Kyle Busch earned his sixth win of the season in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway.
Busch led three times for a total of eight (of 95) laps in today’s race and came to the checkered flag just two-thousandths second ahead of fellow Tundra driver Aric Almirola.
The victory marked the second for Busch at Talladega (October 2009), fourth for a Tundra at the Alabama oval and 13th win this season for Tundra.
Timothy Peters (seventh) and Craig Goess Jr. (10th) also posted top-10 results for Toyota at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Tundra drivers David Starr (11th), Mike Skinner (15th), Todd Bodine (18th), Chris Fontaine (19th), Max Papis (27th) and Justin Lofton (33rd) were also in the field.
Bodine continues to lead the unofficial NCWTS driver standings following Martinsville, holding a 216-point advantage over Almirola. Peters (seventh), Skinner (eighth) and Starr (ninth) are also in the top-10 in points after 22 of 25 races.
With the win, Kyle Busch Motorsports now leads Germain Racing in the unofficial NCWTS owner standings by 42 points with three races remaining in 2010.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Traxxas Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports Finishing Position: 1st What did you think of the move you made to win the race? “That was cool. I didn’t want to do it. Man, Aric (Almirola) deserved to win the race and deserved it from last year. I had Johnny (Sauter) pushing on me and I was getting loose through the tri-oval – just trying to stay with the 51 (Almirola). I turned it back to the bottom to try to straighten it back out and I was still loose alongside of him. I thought the 13 (Sauter) was going to my bottom so I wanted to block him. It was just crazy there at the end. I can’t thank Traxxas, Toyota Tundra – these guys do an awesome job here at Kyle Busch Motorsports. M&M’s, Flexco, NOS Energy Drink, Gillette and my good friend Jim Hunter who passed away this morning. Thoughts go to him and his family and everybody. Real proud of all these guys and this is a cool one.” Did you want to stay behind Aric Almirola at the end of the race? “That’s exactly what I thought – I was like, I just want to push him (Aric Almirola). I got under his back bumper off of four and we came to the tri-oval and I started getting loose. I thought I had Johnny (Sauter) pushing me so I kind of steered up a little bit to try to save it. I couldn’t go too high because Johnny was going to go to my bottom so I had to bring it back down. I got underneath Aric and at that point you just have to stay in the throttle and keep digging. I don’t even know where the yellow line was. For as loose as my stuff was through there, I was trying to save it and get away from those guys and not spin out. All in all, great job by these guys. Everybody with Camping World and all the great folks – the fans in the stands is cool too.” Do you feel like the NCWTS owner’s championship is almost wrapped up? “It’s not over until it’s over. It ain’t over. I don’t know where they are right now, but we feel comfortable with where we’re at and to win today with our Traxxas Tundra and to go to Homestead with Traxxas on board and of course Interstate Batteries at Texas next week and then Phoenix is going to be Z-Line Designs again. It’s going to be cool. We’re looking forward to these last four races and it’s going to be a shootout and a fight to the end.” Was your plan to make a move in the final lap of the race for the win? “I know what happened here last year with Aric (Almirola) pushing me to the win. That is all I was planning on. I was going down the backstretch thinking stay behind him, stay behind him. If you get two wide you just make such a big hole in the air for all the guys behind you to get you. I came to the tri-oval pushing Aric and I thought the 13 (Johnny Sauter) was on my butt and I was loose through the tri-oval so I started chasing it up a little bit. Once I got out there I was like, ‘Man, I’m too far, the 13’s going to go to my inside.’ I saw him in my left mirror so I kind of ducked back down and tried to block the bottom. I got underneath Aric and then I beat him to the line obviously. I hate it that Aric went through that, but this was a great race truck right here. This Kyle Busch Motorsports Traxxas Tundra was awesome and these guys did a great job. We didn’t qualify up front, kind of as we expected, but it was fast when it mattered in the race there. We stayed out of trouble and luckily we made it here. This is very cool.” Were you aware of how close you were to the yellow line? “I was so busy watching the mirror and the 13 (Johnny Sauter) truck and seeing where he was and trying not to run into the side of the 51 and trying to get away. I was just sideways. The yellow line never even crossed my mind there at the end.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Traxxas Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports (continued) How was your race overall today? “As far as our race day goes – obviously it was pretty exciting. In the beginning there we just were kind of hanging out and biding our time kind of riding. We were a little hot so we just decided that we would just stay back there and not worry too much. Once we got to the first pit stop, we took some tape off the grill and stuff like that and was able to get the thing a little cooler for running in the draft. Once we did that, we were just biding our time and working out way up through traffic. Matt Crafton and I worked well together on the outside. I remember the 2 (Ken Schrader) and I worked together on the outside really well a couple times. All in all you really had to be smart up on the outside lane to get the draft to really work and to get up towards the front. Jason White at the end of the race was a really good friend for us and he did a great job getting us out front and getting the lead and just kind of racing with the 51 (Aric Almirola) there and the 13 (Johnny Sauter) coming to the checkers. It was crazy and it was a battle. I was just trying to keep the thing straight and luckily I was able to do that.” Is this the way driver’s like to win races? “It’s pretty spectacular the way you come down towards the end and you have no idea how it’s going to play out and then all of the sudden you cross the start-finish line and you’re wondering, ‘Did I win? What happened? Who crossed the start-finish line first?’ It’s pretty amazing the way this place and the way it races and what happens and how close the finishes can be. You run 250 miles or tomorrow you run 500 miles and the finishes are as close as they are. We remember, I don’t, but I’m sure some fellow people remember back in the 60s or 70s races being finished by a lap – the winner won by a lap or something like that. It’s pretty amazing and for how tight competition is nowadays and what it comes to, but with myself and Kyle Busch Motorsports and our Traxxas Tundra today – I’m ecstatic. I’m real proud of the way the guys worked. We were frustrated yesterday. We didn’t qualify anywhere near where we thought we should have or could have. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get the speed out of it by ourselves that we would like to. Hopefully we go to Daytona in the spring and bring the same piece back or build a new one or whatever and maybe we can find some more speed.”
