Kyle Busch wins NCWTS race, 14th Bristol victory
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Truck Series race Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway for his record 14th overall victory on the high-banked, 0.533-mile oval.
The Sprint Cup driver took fresh tires with 16 laps to go, passed Ryan Blaney for the lead with six laps left and held off Timothy Peters in a race to the finish that ended with Peters crashing on the frontstretch.
“He wrecked a pretty good race truck and I hate it for him,” Busch said. “But, we had a pretty good race truck. We got behind with a penalty on pit road, but we just stuck in there and persevered to get back to the front.”
Busch broke a tie with Darrell Waltrip for the NASCAR track victory record. Busch has four victories at the track in the Truck Series, five in Sprint Cup and five in the Nationwide Series.
“Some might say you’re not breaking anything until you win 12 Cup races,” Busch said. “I’ve been fortunate in my career to have a lot of great vehicles here to race. I’ve won here with a lot of different vehicles, a lot of different crew chiefs. I’d like to be able to win 13 Cup races and break that record, too.”
The victory was his third in eight Truck starts this season and pushed his career total to 33. Busch also has three victories this year in Sprint Cup and eight in Nationwide. He has 119 victories in NASCAR’s top three series — 27 in Cup, and a record 59 in Nationwide.
Busch started 10th in the No. 51 Toyota and worked his way up to second early in the race. He was given a penalty for speeding on pit road on lap 85 and fell back to 26th. He was 12th, nearly a lap down with 20 laps to go before the caution came out for a wreck by Jeff Agnew.
Busch charged to second on the second-to-last restart, and then passed Blaney on the inside for the lead on Lap 194. Peters raced to the inside of Busch with two laps to go and the two remained side-by-side to the finish. Busch inched ahead at the line as Peters’ No. 17 Toyota spun out of control and slammed the inside wall.
“I was going for it. It was either wreckers or checkers,” Peters said. “Kyle was holding his line a little low, but that’s what he’s supposed to do. I got into him a little at the end and the truck took off. I hate it that we tore up our truck, but I was going for it.”
Blaney finished third, but was fuming over an incident with Peters laps earlier.
“He ran me up to the fence at the end and I wasn’t too happy about that,” Blaney said.
Peters was unapologetic about the contact.
“That’s short-track racing,” he said. “He might as well get over it.”
Johnny Sauter finished fourth in a Toyota, and Chase Elliott was fifth in a Chevrolet.
Elliott, the 17-year-old son of former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott, won the pole with a lap of 15.328 seconds (125.183 mph). He led the first 63 laps of the race before Peters passed him for the top spot.
After the race, the crews of points leader Matt Crafton and Joey Coulter scuffled in the pits over an on-track skirmish. Crafton finished 10th, one position ahead of Crafton.
Ben Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., was 20th, one lap down, in his series debut.
Earlier, Mike Stefanik won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series race.
The seven-time series champion passed Todd Szegedy with 10 laps remaining for his series-record 74th career win. Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman finished fifth.