Ty Dillon passed Kyle Busch with six laps to go to win Friday night’s Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was Dillon’s first victory in 17 Truck Series starts.
Busch, driving in his first Truck Series race of the year, dominated the proceedings, leading 75 of 130 laps in his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra.
But Dillon had the speed when it counted, running down Busch at the end of the race to become the sixth first-time winner in the Truck Series this year. It was an emotionally charged victory for the 20-year-old rookie.
“Man, I’m just so happy and so excited,” said Dillon. “I finally did it — I won a NASCAR race. It’s been my whole life and to finally do it means so much. So, man this is awesome.”
Busch hung on for second over James Buescher’s No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet, the No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota of Parker Kligerman and Aric Almirola in the No. 5 Ford owned by David Dollar.
Dillon started on the pole in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, but by the end of Lap 1, Busch had moved all the way from fourth to first, looking strong in the early going.
Dillon fought back, though, retaking the lead on Lap 10 by going underneath Busch at the entrance to Turn 1.
The first caution flew on Lap 31 for debris, and after the leaders pitted, there was a crash shortly after the restart involving Ron Hornaday Jr., Tim George Jr. and Jason White.
On the Lap 45 restart, Busch led, but only for two laps, as Buescher moved to the front for the first time with a strong pass for the lead.
By Lap 50, Busch and Buescher were door-to-door for P1, waging a fantastic battle up front. Soon Dillon joined the fray, moving into the lead on Lap 58.
Busch regained the lead on Lap 61, as the race moved near the halfway point.
The two continued to the lead, putting on a great show for the Atlanta fans.
Gradually, Busch began to pull away, and by Lap 75 he opened up a lead of 2.774 seconds Seconds over Dillon, with the Turner Motorsports trucks of Buescher and Nelson Piquet Jr. trailing.
Busch pitted from the lead on Lap 85 and when stops cycled through, he had a lead of more than 4.3 seconds over Buescher. Dillon had a slow pit stop, rejoining the fight in 10th.
On Lap 106, a caution came out for debris, erasing Busch’s big lead. The leaders all pitted, with Dillon winning the race off pit road, ahead of Busch and Buescher.
The race restarted on Lap 110, with Busch using the low line to drive into the lead, but Dillon ran him down, making the race-winning pass with six laps to go to win.
“It was all I could do to push as hard as I can, but there was nothing to hold onto,” said Busch, who on several occasions bounced off the wall trying to regain the lead.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.