In his final Truck Series event of the 2020 season, Kyle Busch Motorsports Team Owner Kyle Busch, scored the win for the fifth time at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night on what was a hot and blistering day in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Our guys are really good with what they do,” Busch said about his recent Texas dominance in the Truck Series. “They’ve done a great job of putting some fast (Toyota) Tundras underneath me. Real proud of the effort tonight with (Danny) Stockman Jr. (crew chief). Him and I, we almost went five for five this year, I think if we didn’t have the part failure at Charlotte and speeding issues at Atlanta. We probably could have done that.”
“It was nice to have another crew chief in the house. I haven’t worked with (Mike) Hillman Jr. (crew chief for Raphael Lessard) yet. However, it was nice to have a different crew chief, where I feel like we could go out there and be competitive, week in and week out. The 18 (Christian Eckes) and 51 ran together and fast, so that was really cool for me. Now, me turning over the 51 to Chandler (Smith) and some other guys, to cap off the rest of the year, it’s going to be exciting for me to see where their growth is at and our program is at. That’s good news for this truck, but bad news for them, they’ve got no excuses.
Stages 40-40-87 made up the 167-lapper at Texas Motor Speedway. Last week’s winner at Kentucky, Sheldon Creed, drew the pole via random draw based on the top 12 in points.
Stage 1: Lap 1 – Lap 40
The first stage went caution-free, but the stage did have its moments. In the early going, Spencer Davis in his own No. 11 machine, experienced a left front tire rub. Shortly after, Creed experienced similar issues when he had a tire go down on his truck, forcing him to come down pit road and give up valuable track position.
Meanwhile, there were short-lived battles on the track for the lead. Rookie Zane Smith and Kyle Busch traded the top spot three times before Busch managed to check out on Lap 35. The Las Vegas native then held on to take home the stage win with Smith, Tyler Ankrum, Ben Rhodes, Brett Moffitt, Christian Eckes, Todd Gilliland, Matt Crafton, Justin Haley, and Grant Enfinger rounded out the top 10 in the first stage. Even though Crafton ended up in the top 10 for the stage, he pitted under the stage break as the team replaced a battery that was having issues.
Stage 2: Lap 45 – Lap 80
As the green flag flew for the second stage, there were 16 laps of green flag runs before the yellow flew again on Lap 63. Another problem ensued in the ThorSport camp and this time, it was Johnny Sauter who leaked fluid onto the track after blowing up.
When the restart came with nine to go in Stage 2, Christian Eckes shined and had his battle with Busch for the lead. Eckes was able to lead five laps in his first stint out front, but the second caution flew on Lap 74 for Jordan Anderson in the No. 3 as he would crash off Turn 4. Under the yellow, there were a couple of race leaders that pitted for adjustments, which included Busch, Eckes, among a few others. However, Eckes did not take any tires whereas Busch did.
A short seven-lap run was seen, until a caution for Tate Fogleman and Derek Kraus on the backstretch ended the stage prematurely. Brett Moffitt played strategy by staying out and won the stage. Crafton, Ankrum, Rhodes, Smith, Eckes, Kraus, Ryan Truex, Chastain, and Enfinger were the top 10 finishers. Busch would wind up 12th in the stage.
Stage 3: Lap 87 – Lap 167
When the final stage got underway, a fun battle between Zane Smith, Christian Eckes, and Busch was seen. As Smith and Eckes battled each other, this allowed Busch to close in. With around 63 to go, Smith had a big wiggle off Turn 4 and nearly lost it. In doing so, Busch moved to second after passing Smith in the midst of things. Unfortunately, as the laps started to wind down, Smith had a flat right rear go down and had to make a pit stop, which ultimately ruined his chances for a good finish.
Despite Smith’s misfortune, the final round of green-flag pit stops took place right around 40 to go. Most notably, Busch would pit with 37 to go, and almost gave the win away on his stop. As the Las Vegas native made his scheduled pit stop, he almost turned into the wrong pit stall and nearly pitted in Eckes (Busch’s teammate) stall. Fortunately for Busch, he realized it at the last second and saved his day by finding the right box to pit in.
Once stops were completed, Busch cycled out in the lead and began to check out over the leaders. The final yellow of the night flew with 15 to go when Todd Gilliland in the No. 38 got turned by Ben Rhodes in the No. 99 on the backstretch after Gilliland skid up the track and came back down.
The caution would set up a 10 lap dash to the finish and for a few short laps, a six Truck battle for the win was seen. Eckes gave Busch a good run for his money, but Busch fended off the New York native and grabbed the checkered flag for the third time this season and for the third consecutive time in the Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway.
When asked about Busch’s miscue on pit road, his crew chief, Danny Stockman Jr., thought it was funny.
“Yeah, that was funny,” Stockman Jr said. “I actually thought he (Kyle Busch) was messing with them (Christian Eckes pit crew), but I haven’t talked to him about it, who knows. He drives the 18 (in the Cup Series) and he probably thought, he was going to the 18. He caught himself and eventually drove in the 51 box, so that was pretty funny.”
There were five cautions for 26 laps and 15 lead changes among seven leaders. Busch led five times for 72 laps en route to victory.
- Kyle Busch, won Stage 1, led 72 laps
- Christian Eckes, led 52 laps
- Matt Crafton, led two laps
- Stewart Friesen
- Brett Moffitt, won Stage 2, led seven laps
- Tyler Ankrum
- Justin Haley
- Grant Enfinger
- Ben Rhodes, led one lap
- Ross Chastain, 1 lap down
- Derek Kraus, 1 lap down
- Raphael Lessard, 1 lap down
- Ryan Truex, 1 laps down
- Austin Wayne Self, 2 laps down
- Ty Majeski, 3 laps down
- Sheldon Creed, 3 laps down, led seven laps
- Cory Roper, 3 laps down
- Timmy Hill, 3 laps down
- Zane Smith, 3 laps down, led 26 laps
- Clay Greenfield, 4 laps down
- Spencer Davis, 5 laps down
- Codie Rohrbaugh, 6 laps down
- Angela Ruch, 7 laps down
- Spencer Boyd, 11 laps down
- Akinori Ogata, 12 laps down
- Tim Viens, 13 laps down
- Todd Gilliland, OUT, Crash
- Jordan Anderson, 15 laps down
- Jennifer Jo Cobb, OUT, Electrical
- Austin Hill, OUT, Engine
- Brennan Poole, OUT, Crash
- Tate Fogleman, OUT, Crash
- Johnny Sauter, OUT, Engine
- Norm Benning, OUT, Handling
- Natalie Decker, OUT, Engine
- Tanner Gray, OUT, Transmission
Up Next: The NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series head to the Midwest at Kansas Speedway for a doubleheader on Friday and Saturday, July 24 and July 25.