Toyota Racing NGROTS Post-Race Recap — Homestead

Busch leads final 24 laps to earn the victory

HOMESTEAD, Florida (June 13, 2020) – Tundra driver Kyle Busch earned his second NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win of the season at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday evening. It is the second victory for Toyota this season and the third consecutive Toyota win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Homestead-Miami Speedway
Race 5 of 23 – 134 Laps, 201 Miles
American Muscle

2nd, Tyler Ankrum*
3rd, Ross Chastain*
4th, Chase Elliott*
5th, Johnny Sauter*

*non-Toyota driver


KYLE BUSCH, No. 51 Cessna Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports

Finishing Position: 1st

How concerned were you with other trucks restarting behind you with fresher tires?

“You’re always concerned about tires being better and having the opportunity to out-show you. Felt like six laps was just the right amount and anymore than that, it probably would have been a different outcome. Can’t say enough about this Cessna Beechcraft Toyota Tundra, it was awesome tonight. It’s been awesome all year, we’ve just had some fluke things that have kind of taken us out of the running. The last restart there with Ross (Chastain) behind me, he got a good launch and I got a good shove from him down the frontstretch and then there was room there in the middle for him. Obviously, here we go. Had to give him room and we just tried to race it out on the outside and see what happens off of turn two. Just able to get that momentum off the outside. I didn’t lift much through the corner and just got that run and then those guys got side-by-side and that let me get away. Really good race for us and proud of everybody at KBM, proud of the effort. I know we’ve got issues and we’ll continue to work on that and get better.”

Was this good medicine for the last couple races after being able to make it back from the penalties to start the race?

“Yes and no. We’ve thrown away the last two races. This is how we’re supposed to perform and run and look. The deal with the infraction was a fluke deal, that’s how these trucks were allowed to run last time we were down here in Homestead. This thing has just been sitting on the side waiting for me to get behind the wheel of it and it didn’t go to the fab shop so it didn’t get a bar cut out that was legal here last year and not legal here this year. Not sure there was a performance advantage to it, just something we’ve been running and not allowed to do it anymore.”

What was your mindset going into the race knowing you had to start at the back of the field?

“Nothing we were going to do about it so we just had to work on what we had thrown at us and what we were going to have to overcome. I knew the Cessna Beechcraft Toyota Tundra here was going to be awesome. Thanks to TRD and Rowdy Energy, everybody that helps us here and makes us so fast and want to say thanks to Big Machine Hand Sanitizer as well, they were on the quarter panel the last two weeks and we didn’t win and now they’re not here and we won. I think there’s something to that and I am a bit superstitous. Just trying to remain calm and knowing that we had a fast piece. We actually thought and we timed it out, that I was going to be a lap down. When it all shook out to where I wasn’t a lap down, we were like, ‘Okay, let’s just roll here, we’re going to be fine and that changes the complexion entirely of what we thought we were going to have to do.’

Was this track different in June than what we normally have in November?

“I don’t know. I haven’t run the November race in a long time because I’ve been eliminated from being able to run that race. This engine package, I’ve never run here before so definitely some differences and definitely some things that we planned for and I think we were right on. It seemed like the track was really loose tonight and we were really loose. We actually went loose for awhile and then it kind of came back to me at the end and I just could check out. It was real interesting how the runs played out there. Again, our 51 Tundra was awesome.”

Can you translate anything to tomorrow?

“I think you can a little bit, but with the daytime, it’s going to be slick. It’s going to be way different than what we were here last time. We thought last time it was slick, but it’s going to be slick. From what I expected it to be, there’s definitely less throttle on time. I would expect tomorrow to get a little more racey and be a little more out of the gas like we saw at Atlanta.”

Can you take us through the day starting with the penalty in inspection?

“I guess some rules were changed over the off-season and the truck we ran tonight I think ran here at Homestead last year and they just put it off to the side knowing that I would be in it in March. It’s now June, but still it never made it’s way to the fab shop for some updates or for some bars that needed to be cut out due to NASCAR changing the rules. We missed it and came down here with that bar in there and I guess they wanted to prove a point. We had a big penalty, probably bigger than it would have been if there had been another driver in the truck. We’ll take it and move on. We kicked everybody’s ass anyways. Great night for our Cessna Beechcraft Toyota Tundra. It was cool to get out there and run as we should and how we know KBM ttrucks have the speed to do.”

What will be your final truck race this season and why?

“With all the schedule changes and stuff like that, it was originally supposed to be Kansas. That is Cessna’s home and they’re from not to far away up the road and we would have really liked to have been able to put on a show in front of them and their fans and people that support their NASCAR program and coming out to support the race. Obviously, no fans allowed anymore and Kansas turned into a doubleheader so switching a driver out puts them to the back on the second day so we didn’t want to do that. So we moved our race to Charlotte from that one, but my next one will be Texas. I’ll finish up at Texas and that will be it.”

Are you comfortable with no Cup practice at Talladega next weekend?

