JOLIET, Ill. – Nothing was going to stop Kyle Busch during Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Busch came from the rear of the field not once, but twice in a dominating performance to score his sixth victory of the season in the Truck Series. Busch was forced to start at the rear of the field because Erik Jones practiced the No. 51 Toyota on Thursday because Busch had other obligations.
Qualifying was then rained out Friday, forcing NASCAR to set the field by the rulebook. Because Busch didn’t practice his truck that meant he would be forced to start the race at the rear of the field.
When the race began Busch drove like a man on a mission. Busch stormed through the field, making his way to third when a competition caution flag waved on lap 30. Busch joined the rest of the lead lap trucks on pit road during the caution period, but he was busted for speeding and forced to restart the race at the rear of the field.
The penalty didn’t slow Busch down. He quickly marched right back through the field, eventually taking the lead for the first time from his teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. on lap 52. He spent the next several laps trading the top spot with Wallace.
Eventually Busch marched out to a big lead and he looked to have the race well in hand. The final pit stops began to take place with approximately 45 laps left, with Busch making his final pit stop with 41 laps to go. A long pit stop for problems fueling Busch’s truck set the No. 51 team behind, but a caution flag two laps later turned out to be exactly what Busch needed to get caught up.
Busch was a lap down at the time the caution flag waved, but he took the wave around and restarted the race in eight position. It didn’t take Busch long to charge through the field, taking third with 30 laps left and moving into second one lap later. He then set his sights on Austin Dillon, who inherited the race lead after the pit stop cycle.
Dillon did his best to hold off Busch over the next dozen laps, but on lap 17 Busch made his move. Dillon got trapped behind a lapped truck coming out of turn four, allowing Busch to drive by Dillon to take the race lead.
Once in front Busch checked out, eventually beating Matt Crafton to the checkered flag by 1.130 seconds.
The victory by Busch didn’t dampen the disappointment that he felt after failing to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race earlier in the day despite leading more than 100 laps.
“It was fun for us and this 51 Tundra,” Busch said after his 41st series victory. “This doesn’t make our loss earlier today any sweeter. We could have had two and we could have been going for three tomorrow. We came up short (in the Nationwide race). We’ll just have to fight through that. Maybe we can still get two of the three. Imagine that, I think I’ve done that probably plenty of times.”
Crafton’s second-place finish was enough to take the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship lead by five points over teammate Johnny Sauter.
“I’m not too worried about that (the points lead). We’ve got a long way to go in the points. I’m tired of finishing second to him (Busch),” Crafton said. “The 51 truck was great. I can’t thank these guys enough. The Menards Toyota Tundra was pretty darn good.”
Dillon finished third after leading 28 laps. Rookie Tyler Reddick earned his best career finish, coming home fourth. Jeb Burton completed the top five.