Kyle Busch entered Friday night's Fast Five 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. looking to three-peat as the race winner and maintain his bragging rights as the only victor in the series at the 1.5-mile D-Shaped oval.
After running second to Kevin Harvick for the majority of the second half of the race, crew chief Eric Phillips knew that his best chance to propel his driver to a third straight victory at Chicagoland was to use pit strategy. With 20 laps remaining, he rolled the dice and ordered up a two-tire pit stop. Harvick had made a four-tire stop on the previous lap, so the strategy allowed Busch, who had trailed by three seconds before each driver made their final stop, to return to the track four seconds ahead of Harvick.
The only problem was eventual race winner Austin Dillon, who was running third before the final pit stops, also elected to make a two-tire stop and managed to come out ahead of Busch on the track. Johnny Sauter, who had yet to make his final pit stop, stood in the No. 18 Dollar General Tundra's path to Dillon. Sauter fought hard to keep the second spot away from Busch for several laps until he was forced to come down pit road for his final stop of the night. As the two battled for second, Dillon was able to stretch his lead on the field. The second-year driver went on to cross the stripe 4.950 seconds ahead of Harvick, earning his second victory of the season and fourth of his career.
Running second with five laps remaining, Busch communicated to his crew that the right rear tire appeared to be going down. In the closing laps, Busch surrendered two more positions and brought the No. 18 Dollar General Tundra across the finish line in the fifth position. The top-five finish was the Las Vegas native's series-leading 10th of the 2011 season.
"The Dollar General Tundra was pretty good all night, but we didn't have a truck that could stay out front and hold those guys off," said Busch, who led twice for a total of 10 laps. "Eric made the right call to take two tires -- we are here to win races and that was our best shot to win tonight."
Nelson Piquet Jr. finished third and Parker Kligerman came home fourth. Sauter, Matt Crafton, Miguel Paludo, Cole Whitt and Ron Hornaday Jr. completed the top 10.
There were three caution periods for 15 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 150-lap race.
KBM's No. 18 Tundra remains in second place in the NCWTS owners' point standings, 40 points behind KHI's No. 2 truck, with seven races remaining.
Kyle Busch Motorsports PR