Busch wins a truck race at Kansas for the first time

 

The Sports Network

Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Kyle Busch can now scratch off Kansas Speedway as one of those racetracks where he has yet to win a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

Busch became the 14th different winner in as many truck races at this 1.5-mile track after putting on a dominating performance on Friday night. He started on the pole and led 104 of 167 laps, crossing the finish line three seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Matt Crafton, the defending series champion and winner of last year's race here.

Kansas has not been one of Busch's better tracks in NASCAR. He has finished 31st or worse in the past three Sprint Cup Series races here. In the 2013 truck race at Kansas, Busch finished 27th after he was involved in an accident with German Quiroga in the late stages.

"Kansas, I'm a winner at Kansas," Busch joyfully said in victory lane. "We put a great Toyota Tundra out front and took it to victory lane like that."

It was the 37th career truck victory for Busch, including his second this season. He won the Feb. 21 season-opener at Daytona. Crafton scored the victory in the second and most recent event on March 30 at Martinsville. Busch did not compete there.

Busch has one Nationwide Series win at Kansas, which came in 2007.

He will start 24th in Saturday night's 400-mile race at this track, attempting a weekend sweep.

Busch gave crew chief Eric Phillips his 29th win, which set a series record for most victories by a crew chief.

"Congratulations to Eric for most wins all-time as a crew chief in the Camping World Truck Series," he noted. "That's pretty cool."

This was the first time a truck race ran under the lights at Kansas, and it featured nine cautions -- all for accidents. A four-truck crash occurred on the second lap, involving Ron Hornaday Jr., Timothy Peters, Spencer Gallagher and Quiroga.

Ryan Blaney was involved in a hard crash on lap 95. While running side-by-side with Joey Logano for the lead, Blaney spun around and then made contact with the wall before Johnny Sauter and rookie Tyler Young slammed into the side of him.

"I was racing hard with Joey, and I kept it out of the fence, but I don't know how they [Sauter and Young] got bottomed up there behind me and destroyed my truck," Blaney said. "It was just hard racing. [Logano] was just too far on my door, I think, and it just sucked me around. That's how I got on the apron. I had it saved, but they started wrecking behind me. It's unfortunate. We had a good truck."

Blaney finished 22nd. He is making his Sprint Cup debut at Kansas, starting 21st.

Austin Dillon, the 2011 truck champion and a rookie in Sprint Cup this season, led the way for the final restart with 35 laps to go. Busch and Crafton were battling hard for the second spot before Busch pulled ahead of Crafton.

Busch then passed Dillon and took the lead for good with 22 laps left.

"Those guys raced really hard," Busch said. "Crafton and I are good buddies, but I'm really mad at him right now. I'll get over it. He just raced me really hard. He was trying to keep second and then go after the win."

Crafton later moved up to second but was well behind Busch.

"The restarts were everything, and that's where you had to do your passing," Crafton said. "The restarts got very hairy. The track had so much grip, and when you had someone side-by-side with you, these trucks were a handful. That's what the problem was."

Logano led 41 laps but pitted out of sequence late in the race, which put him one lap behind. He bounced back for a third-place finish.

"At the end of the race there, we got off strategy and had to make that green- flag pit stop and went a lap down," Logano said. "You think there would be another caution, but there wasn't, so by the time I got back up into the top- three, the 88 [Crafton] was gone and Kyle was gone. I was just sitting there running wide open."

Dillon ended up finishing fourth, while Tayler Malsam took the fifth spot.

Jeb Burton, Quiroga, Hornaday, Joe Nemechek and rookie Mason Mingus completed the top-10.

Crafton moved into the points lead, as he holds an eight-point advantage over Peters and Hornaday.

Read more Craftsman Truck stories from the Miami Herald

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