Kyle Busch managed to be a kingpin in the Camping World Truck Series this season despite the fact he drove in only 16 of the circuit’s 25 races.
Busch put an exclamation mark on his Truck run Friday night by roaring past Ron Hornaday Jr. on the last restart and winning the Ford 200, the Truck season’s final race.
The win gave Busch eight victories in 16 Truck races. Busch’s new Kyle Busch Motorsports team also won the series owner’s championship.
The finish was set up with eight laps to go when Elliott Sadler spun out and caused a caution as he raced alongside Johnny Sauter. At that point Hornaday held the lead, but Busch was attacking from second place.
The final green flag flew with four laps to go and Hornaday in the lead, but Busch jumped from second place and took the lead as the field raced up to speed. He wasn’t challenged the rest of the way.
The red was halted by a red flag with 23 laps to go when John Jackson’s Chevrolet spun in turn four and slammed into the sand barrels protecting the end of the pit wall. Jackson was not hurt, but the race was halted for 19 minutes while track crews restored the safety barrier.
Busch was in front for much of the race as he repeatedly held off challenges from Sauter, Todd Bodine and others.
But Busch’s evening took a turn for the worse with 35 laps to go when, as he and Sauter raced in the top five, Busch’s truck slammed the outside wall. Sauter’s car also hit the wall, but Busch’s fender was damaged heavily enough to cause a flat tire and a caution.
Despite the trouble, Busch made a brilliant run through the field to advance from 22nd place and challenge the leaders in the final laps. When it came time to run down Hornaday at the end of the race, Busch performed flawlessly.
“This is so cool to come out here and win our last race and do it in the style we did it,” Busch said. “It wasn’t without some excitement, for sure. I knew we were going to be back in traffic. We were able to have a really good drafting truck at the end and come through there.”
Busch shared his Truck ride with several other drivers this year, outrunning Bodine and the Germain Racing team for the owner’s title.
“We’ve worked awfully hard and had a lot of things go right and some things go wrong this year, but the rights have outweighed the wrongs,” Busch said. “The guys have done a great job at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Everybody from [manager] Rick [Ren] to Eric [Phillips, crew chief] to the guys that work so hard day in and day out in the body shop and the chassis shop and everybody. They’ve given me a world of a season here and winning the most races thus far and having some fast trucks.
“It’s the first year for us venturing into Truck racing and it’s probably been one of those first years that many people see on the streets in running their own business or their own company – the ups and the downs and the blood, sweat and tears that happens and everything. I look forward to next year seeing what we can do and seeing what we can get done.”
Bodine celebrated his driver’s championship on the frontstretch after the race.
“I never thought I’d be a one-time champion let alone a two-time champion,” Bodine said. “It’s hard in a career to be a part of a group that cares as much as this one and is as good as this one.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.