Toyota driver Kyle Busch earned his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory of the year in Friday night’s 300-mile race at Nashville Superspeedway.
The Las Vegas-native started from the pole position and led 140 (of 150) laps en route to victory lane.
On Friday night, Busch became the 10th driver in NASCAR history to surpass the 20,000 laps led mark among the top-three NASCAR series — having now led 20,030 laps combined in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NCWTS.
Toyota drivers Timothy Peters (third), David Starr (eighth) and Craig Goess (ninth) also posted top-10 finishes at the 1.33-mile concrete track.
Tundra drivers Justin Johnson (15th), Justin Lofton (16th), Brendan Gaughan (17th), Todd Bodine (19th), Travis Kvapil (20th), Max Papis (23rd), Miguel Paludo (27th) and Johanna Long (32nd) were also in the field.
Seven Toyota drivers are currently in the top-15 in the unofficial NCWTS points after five of 25 races — Peters (second), Bodine (seventh), Papis (ninth), Starr (12th), Goess (13th), Gaughan (14th) and Paludo (15th).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports Finishing Position: 1st Are you happy to be in victory lane again at Nashville? “I can’t say enough this team, these guys. Happy Easter to everybody out there — it’s a happy Easter weekend. We’re proud to be out here in Nashville racing in Dollar General’s backyard. I can’t tell you enough about these guys on this team — phenomenal job. This Toyota Tundra was awesome thanks to the Triad engine guys who gave us great horsepower. This is a series I love to race in and participate in.”
Did you hear the fans cheering for you tonight after you took the checkered flag? “It was — it was a good show. It might have been boring I guess, for about the first 140 laps or so but Ron (Hornaday) came up there and made things interesting. He’s hell of a wheelman, that old man still gets after it, I’ll tell you that. He definitely gave us a whirl win there — I pulled the same move on him that he pulled on me. You just drive it off into turn three and slide up the race track in front of the guy, so I said, ‘Sure, I’ll do the same thing.’ I got a run on the top and (he) went up to the wall just like I did and I went to the bottom and I said we’re either both going to wreck or we’re both going to make it out of here. We made it happen.”
Were you confident your truck was strong enough to stick on the bottom for the win? “Our truck was really good, it had a great feel to it all night long. Eric (Phillips, crew chief) did a really good job of adjusting on it. We made some minor tweaks to it as the track cooled off and continued to get a little bit better for us. It was really good to get some notes on it for tonight so maybe we can help Jason (Ratcliff, NNS crew chief) tomorrow night.”
What were you thinking during the last 10 laps of the race? “We had a restart there and (Ron) Hornaday got on my corner panel and kept the drag on the truck when he kept alongside of me down the front stretch. He had position on me and I didn’t want to get loose on the bottom side of him. I cleared him off of turn two and then he went to my bottom, and I’m like, ‘Oh boy.’ I tried to give him a little bit of room. He drove it so far in there, I’m like, ‘Well damn, I guess we’re just going to go up the race track.’ He didn’t clear me yet. I just did what I needed to do to try to not wreck and try to get him back on either the next couple laps or the ensuing restart, which fortunately we had. I just pulled the same trick on him. I said, ‘How far do you want to drive it down in there?'”
How much did the track change as the race unfolded? “It changed a little bit with just the cooling temperatures. It started pretty cool, but obviously it’s cool now also. We just made some adjustments to keep up with the track changing and that’s all that we needed to do tonight. We didn’t need to go whole sail on this baby, but it was fast. I can’t thank Rick Ren (general manager), Eric Phillips (crew chief) and all the guys that do such a great job at the shop. They’ve done a nice job preparing some fast race trucks and coming to the race track prepared.”
ERIC PHILLIPS, crew chief, No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports How far has Kyle Busch Motorsports came since your first win here at Nashville last year? “A long ways. I guess it’s been a year and four months since Kyle (Busch) began to put this all together. We started out in probably a 25,000 sq. ft. shop and now in an 80,000 sq. ft. building. We did a lot of moving during the middle of the summer. I was impressed with the guys to be able to keep their focus at that part of the year because we kept on running well and winning races even in that while there were a lot of distractions for the guys. They do a good job week in and week out. There’s a lot of things going on at Kyle Busch Motorsports right now. I was nervous about it this weekend. We had some of our focus off the truck, doing other things, but it worked out. They brought a great piece and they do a great job every week.”
TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 3rd How were you able to hang with the leaders after taking two tires on the last pit stop? “We had a hiccup there on pit road. We didn’t get our Tundra full of fuel and we had to come back down with one (lap) to go. It was a great call by the pit crew — they did a great job. We just didn’t get it full, so we came back down and went ahead so we could put ourselves in position at the end. The tire is so good, it makes everyone so equal that it’s hard to pass here. I was telling Butch (Miller, crew chief), ‘I know you have something in your pocket, let’s do something for track position.’ It was a great call he made taking two tires there towards the end. It got us up towards the front. We were lucky to hang on. I think the cautions were in our favor. It was a great night. I love Nashville. Nelson (Piquet Jr.) had a great truck. He came around me on the outside and we came to the white flag. In the last three races here, I’ve finished fourth and I was thinking, ‘You have to be kidding me, I’m going to finish fourth again.’ Luckily — I wish no bad luck on anybody — but the 33 (Ron Hornaday) had a mishap there and we were able to get by him. It was a great night with Crescent Hand Tools on board with us. This right here is what wins this championship.”
What’s it like racing against Kyle Busch? “Obviously we want to beat him (Kyle Busch). He is good, you can’t take anything away from him. You can learn from him. When we beat him, and we will beat him, it’s going to make our team shine that much more and it’s going to make the resume look a lot better. We’re going to keep fighting. What we did tonight is a championship caliber deal for our team. I was really excited about tonight.”
DAVID STARR, No. 81 Zachry Toyota Tundra, SS Green Light Racing Finishing Position: 8th
CRAIG GOESS JR., No. 46 Greenville Toyota Toyota Tundra, Eddie Sharp Racing Finishing Position: 9th
JUSTIN JOHNSON, No. 51 Vision Airlines Toyota Tundra, Vision Aviation Racing Finishing Position: 15th
JUSTIN LOFTON, No. 77 Lofton Cattle Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 16th
BRENDAN GAUGHAN, No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 17th
TODD BODINE, No. 30 Germain.com Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 19th
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 5 International Truck-Monaco RVs Toyota Tundra Camry, Randy Moss Motorsports Finishing Position: 20th
MAX PAPIS, No. 9 GEICO Toyota Tundra, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 23rd
MIGUEL PALUDO, No. 7 STEMCO-Duroline Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 27th
JOHANNA LONG, No. 20 Panhandle Grading Toyota Tundra, Panhandle Motorsports Finishing Position: 32nd