ERIC PHILLIPS, crew chief, No. 18 Traxxas Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports How was today’s race from your perspective today? “It was pretty uneventful for us other than a few pit stop issues. Made a decision on some shock settings today. Couldn’t get the tires off when we first came in the pits. Just told the guys to take their time and make sure they did the pit stop right and they did. Was able to get the truck back up front at the end.”
ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota Tundra, Billy Ballew Motorsports Finishing Position: 2nd Do you feel like you should have been the winner of today’s race? “I was at his (Kyle Busch) mercy. He could have went to my outside, he could have went to my inside. I tried to do everything I could to try to protect as long as I could. I think NASCAR maybe should look at that. It looked like he went below the yellow line right there before the start-finish line. It was really close, but I hate to lose one like that. These guys work awfully hard on our speedway stuff. To lose one like that is bad. He’s below the yellow line.” Were you planning to work with Kyle Busch in the closing laps? “We had talked about it and we knew we wanted to stay together. We had good trucks and we saw that in practice yesterday. I knew I had a good truck yesterday. I pushed Johnny (Sauter) to the lead and I felt like it was time to go. It’s disappointing if they give that win to him (Kyle Busch). I feel like I let these guys down, but I don’t know what else I could have done.” What is your perspective of today’s race? “My perspective is that I won the race. NASCAR’s perspective is that we ran second. I guess today we lose. I’m disappointed in that because I felt like we had a truck capable of winning. I knew we did all day. I rode around in the back and tried to be smart and take care of my stuff. When it was time to go – I went. I pushed Johnny Sauter up there to the lead and I took the lead myself. I felt like we had the truck to win the race. I feel like I let my guys down, but I really don’t know what else I could have done. He (Kyle Busch) had shown signs of going high so I attempted to block high and as I was turning back low, he was back under me and it say plain as day in the rule book that you can’t advance your position by going below the yellow line. Now I guess I have not seen the proper replay, but the one that I saw, I felt like he went below the yellow line to advance his position and he ran a shorter distance and he beat me by two one-thousandths of a second. Call it what you will – we finished second.” What were you told my NASCAR about the yellow line rule? “I just went and talked to him and the reason that they gave me was that Kyle’s (Busch) truck was sideways when he was next to me and that’s what made him go below the yellow line. I didn’t force him below the yellow line, they didn’t tell me that I did. They said that he went below the yellow line because he was trying to regain control of his truck. I guess they’re going to have to do a better job elaborating in the driver’s meeting on what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. I guess if you get out of control and you go below the yellow line and save it and still gain a position that is okay. I’m still confused and I’m still disappointed. I probably shouldn’t even be doing interviews right now because I’m obviously biased because I finished second.”
TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 7th
CRAIG GOESS JR., No. 46 Greenville Toyota Tundra, Team Gill Racing Finishing Position: 10th
DAVID STARR, No. 81 Zachry Toyota Tundra, Green Light Racing Finishing Position: 11th
MIKE SKINNER, No. 5 Exide Toyota Tundra, Randy Moss Motorsports Finishing Position: 15th How was your truck in today’s race? “Our Exide Tundra was really good today. We started in the back and it didn’t take any time at all to get to the front. We just sat there and rode – 10th, 12th, 15th – whatever it was. We used patience and tried to sum up who we were going to work with at the end of the race. Our Tundra would push good and it wouldn’t pull good. You always make plans that you’re going to work together and you’re going to do this and that. We all thought we were going to work together. Talladega and Daytona – as soon as the green flag comes out, all that pretty much goes out the window.”
TODD BODINE, No. 30 Valvoline Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 18th What happened that took you out of the race? “That’s a shame that things like that happen. I think the 95 (Grant Enfinger) just gave me the shove from hell and thought he was going to bump me somewhere. Turned me sideways and caused a big wreck. My guys being the great crew they are were trying to put the truck back together to pick up a few spots.”
CHRIS FONTAINE, No. 84 Glenden Enterprises Toyota Tundra, Glenden Enterprises Finishing Position: 19th MAX PAPIS, No. 9 GEICO Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 27th
JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 7 visitPIT.com Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 33rd How disappointed are you to be out of the race so early? “It’s real unfortunate for everyone over on the visitPIT.com Toyota Tundra. We had a really good truck. I was just sitting there playing around. I would jump up out of the pack and fall back – then move back up. Real proud of all the guys and all the hard work that they put into it. Real unfortunate that it had to end this way.”