“I think it would be more of an issue with the engine tuners and knowing whether or not we guessed correct on the gear. Then obviously whether they can guess right on the fuel mapping of the engine, stuff like that with it just being different RPM and essentially less horsepower. I think it’s going to be something more challenging for them than for us drivers. I don’t think any of us would have any problem with it.”

Do we need practice or some type of testing with changes in tires and some rules?

“I think they enjoy it the way it is right now with obviously some guys coming in and hitting it and some guys coming in and missing it. Most notably if you have your big name guys missing it such as ourselves with the 18 car, then it’s a bigger story and it’s a bit more interesting to watch and to see if we can overcome and come back from our deficits that we keep putting ourselves in so early in these races with the M&M’s Camry. As far as myself and the 18 and if I were to say what we wanted. It’s funny, if I say it, we’ll never get it so I shouldn’t say it. We would prefer to have a practice, whether it’s 30 minutes, 50 minutes, 60 minutes, whatever it is, but just one set of tires to be able to go out there, get a baseline, run some laps, check our heights and make sure our cambers and stuff are all set and good because so far that’s where we’ve been missing it the most I feel like. We’ve come to some of these race tracks over-cambered on the right-front and we’re really making the right-front tire mad. That’s what happened in Bristol for us. We still ran good, but it was still not right and then also Martinsville, that was definitely our problem. We just couldn’t overcome it once we got that lap down and then we went two laps down and then we were one lap down. We were all over the place. One set of tires and one practice would certainly bode well for us.”

Were there any other drivers tonight that impressed you?

“I can’t say that I really ran along with anybody. Ross (Chastain) was pretty good there in that second stage when we were running with him. He had some early speed in the runs, but wasn’t capable in the long runs. I felt like our truck was really fast in the long runs and had good balance the longer we went actually. Felt good about my truck, but really didn’t get a chance to run around many others.”

How different does it feel racing at Homestead with it not being the championship race weekend?

“Everything is so different right now that nothing feels normal. You come to the race track, there’s no fans, it’s very empty. It feels like you’re here for a test session, test races or something. I remember we did test races at Charlotte a few years ago when they first came out with this new generation car. It’s kind of similar to that I guess, nobody in the grandstands. Overall, being down here this time around with no championship on the line is certainly different. I remember coming here last time, we did win the championship so I left here with another championship trophy, which was awesome. It’s kind of a little bittersweet you could say that we’re not racing with that opportunity right now. Overall, I feel like it’s just like any other race now that there’s not that pressure on the line and this race tonight was definitely a lot slicker because of the hot race track and definitely different than it’s been the last couple times we’ve been here.”

You’ve claimed you’ll leave the Xfinity Series after 100 wins, how long will you continue to race in the Truck Series?

“Trucks, as long as I’m allowed to race and my name is on the door, I’ll be running as many as I possibly can. You’re not going to get rid of me. Maybe one day they’ll lax the rules again and I can run more or maybe one day I’ll just come run trucks like Mark Martin did after he was done with his Cup stuff and I’ll go run all the truck races and get a truck championship so who knows.”

AUSTIN HILL, No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing Enterprises

Finishing Position: 7th

Ran top five all night, and ended up finishing seventh. How was your race?

“We started off the race really good. We led the first stage and there at the end we ended up losing it. Our United Rentals Tundra started off on the free side and throughout the race it started getting tighter and tighter on us. We were trying to keep up with adjustments. Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) did a great job keeping up with adjustments. It’s just that we had a more of a short run truck tonight than we had in the past. Last year, we had a really good long run truck. I think that’s what you saw Kyle (Busch) be able to stretch it out on us a little bit. He could really put down some really good lap times on the long run. Our United Rentals Toyota Tundra was fast all night. We ran really inside the top three all night long. There at the end, we came down into the pits and we thought that taking six lap old tires would be good enough to propel us and get us a top five finish. When we went back green there, the truck drove different than it had all night. It didn’t have any front or rear grip. It was just kind of in a four wheel slide those last five or so laps. I was just kind of hanging on there in the end. So we are not really sure why it flipped the switch on us and started driving that way at the end, so we are going to go back to the drawing board and see what we maybe could have done different to run those last few laps a little different. All-in-all it was a good points night for us. We had good stage points, not the finish we were wanting because we ran inside the top five all night. At the very least, we were hoping to run third. It’s a little disappointing, but I’m excited to go the next race and see if we can get this thing in victory lane.”

CHRISTIAN ECKES, No. 18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports

Finishing Position: 8th

You had a great race, and looked like perfect pit strategy. Talk about your race as a whole.

“The Safelite Tundra was really, really good on long runs. It wasn’t in the beginning but we made really good adjustments and we were able to get it to that point. We had really good pit strategy, but it kind of just didn’t work out in the end. It got too tight on me, and just kind of got pushed around on the restart, but overall it was a good day. The truck is kind of in one piece, so we will move on to Pocono and hopefully be a couple spots better there.”

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