Kyle Busch drives to flawless win at Pocono

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Cessna Toyota in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Gander Outdoors 150 at Pocono Raceway on July 28, 2018 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Photo by Kirk Schroll for SpeedwayMedia.com.

In what was a wild start for the day, before the race started, Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Safelite Tundra, had to sit out the race due to being sick. He was granted a medical waiver, which means he’ll still have a Playoff spot. Erik Jones, the 2015 NASCAR Truck Series champion, filled in for the ill Gragson.

“We kept working on it (truck) all weekend long and just never quit, got it to where we wanted it,” Busch said. “All these (KBM) guys, (Mike) Hillman and on this No. 51 Cessna Beachcraft Toyota did an awesome job. I mean, we worked it, worked it, worked it, and came up with a couple of ideas of mine own and that slowed us down, but overall Rudy and those guys on the 18 truck were stupid fast. I knew they were going to be tough to beat.”

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“I got a good restart and got out front there, and as Erik (Jones) was able to kind of run me down it seemed like he could cool his tires off by doing so,” he said. “I figured if I could at least pinch him one time and then get him behind me for a couple of laps, or a couple of corners, then I might be able to equalize his tires to mine when I was out front because I was just pushing for everything I had and I was just tight. I knew that would be my only shot to be able to hold him off, just to get his momentum broken and when I did that with a lap truck in Turn 2, it kind of seemed like that changed the race.”

The first stage was 15 laps, Stage 2 ended on Lap 30 and the checkered flag flew on Lap 60.

When Stage 1 began, Todd Gilliland took the lead for one lap, but pole sitter Busch took the lead one lap later and held it until four to go when he made a pit stop. Brett Moffitt also had issues which later turned out to be right front suspension problems. Gilliland went on to win the first stage by fending off Gateway winner Justin Haley.

During the pit stops, four-time winner Johnny Sauter received a pit road penalty for being too fast on pit road.

Busch restarted Stage 2 as the leader and held on until Lap 26, when substitute driver Jones took the lead. However, just like the first stage, Busch and Jones pit along with the other race leaders with three to go. Bubble driver, Stewart Friesen, stayed out and won the second stage.

The third and final stage began with 25 to go.

Dalton Sargeant took the lead for four laps, but Busch retook it on Lap 37. Jones came back to battle for the lead with eight to go, with lap traffic being an issue. Busch prevailed and held on to score his second Truck Series win of the season.

Busch gave his thoughts on tying NASCAR Hall of Fame driver, Ron Hornaday, on the all-time wins list in the Truck Series.

“It’s awesome,” Busch said on tying Hornaday’s record. “It’s certainly a true testament to all the people I worked with over time. I’ve raced races with Morgan-Dollar. I don’t know if I ever won races with them and then with Billy Ballew. I ran with them a lot and of course, with my own company Kyle Busch Motorsports team. A bunch of different crew chiefs, five or six crew chiefs I’ve won with here in my place. So, you know, it’s certainly been a lot of fun, a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work and perseverance for my guys and everybody at Kyle Busch Motorsports.”

There were two cautions for eight laps, with six leaders among nine lead changes. Busch led three times for 43 laps.

Complete Race Results

1st – Kyle Busch
2nd – Erik Jones
3rd – Dalton Sargeant
4th – Stewart Friesen
5th – Justin Haley
6th – Grant Enfinger
7th – Todd Gilliland
8th – Johnny Sauter
9th – Matt Crafton
10th – Joe Nemechek
11th – Ben Rhodes
12th – Myatt Snider
13th – Austin Hill
14th – Cody Coughlin
15th – Tanner Thorson
16th – Jordan Anderson
17th – Justin Fontaine
18th – Austin Self
19th – Josh Reaume
20th – Bo LeMastus
21st – Wendell Chavous
22nd – Jennifer Jo Cobb
23rd – Todd Peck
24th – B.J. McLeod
25th – Norm Benning
26th – Brett Moffitt
27th – Ray Ciccarelli
28th – Timmy Hill
29th – Camden Murphy
30th – Reed Sorenson
31st – J.J. Yeley
32nd – Bayley Currey

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