Phoenix: Kyle Busch race report
Busch a Strong Second in Truck Series Race at Phoenix Kyle Busch Motorsports Inches Ever Closer to Owner's Title in its Inaugural Season Kyle Busch may have finished second in Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at ...
Busch a Strong Second in Truck Series Race at Phoenix
Kyle Busch Motorsports Inches Ever Closer to Owner's Title in its Inaugural Season
Kyle Busch may have finished second in Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, but he inched ever closer to clinching the series owner's title for the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Tundra of Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
Busch, who wears both the driver and owner hats at KBM, finished 1.038 seconds behind race-winner Clint Bowyer, but the first-year driver/owner picked up a commanding 120-point advantage over the No. 30 truck of Germain Racing in the series owner's standings. The No. 30 truck is driven by Todd Bodine, who secured the driver's championship via his 12th-place finish at Phoenix.
Busch will be back behind the wheel of his No. 18 Toyota Tundra for the season finale Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and if he finishes 29th or better, he will secure the owner's championship in KBM's inaugural year of operation, no matter the performance of any of his competitors.
"The guys gave me a great Z-Line Designs Tundra, but the '2' (Bowyer) was the class of the field tonight," said Busch, who has scored seven Truck Series victories so far this season. "We had a great points night tonight. Obviously, there are two winners here with Bodine and Clint, but maybe next week will be ours."
The runner-up result was Busch's 12th top-three finish of the 2010 Truck Series season, an impressive number after round 24 of 25, but even more so considering Friday night marked just the 15th Truck Series start of the season for Busch. Drivers Brian Ickler (seven races), Johnny Benson (one race) and Kasey Kahne (one race) have piloted the No. 18 Toyota Tundra in the other nine races.
Early on in the 150-lap race, it appeared as though a top-five finish would be a struggle for Busch and the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota team. After starting fourth, Busch fell out of the top-five as he wrangled with the handling of his truck, especially getting it to turn properly through the track's corners.
After a pit stop under caution on lap 54 where crew chief Eric Phillips and director of competition Rick Ren called for tire pressure and chassis adjustments as the Z-Line Designs crew changed four tires and fuel, Busch's Toyota came to life.
"We were racing for the win," Busch said. "There in the beginning part of the race, we just didn't have the Tundra we were looking for. In the middle part of the race, we got a lot of adjustment built into it. Eric (Phillips) did a great job getting it to where we could run in the lead and have a shot probably at winning the race, I thought."
Busch took the lead on lap 67 and gained five valuable bonus points for leading a lap and then held the top spot for the next 25 circuits around the 1-mile oval. But after Bowyer beat him out of the pits under caution after a round of pit stops on lap 96, Busch never regained the point.
"The last stop we made some more changes and just missed it a little bit," Busch said. "Coming up second is disappointing, but we know what the big picture is for next week."
Bowyer led the final 55 laps to score his second Camping World Truck Series victory in eight career starts. He's now won in back-to-back Truck Series starts, as his previous victory came in his last Truck Series start Nov. 3, 2006 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
"We would've liked to have won the race, but you take a good truck like this and you run second with it and beat the guys you're here to beat and we'll look to next week and try for a win there," Busch said. "We knew that running well, the points would take care of themselves, and it's good to have that little bit of cushion going into next week. We'll be looking at the banquet next Monday."
Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Aric Almirola took spots three through five. The rest of the top-10 consisted of Mike Skinner, rookie Austin Dillon, David Starr, rookie Justin Lofton and Bobby Hamilton Jr.
The race featured five caution periods for 27 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish.
The Nov. 19 Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is the final race on this year's Camping World Truck Series schedule.
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