A "Rowdy" rally in thunder valley
After starting Wednesday night's UNOH 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway from the 10th position, Kyle Busch slowly muscled his way up to the runner-up position on lap 65. Busch was clocked speeding leaving pit road and took the lap-77 restart from the 27th position. The Las Vegas native made his way back up to 10th with just over 70 laps remaining, but was unable to advance further and appeared in line for a disappointing finish, until a one-truck accident bunched the filed with just over 20 laps remaining.
After pitting for four tires and fuel, "Rowdy" was scored in the eighth spot for the ensuing restart. When the bottom lane got bottled up, the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra emerged from the pack second when the final caution of the night flew on lap 190. When the race went back green on lap 193, Busch was able to work his way around Ryan Blaney and then in the closing laps held off a hard-charging Timothy Peters, who wrecked off Turn 4 trying to make a pass for the win, to pick up his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of 2013.
"Coming to the checkered, I knew I had it, I just had the momentum and Timothy (Peters) just tried to throw a 'Hail Mary' there, I guess and wrecked a pretty good race truck," said Busch of the exciting finish. "I hate it for him in doing that. We had a great Toyota Care Tundra today. Messed up a little bit in qualifying and then definitely got behind on pit road there with my penalty, so I hated that I did that to my guys. Just stuck in there and persevered and tried to work through that and get back to the front. I can't say enough about Toyota, Flexco, Monster Energy -- my pit crew was awesome today there on that final pit stop getting us some spots -- JGR Engines, Camping World - we appreciate you guys and the fans that are here, too. It's always fun to give them a little razzle I guess you would say before they get the dazzle on Saturday."
After his Tundra was extremely loose in qualifying, crew chief Rudy Fugle made several changes before the start of the race to try and give his driver more stability. Busch communicated that the changes were too extreme in the early stages of the race, but was able to maneuver his tight-handling Toyota from his 10th starting position up to the runner-up spot before making his first scheduled stop of the night on lap 65.
After being clocked too fast exiting, per NASCAR rules, the No. 51 Tundra was sent to the back of the longest line. Six laps after the ensuing restart, John Wes Townley spun in front of Busch and when drivers slammed the brakes to avoid him, the nose of Busch's Toyota slammed into one of them and caused minor damage to the grill.
KBM's owner-driver took the lap-89 restart from the 20th spot and by the halfway mark of the 200-lap event had advanced up to the 14th spot. As a 90-lap green-flag run ensued, Busch slowly but surely made his way back into the top 10. He had subsided to the 11th spot and was on the cusp of losing a lap to Peters when Jeff Agnew brought out the caution when he wrecked on the frontstretch.
"Free this bad boy up in the center," exclaimed Busch on the radio. After a lightning quick stop by the over-the-wall crew, the ToyotaCare Tundra returned to the track scored in the eighth spot for the restart. When Matt Crafton's truck sputtered on the inside lane the first four trucks in the top row came out of Turns 1 and 2 holding the top-four positions. By the time the field got back to the stripe, the No. 51 Tundra had made his way around two more competitors and Rowdy set his sights on race leader Ryan Blaney.
Another caution occurred on lap 190 and bunched the field once again. Busch got a strong run on the ensuing restart and was able to inch past Blaney coming to the stripe, Blaney managed to get back by on the next lap and then "Rowdy" went back to the point for good with six laps remaining.
Defending race winner Timothy Peters, who led a race-high 125 laps, made a feverish attempt to get back out front over the final two laps. Peters pulled even with Busch through Turns 1 and 2 on the final lap and the two Toyota drivers raced side-by-side down the backstretch. The No. 51 Tundra took the high line through Turns 3 and 4 and was able to get a strong run coming to the stripe. Peters gave it all he had running the inside lane off Turn 4, caroming off of Busch's truck and then slamming into the inside wall as he crossed the stripe.
Busch picked up his 33rd career Truck Series victory his fourth in NASCAR's third division at Bristol and his 119th career National Series win. Peters crossed the stripe 0.050 seconds behind him in the runner-up spot. Ryan Blaney finished third, Johnny Sauter fourth and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five finishers.
KBM driver Joey Coulter finished 11th in the GunBroker.com Tundra. Darrell Wallace Jr. had a top-10 run spoiled by a mechanical issue and ended up finishing six laps down in the 28th position.
There were five caution periods for 32 laps. Four different drivers led, exchanging the lead seven times. Six drivers failed to finish race number 13 on the 2013 Truck Series schedule.
The ToyotaCare Racing remained second in the owner's championship standings after 13 races. The team now sits 32 points behind the series-leading No. 88 team. Chad Hackenbracht will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra when the series resumes action on Sep. 1 for the Truck Series inaugural trip to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Mosport, Canada. Live Television coverage on Fox Sports 1 beings at 2 p.m. ET with the NCWTS Setup Show.
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