Busch unable to get Michigan truck monkey off his back
With five laps remaining in the Michigan National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, it appeared that Kyle Busch - who entered the day with three runner-up finishes in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series action at the 2-mile oval - was finally going to get the monkey off his back and earn a trip to victory lane. The Las Vegas native led four times for 33 laps and was out front in the closing stages before he got slightly loose as he positioned his No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra to cut off the momentum of then second-place runner Brendan Gaughan. James Buescher was able to slingshot past both trucks and remained out front for the final four laps en route to his first victory of 2013. Busch edged Ty Dillon at the stripe to pick up his fourth top-two finish in six Truck Series starts this season.
"I don't know where (James) Buescher came from, but he got by us, passed us, beat us, so that's all there is to it," said Busch, who has led double digit laps in all six of his Truck Series starts this season. "The Toyota Care Tundra was great today -- really, really fast. I figured that once I got out front, I felt like I could hold everybody off because it was hard to pass. The 62 (Brendan Gaughan) got a run on me down the backstretch and I pulled a little bit low to block and I heard that the 31 (James Buescher) was on the inside of him, so how the 31 can get a run on the 62 who's got a run on me is beyond me. It blows my mind. He got a run on all of us and I got down in turn three way too low on my entry to try to block and I got loose. I don't know if he was that close to me or not, but I had to save my truck and in doing so he just drove right on by."
Busch started from the seventh position and maneuvered his way into the top three by lap 12. When a stalled truck brought out the second caution of the race on lap 16, crew chief Rudy Fugle brought his driver down pit road for a fuel-only stop.
The No. 51 Tundra took the lap-20 restart from the third position and set his sights on the lead. He remained in the third spot when a three-truck accident slowed the field for the third time on 26. Under caution he described his Toyota as "aero loose into Turn 3," a condition that would remain throughout the 100-lap race.
Shortly after the lap-32 restart, "Rowdy" made his way to the front for the first time. The lead would be short lived, as Jeb Burton - who led a race-high 41 laps - made his way back around Busch one lap later. A determined Busch put the ToyotaCare Tundra back out front on lap 45, where he remained when a debris caution slowed the field on lap 56.
Busch brought his Tundra to the service of his over-the-wall crew, who administered a four-tire and fuel stop, along with a track bar adjustment to try and provide their driver more stability into Turn 3. The No 51 Toyota returned to the track scored in the second position, behind a truck that made a two-tire stop, for the ensuing restart.
After taking the lead for a one-lap stint, the Las Vegas native settled into the runner-up spot. After a one-truck spin on the backstretch slowed the field for the sixth time, Busch restarted second on the inside of race leader Miguel Paludo. "Rowdy" was able to muscle his way to the lead by the time the field got back to the stripe and remained out front when a debris caution occurred on lap 91.
Busch would hold serve on the lap-94 restart and remained on point until Buescher's slingshot move gave him the lead on lap 97. The No. 51 Tundra pulled to Buescher's bumper but was unable to get back by, leaving Kyle Busch Motorsports' owner-driver with his fourth runner-up finish in seven Truck Series starts in the Irish Hills of Michigan.
Buescher ended up finishing .546 seconds ahead of Busch. Dillon finished third, Joey Logano fourth and Paludo rounded out the top-five finishers.
KBM driver Joey Coulter finished 14th in a backup Tundra after cutting a tire and crashing into the wall during Friday's final practice session. Coulter's teammate, Darrell Wallace Jr., was involved in two separate accidents and relegated to a 21st-place finish after completing just 52 of the 100 laps.
There were seven caution periods for 29 laps. Five different drivers led, exchanging the lead 10 times. Twelve drivers failed to finish race number 12 on the 2013 Truck Series schedule.
The ToyotaCare Racing team moved up one position to second in the owner's championship standings after 12 races. The team now sits 45 points behind the series-leading No. 88 team. Busch will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra when the series resumes action on Aug. 21 for the UNOH 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Live Television coverage on Fox Sports 1 beings at 7:30 p.m. ET with the NCWTS Setup Show.
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