LAS VEGAS – Kyle Busch obliterates the field for the Strat 200 win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
This was Kyle Busch’s 196th career win across all three top series, so naturally the conversation quickly turned to when and where he would earn his 200th win.
“It doesn’t matter where it’s at. I don’t need that extra pressure,” Busch shared when asked if he had a preference as to which track he wanted that win.
Busch led 110 of 134 laps, and really only fell behind on some various pit strategies after the first stage. This win is also the first of three that he needs to complete the triple sweep.
“We fought it in practice a little bit. We worked on it an awful lot to make it better. Rudy [Fugle, crew chief] and these guys did an amazing job on this Cessna Tundra. It was really, really fast. Just kept working on it all night long – every pit stop. It’s cool to win here in your hometown, being in Las Vegas, starting off a triple weekend. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
Brett Moffitt finished second and was clearly the only other truck capable of running with Busch, but just wasn’t able to get a way around him.
“It’s frustrating because we were the only ones able to run with him,” Moffitt said dejectedly on pit road after the race. “I think if we were able to run up front and not use up all our stuff coming from the back, we would have had a better shot and I could have played around with a few different runs and try to learn how to pass him. No one else could run with us speed-wise.”
Hattori Racing Enterprises announced in December that they were letting go of Moffitt due to a lack of funding. The 2018 Truck Series champion didn’t miss a beat. He quickly joined with GMS racing, and starts the 2019 season strong with consecutive top five finishes.
“My confidence is at an all-time high. I guess it’s kinda fun being upset with a second place finish to Kyle Busch. Jerry Baxter [crew chief] and everyone at GMS, they work so damn hard and Maury Gallagher and the Gallagher family, they want to be the best out there, week in and week out. We qualified sixth at Daytona and they were upset with that, so that just speaks to how good they want to be. As a driver, that’s all you can ask for.”
Matt Crafton rallied from early rear end damage during the first and only yellow flag incident to run third. Stewart Friesen led 20 laps during the second stage, and finished fourth. Harrison Burton was the last truck in the top five. Sheldon Creed, Todd Gilliland, Johnny Sauter, Ryan Reed and Ross Chastain completed the top 10.
Busch Leads Opening 30 Laps
Kyle Busch chose the inside line for the initial start. As the field was finishing Lap six, Sheldon Creed chased the truck up the hill on the exit of Turn 4 to keep off another truck. He turned hard left and spun into the grass to bring out the first caution. Matt Crafton also had some rear-end damage along with Cory Roper getting some front end damage.
“I just caught that group and I was three-wide in the middle,” Creed shared with some optimism. “I tried to give the No. 4 [Todd Gilliland] space because he popped out on the bottom, just slid up into the No. 17 [Ryan Reed] and he wasn’t gonna give me room because he was just holding his ground. It just pulled the side air off the truck and making me real loose. One of those learning deals where you’d just back out of it; if I were in that situation again, I’d just let the two of them have it and then get them back. I caught that group in two laps.”
Brett Moffitt had a brief battle for second with Harrison Burton, but once he cleared his truck, the defending series champion powered his way within a few tenths of a second behind the leader. Busch’s late-run setup allowed him to gap Moffitt, and won the first stage by leading the first 30 laps.
Most pit stops went smoothly, but Moffitt’s team called for four tires. As the right side tires were finished, the hose for the lug nut gun was pinched under the right rear tire, adding a tremendous amount of time to their pit stop. Moffitt visited pit road a second time under caution for a vibration. Four penalties were handed out. Tyler Dippel’s crew had an uncontrolled tire, Austin Wayne Self had a crew member over the wall too soon before he turned into his pit stall, Angela Ruch was too fast on pit road in one section and the pit crew of Jennifer Jo Cobb was penalized for improper fueling.
Kyle Busch Sweeps Both Stages
Stewart Friesen and Sheldon Creed restarted the race from the front row to start off the second stage. Grant Enfinger, who started from the rear, battled his way into the top five.
The entire stage was under the green flag. Friesen led most of the laps until Busch was able to get by and win the second stage.
Three penalties were handed out during pit stops. Dippel, Self and Ruch all received their second penalty of the night. The only truck retired from the race was Scott Stenzel
Final Stage and Race Belonged to Kyle Busch
Racing started wild at the restart with many instances of four-wide racing. Drivers like Ross Chastain and Grant Enfinger took advantage of passing three trucks in one move.
