to go, Keselowski drove his way through the field to post a fifth place finish.
“We were okay,” Keselowski said. “We were probably a second or third-place truck. We didn’t have anything for the No. 51.”
Post-race, Keselowski retweeted a vine that someone posted of the pit road incident, tagging “effort” for the crew member in trying to retrieve the part before Keselowski left the stall.
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) June 27, 2014
*After a pair of poor finishes due to tire issues, Matt Crafton put together a full solid race en route to finishing sixth.
*Austin Dillon made contact with the wall during qualifying. The team worked post-qualifying to make repairs, resulting in Dillon starting the race from the tail of the field. Dillon was able to post a seventh place finish.
*The bumpy surface made it tricky for some drivers as there’d be a couple single-truck spins throughout the night. Bryan Silas, John Wes Townley and Jeb Burton each posted poor finishes as a result of spinning around due to the conditions.
Truck Rookie Report
2014 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Tyler Young (No. 02)
Tyler Reddick (No. 19)
Ben Kennedy (No. 31)
Mason Mingus (No. 35)
No. of Rookies in the Race: 5 (subtract Tyler Reddick; add Corey Lajoie and Chase Pistone)
No. of Rookies to finish in the top 12: 1 – Ben Kennedy finishing 10th
Rookie of the Race: Ben Kennedy, finished 10th
Note: Only drivers declared for the rookie battle are eligible to win the Rookie of the Race honors.
“Tonight was an up-and-down night. I struggled with entry a lot; most of the race I was wrecking loose, and then at the end I started to get too tight. There was one run that I couldn’t get into Turn 3 at all. We did a lot of things right and, in general, it was a good night if we combined all of our runs together. We were super-fast in qualifying and had some moments with a lot of speed. We were fast on pit road, as always. There were some hairy restarts and there was a learning curve for me, for sure. I think the more I go to these mile-and-a-half tracks, the better I get, but it just takes some time. Regardless, there’s nothing to be ashamed of in a top-10 finish, and we’ve been the strongest rookie team this year and we have a lot to be proud of. We just have to keep up the good work and put together all the pieces to make it to victory lane.” – Ben Kennedy, finished 10th
Each week, we’ll take a look at the championship picture and find out which drivers were affected the most by the racing on track.
Biggest Winner: Johnny Sauter admitted coming into the weekend that Kentucky Speedway is not one of his best tracks and he was going to try to keep his expectations did that. Sauter was able to do that throughout the night, posting a solid ninth place finish to keep the points lead.
“We struggled getting the truck handling like we needed it to. We tried a lot of things to get it off the race track, but it ended up being a frustrating night for our Nextant Aerospace/Curb Records team. Consistency has been the key to us staying in contention this season and ending with a top-10 isn’t a bad thing.”
Biggest Loser: Ron Hornaday posted his sixth top-10 of the 2014 season, finishing eighth, though would fall two spots in the standings. Hornaday has been solidly consistent thus far this year, but his lack of contending up front in the top-five leaves him sitting in the back half of the top-10.
“Today was an up-and-down day for this Rheem Comfort Products team. We were just fighting a loose and tight truck all day and had to continue to work on it to make it better. This team never gives up and we managed to leave here with a top-10 finish. The guys at Turner Scott Motorsports continue to build me great trucks with a lot of speed, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the track in Iowa.”
Points Update: With Johnny Sauter posting a top-10 finish, he keeps the points lead, though now only leads by eight points over teammate Matt Crafton. Timothy Peters’ fourth place finish allows him to move up to third, only 11 points behind Sauter. Blaney also moved up a spot in points with his third place finish, now sitting fourth in points. As mentioned above, Hornaday would fall two spots to now sit fifth.
German Quiroga remains sixth despite posting a 15th place finish, while both Kennedy and Wallace Jr. moved up a spot each as a result of John Wes Townley falling to ninth. Townley didn’t have a good night in Kentucky, finishing 21st after going for a spin. Joey Coulter now rounds out the top 10, after slipping past Jeb Burton as a result of Burton backing his Toyota into the wall.
“It was a great night — I can’t say enough about everyone here at Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) and everyone at Dollar General, Toyota, TRD, JGR engines, M&M’s, Monster Energy, ButlerBuilt Seats and all the other people that make it happen for us,” said Busch, who recorded his second Truck Series win in five career starts at Kentucky. “It’s pretty cool to win nine of the last 12 races at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) and having Erik (Jones) and Bubba (Darrell Wallace Jr.) running really, really well. Proud to see the first KBM one-two finish — that’s really cool for me too as an owner and for Samantha (Busch, wife).” Kyle Busch, finished first
“Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) is so strong. The engines were it on the restart — the engines have been stout all year so a shout out to everyone at the engine shop back at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). It’s been a lot of fun getting back into a rhythm coming off of Texas and St. Louis and then to finish here second. I try to make the most of it and it was a cool site with KBM one-two, Toyota one-two and 10th win in a row for Toyota. He’s just good. Huge shout out to Toyota Care and this Made in America Toyota Tundra was fast tonight. I told Toyota that we’re going to have to run Made in America from here on out because it’s been good to us.” Darrell Wallace Jr., finished second
“We were just a little too tight tonight to really get in there and challenge for the win with our Toyota Tundra. We worked on a few different options during practice, and went a little more conservative than we probably needed to. Fortunately, I can drive a tight truck around here [Kentucky Speedway] a lot better than I can a loose one. Every week we are figuring out more and more. It’s not a bad night when you can leave the track disappointed with a fourth-place finish. We gained a little ground in the (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship) points tonight and we are heading to Iowa (Speedway) with some good momentum.” Timothy Peters, finished fourth
“I don’t know what it was, or where we missed it, but this Menards team never gave up. We made more changes on this truck tonight than ever before and made it better at the end; but we still weren’t close. It was a hard fought night and the damage to the left side definitely hurt our free-in handling condition we had battled most of the day. It wasn’t the night we wanted but we will take it and move on to Iowa in a couple weeks.” Matt Crafton, finished sixth.
“This was a tough night overall for the Outerwall team in Kentucky. Following practice in the morning, I felt like we had a really fast Silverado that was going to compete for the win. Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to get the track position needed to get up to the top five. Overall, I’m really proud of how hard my Turner Scott Motorsports team worked all night long. I’m looking forward to Iowa in a couple of weeks and putting together another solid run.” Tayler Malsam, finished 13th.
“It wasn’t the night we had hoped for, especially after having such a strong OtterBox Toyota Tundra and leading both practice sessions. Sometimes you’ll have weeks like this but there’s still a lot of racing left this season, we’re going to move forward and focus on [our next race at] Iowa (Speedway).” German Quiroga, finished 15th.
“Momentum is so much a part of this and I think we’ve turned the corner. We’re all looking forward to Iowa and a good run there for all our partners- Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool, LG Seeds, Ski Soda and Eagle Rock Camp.” Justin Jennings, finished 18th.
Up Next: The Camping World Truck Series will take a week off before heading to Iowa Speedway on Friday July 11th. The Iowa Corn 300 will air live on Fox Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. EST; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.
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