Race Weekend Central

Return of Rowdy: Kyle Busch Wins Truck Race at Las Vegas

Some things never change.

Kyle Busch winning in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is definitely one of them.

Busch extended his Truck Series all-time win record to 63 and won his fourth Truck race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday night (March 3). Busch pulled away in stage three and to win the second race of the 2023 season. The margin of victory was 4.981 seconds.

“It’s an honor to come out here with KBM, my own team, and have some fun and just work on our stuff and make sure we have good stuff,” Busch said in his post-race interview with FOX Sports 1.

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Zane Smith ran best for Ford and finished second and Ben Rhodes brought his truck home third. Corey Heim and Ty Majeski rounded off the top five in fourth and fifth, respectively.

“I was happy with our day.” Smith said in his FOX Sports 1 interview. “Happy with our stage win. [I] got shuffled back on one of those late race restarts and let Kyle get away through [turn] 1. It’s so hard to execute pit road facing him. Still happy with our day. Another good points day, so we’ll carry this momentum and go on to the next one.

Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Chase Purdy, Grant Enfinger and rookie Jake Garcia completed the top 10 in sixth through 10th, respectively.

Before the start of the race, many pit crews showed up late to the race due to flight delays to Las Vegas. This would affect a few contenders during the race.

Busch started on the pole and led the field to the green flag. At the start of the race, the No. 52 of Stewart Friesen committed a start violation and had to serve a pass-through penalty.

During the first green-flag run, Busch and Nick Sanchez had a good battle for the lead. Sanchez ended up with the lead. During pit stops, however, Busch did not have his usual pit crew servicing his car and ended up losing many spots on pit road.

On lap 8, Daniel Dye in the No. 43 spun off turn 4, but it didn’t cause a caution.

On lap 19, Bret Holmes ran wide and made contact with the wall off turn 4. His right-front tire blew going into turn 1 to bring out the first caution of the race and ended his race.

Brennan Poole also pulled into pit road during the yellow with a problem with his truck and took it behind the wall.

During pit stops, however, Busch did not have his usual pit crew servicing his car and ended up losing many spots on pit road. He ended up filing to the back of the field after coming in to top off with fuel.

After the first restart, there was an epic battle for the lead between Sanchez, Majeski, Smith and Eckes. Sanchez and Majeski raced side-by-side on the first lap after the restart until Smith motored past both trucks on the bottom of turn 1 on lap 25.

Sanchez got loose off turn 2 and had contact with the wall after lightly touching Majeski. On lap 28, Eckes and Majeski caught the No. 38. Off the backstretch, Eckes and Majeski went three wide with Smith, Eckes started drifting in turn 3 after battling three wide with the two and epically saved the truck.

After the madness, Smith won stage 1 with Majeski quickly closing on him and Matt DiBenedetto finished third in the stage.

After the pit stop cycle, Hocevar found himself in the lead and held off Busch for the lead until the No. 20 of Matt Mills spun out in turn 4 on lap 40 for the third caution of the day.

Once again, Hocevar defended the lead this time from Rhodes until lap 48 when Hocevar’s teammate, Lawless Alan, spun in turn 2 to bring out another caution.

Hocevar continued to hold the field at bay until Mills’ teammate, Kris Wright, wrecked his truck. Many of the leaders pit before the end of the stage for strategy, while Hocevar, Rhodes and others stayed out to finish the stage.

Another scramble for position took place in the field including a four-wide battle for the lead between Hocevar, Rhodes, Enfinger and Matt Crafton. Hocevar again defended the lead once more, and Hailie Deegan and John Hunter Nemechek ran into each other on the backstretch and ended the stage under caution.

Hocevar won stage two with Rhodes second and DiBenedetto again finished third.

Pit stops cycled once again and Kaz Grala found his No. 1 in the lead until lap 68 where Busch regained the lead again. During the green flag period Ross Chastain, driving the No. 41 truck for Niece Motorsports, had to pit due to overheating caused by damage incurred from the Deegan/Nemechek crash. He also had to serve a penalty on pit road on top of that.

Green flag pit stops began at 35 to go with Hocevar and Eckes being some of the first trucks to come in for fresh tires. Busch pitted with 29 laps to go. Dye cycled to lead temporarily running an alternate strategy, but he had to pit with 24 to go, thereby surrendering the lead back to Busch.

Busch had a close moment with DiBenedetto with 19 laps to go when Busch attempted to lap him. Busch went low on DiBenedetto in turn 2 and got considerably loose on the backstretch, but saved his car and pulled away for the victory.

Truck Series Results from Las Vegas

The Truck Series returns in two weeks on Saturday, March 18 at 2 p.m. ET at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Fr8 Auctions 208. The race will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.

About the author

Wyatt Watson has been an avid fan of NASCAR since 2007 at the age of 8. He joined Frontstretch in February 2023 after serving in the United States Navy for five years as an Electronic Technician Navigation working on submarines. Wyatt writes breaking NASCAR news and contributes to columns such as Friday Faceoff and 2-Headed Monster. Wyatt also contributes to Frontstretch's social media and serves as an at-track reporter.

Wyatt Watson can be found on Twitter @WyattGametime

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