Around 30 laps to go, some drivers got pit road penalties during green flag pit stops, including Brennan Poole and Tyler Dippel, who was penalized during each of his three stops of the race. Ross Chastain stalled his truck during his final pit stop, losing valuable time. Jesse Iwuji was caught speeding on pit road, and Ben Rhodes had too many crew members over the wall.
Out front, it was a similar battle to the first stage. Once Moffitt was able to clear some trucks and put himself into the second position, he started to hunt down Busch. And again, as he got within a few tenths of a second behind Busch, the No. 51 Toyota Tundra found another gear and pulled out to a comfortable lead to win the Strat 200 by 1.211 seconds.
All trucks officially cleared NASCAR’s post race inspection, and no trucks went to the R&D center. Three trucks were taken to the wind tunnel (Nos. 18, 13, and 2).
Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race Number 3
Race Results for the 2nd Annual Strat 200 – Friday, March 1, 2019
Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Las Vegas, NV – 1.5 – Mile Paved Total
Race Length – 134 Laps – 201. Miles
|1||1||51||Kyle Busch(i)||Cessna Toyota||134||1||1||0||Running|
|2||2||24||Brett Moffitt||Allegiant Chevrolet||134||2||10||45||Running|
|3||15||88||Matt Crafton||DampRid/Menards Ford||134||0||9||36||Running|
|4||7||52||Stewart Friesen||Halmar International Chevrolet||134||7||2||46||Running|
|5||3||18||Harrison Burton #||Safelite AutoGlass Toyota||134||4||6||44||Running|
|6||9||2||Sheldon Creed #||A.M. Ortega/RTL Chevrolet||134||0||7||35||Running|
|7||13||4||Todd Gilliland||Mobil 1 Toyota||134||6||4||42||Running|
|8||11||13||Johnny Sauter||Tenda Heal Ford||134||0||0||29||Running|
|9||10||17||Ryan Reed||Dexcom Toyota||134||8||0||31||Running|
|10||16||45||Ross Chastain(i)||TruNorth Chevrolet||133||5||3||0||Running|
|11||4||98||Grant Enfinger||Champion Power Equipment Ford||133||0||0||26||Running|
|12||18||44||Timothy Peters||Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Chevrolet||133||9||0||27||Running|
|13||12||54||Natalie Decker #||N29 Technologies LLC Toyota||133||0||0||24||Running|
|14||25||7||Korbin Forrister||Strut Masters Toyota||132||0||0||23||Running|
|15||24||22||Austin Wayne Self||GO TEXAN/JB Henderson Construction Chevrolet||132||0||0||22||Running|
|16||22||8||Angela Ruch||JJ Resources Chevrolet||132||0||0||21||Running|
|17||21||2||Tyler Dippel #||Danda Concrete/Lobas Productions Chevrolet||132||0||0||20||Running|
|18||14||15||Anthony Alfredo #||Ceco Building Systems/Friends of Jaclyn Toyota||132||0||0||19||Running|
|19||17||97||Jesse Little||Parker FiberNet Ford||132||0||0||18||Running|
|20||8||30||Brennan Poole||KeepandBear.com Toyota||131||0||0||17||Running|
|21||20||3||Jordan Anderson||Lucas Oil/Knight Fire Protection Chevrolet||130||0||0||16||Running|
|22||26||12||Gus Dean #||Chevrolet||130||0||0||15||Running|
|23||31||33||Josh Reaume||Mr. Beast Chevrolet||129||0||0||14||Running|
|24||5||4||Cory Roper||Preferred Industrial Contractors Inc. Ford||127||0||0||13||Running|
|25||19||99||Ben Rhodes||Carolina Nut Ford||125||10||5||19||Running|
|26||28||34||Jesse Iwuji||Fueltrax Chevrolet||124||0||0||11||Running|
|27||29||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Waldo’s Painting Chevrolet||123||0||0||10||Running|
|28||32||6||Norm Benning||Zomongo/H&H Transport Chevrolet||121||0||0||9||Running|
|29||23||20||Spencer Boyd||1A Auto Chevrolet||108||0||0||8||Engine|
|30||6||16||Austin Hill||A&D Welding Toyota||82||3||8||18||Engine|
|31||27||1||Stefan Parsons||Phoenix Construction Chevrolet||67||0||0||6||Carburetor|