DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kyle Busch waited until the last possible second to make his move during Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opener at Daytona Int’l Speedway, but when he did he made it count.
Busch was running second to Timothy Peters on the last lap of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on the inside line as the field made its way through turns three and four. When the field made it to the front stretch Busch made his move, shooting to the outside line.
Peters threw a block on Busch to try and slow him down, but Busch had all the momentum he needed and was able to beat Peters to the finish line by .017 of a second. The victory is Busch’s first in the Truck Series at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to make that move,” said Busch, whose previous best finish at Daytona in a Truck was second on three different occasions. “I said I was going to throw it out there and see what happens. I got kind of to his outside and I started to break the plain and then that started to slow him down and then as soon as I did (break the plain) it just drug him back.”
The first half of the race was dominated by rookie Ben Kennedy, who started on the pole after qualifying was rained out earlier in the day. Kennedy led the first 52 laps of the race, but lost the lead to Busch after stalling his truck during a pit stop.
The field returned to racing with 44 laps to go and two laps later Peters showed his stuff, leading the outside line to the front of the field. He battled with Busch for the lead until taking the top spot outright with 37 laps left.
With Peters leading the way the action in the back of the pack began to pick up. Then, on lap 74, contact between Ross Chastain and Parker Kligerman ignited a 15-truck pileup that collected Darrell Wallace Jr., John Wes Townley, John King, Mason Mingus, Tyler Young and several others.
After a lengthy cleanup the field returned to racing with 18 laps left. Busch held on to the lead until the caution flag waved on lap 86 for fluid on the backstretch from Travis Kvapil’s truck. That set up the final restart with 11 laps remaining.
When the green flag waved most of the field most of the field moved to the bottom lane, leaving Turner Scott Motorsports teammates Ryan Truex and Ron Hornaday Jr. on the top line by themselves. Busch held the lead on the low line, but Truex and Hornaday slowly began to inch back up to the front on the top side.
With seven laps left Peters, who was running sixth in the low line, jumped in front of Truex on the top side and began making a push towards the front. Within one lap he was up to second and challenging Busch for the lead.
With five laps left Peters got alongside Busch for the race lead, clearing him one lap later. Once out in front Peters abandoned the top side, diving back to the low line in front of Busch. Truex and Hornaday tried to build a run on the outside, but Truex could only briefly get alongside Peters before fading.
That set up the final lap battle between Busch and Peters, which ended with Busch in victory lane.
“This now makes it where I’ve won four (at Daytona),” said Busch, who led 25 laps during the race in his No. 51 Toyota Tundra. “I’ve won the ARCA race here, won the Truck race here, Nationwide and Cup. That’s what was alluding me. I was trying to get a Truck win here and finally got one.”
It was the eighth-straight victory for Toyota in the Truck Series at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Peters, the 2010 Truck Series winner at Daytona, said he tried his best to slow Busch’s momentum on the last lap.
“It’s always easy to sit here and be a Monday morning quarterback,” Peters said. “Kyle caught the right push at the right time from Johnny (Sauter). I went up to try to block him but then went right back down to the bottom so I wouldn’t lose second.”
Sauter finished third, followed by Truex and Hornaday. Ryan Blaney, Jeb Burton, Joe Nemechek, Jimmy Weller and Germain Quiroga completed the top 10.