Newton, IA – James Buescher made a strong statement in defending his Camping World Truck Series championship by winning Sunday's Iowa 200 at Iowa Speedway.
Buescher, the 2012 truck titleholder, passed Ross Chastain for the lead just before Joey Coulter and Brendan Gaughan made contact and crashed into the wall during a first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. The wreck set up a second two-lap overtime attempt. After the final restart, Buescher pulled away from Chastain and then beat him to the finish line by 0.5 seconds.
"It was close, and it came down to some green-white-checkers," said Buescher, who led only the final nine laps around this 0.875-mile oval.
It was Buescher's sixth career victory in the series, including his second this season. He won three weeks ago at Michigan. With the win, Buescher trimmed Matt Crafton's points lead from 47 to 37.
"That's two wins in the last four races, so we're going for the championship," he said.
No driver has won back-to-back championships in the history of the series.
Crafton scored his 15th straight top-10 finish with a seventh-place run. Seven races remain this season.
The final 22 laps in this 212-lap race featured three cautions. Jeb Burton and Brandon Jones got together and spun out on lap 189. After the restart, Ryan Blaney moved ahead of Chastain, his Brad Keselowski Racing teammate, for the lead. Blaney grabbed it right before Buescher bumped into Timothy Peters and spun him out, forcing the first green-white-checkered attempt.
During the caution, Blaney was running out of fuel and had to pit, allowing Chastain to reassume the lead. After Coulter and Gaughan had their incident, tempers flared between their teams on pit road. Gaughan took blame for the crash, saying he had brake issues at the time.
Chastain led a race-high 116 laps after starting on the pole for the first time in his career.
"I gave one away today," Chastain said. "Just the way I was driving was not the right way. I was trying to give it a little too much and gave it away. James drove a great race."
Ty Dillon finished third after leading 46 laps, while Johnny Sauter and Darrell Wallace Jr. rounded out the top-five. Peters, who won at Iowa in July, ended up finishing 12th. During the cool-down lap, Peters chased down Buescher and then bumped into his truck to express his displeasure towards their earlier incident.
German Quiroga took the sixth spot. Burton, Erik Jones and Blaney completed the top-10.
Chase Elliott finished 31st after he crashed into the wall in the early going. Elliott won the inaugural truck race in Canada one week ago. At age 17, he became the youngest race winner in the series.