Kyle Busch Dominates Truck Race At Phoenix
By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
AVONDALE, Ariz. — Win the race off pit road. Win the race.
After taking the lead under caution on Lap 44 of Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway, Kyle Busch led the final 107 to post his second win at the 1-mile track and his 25th in the Camping World Truck Series.
Busch beat polesitter Clint Bowyer to the checkered flag by .291 seconds, as Bowyer tightened the margin on the final lap.
Ron Hornaday Jr. was third, followed by Johnny Sauter and Austin Dillon.
As full-time Sprint Cup drivers, Busch and Bowyer aren’t collecting points in the truck series. Consequently, seventh-place finisher Matt Crafton left Phoenix with a one-point lead over Clay Rogers (16th Friday) in the series standings.
“We had a really good truck, but I was scared there at the beginning,” said Busch, who ran second to a dominant Bowyer at Phoenix in November. “I was like, ‘Man, it’s going to come down like last fall — Clint’s going to walk the dog on this one.’
“But (crew chief) Eric (Phillips) made some changes to this thing that really brought it to life.”
Bowyer faulted himself for not being able to overtake Busch on six restarts in the final 50 laps of the race.
“Whichever one of us had clean air, we were about a 10th (of a second) to a 10th and a half better,” Bowyer said. “For me — and I’m not making any excuses; I was screwing up big-time on the restarts — I’m just not used to a) not having any power and b) I was hitting the rev what sounded like about 5,000 less rpm than it should have been.
“I was just messing up. It’s the difference between a Corvette and an Impala—maybe a Volt. … That’s that electric car.”
Bowyer dominated the opening green-flag run, leading the first 41 laps before Chase Mattioli blew his right front tire and scattered debris in Turn 3. After pit stops, Busch was first off pit road and held the top spot through four more cautions, the last of which (and fifth of the race) was caused by a wreck off Turn 4 involving defending series champion Todd Bodine, David Starr and Dusty Davis.
Busch led the field to a restart on Lap 120, having held the point for 76 consecutive laps. Timothy Peters’ spin in Turn 2 on Lap 123 slowed the race for the sixth time.
In the late going, the trucks had difficulty running more than three laps without a caution. Brendan Gaughan spun and backed into the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 128 to bring out the seventh yellow flag.