Kyle Busch was minutes away from adding the elusive Martinsville Grandfather Clock to his impressive trophy collection when a late caution set up a four-lap shootout. Busch held point for the first two laps, but with two laps remaining Johnny Sauter got around Busch with a bump-and-run maneuver then held off the No. 18 Toyota Tundra to secure the victory. The runner-up finish was the second straight for Busch in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway and ninth consecutive top-five finish in the truck series.
"Once we got back going on that final restart, we just didn't have any turn left and kind of got run over - gave it away," said Busch "Overall it was a really good race for us, we had another strong run and extended our lead in the owners' points. I'm real proud of the guys at Kyle Busch Motorsports. They did a great job adjusting on our Toyota Tundra throughout the race. We were really off the first run and it seemed like a lot of other trucks were also. We took a big swing on our adjustments during the first pit stop. The adjustments were positive and allowed us to run up front for much of the afternoon."
After starting the Kroger 250 from the fifth position, Busch had made his way up to the third when the first caution of the race occurred on lap 17. The Las Vegas native communicated to crew chief Eric Phillips that the No. 18 Toyota Tundra needed more stability when entering the turns.
Busch remained in the third spot when a caution occurred on lap 43. Off the strength of a tremendous restart, he charged past Johnny Sauter into the lead on lap 48. His lead was short lived as Sauter made his way back to the point on lap 51.
As the race continued, the 25-time truck series winner continued to communicate that he needed more stability and suggested that during the first pit stop the team make a big adjustment. He was running in the fourth position when a caution occurred on lap 71. The Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) crew went to work on the No. 18 Toyota Tundra putting on four fresh tires, lowering the trackbar and filling it with fuel.
Busch was scored in the 16th position when the race went back to green flag conditions on lap 77. The adjustments made to the No. 18 Toyota improved the handling of the truck allowing the veteran driver to maneuver his way back into the top five on lap 100.
A five-truck incident on lap 136 brought out the red flag. When the race went back to green flag conditions on lap 143, Busch charged underneath Sauter and Ricky Carmichael in the middle of turns one and two to reassume the lead. He would remain in the lead until pitting under caution on lap 175.
The KBM crew put on four fresh tires and filled the Toyota Tundra with fuel and returned to the track scored in the 13th position. With 50 laps remaining and Busch in the seventh spot, Phillips communicated to his driver that his lap times were faster to the leaders. He also reminded his driver that with tire wear an issue, to take care of his equipment to have something left for the end of the race.
As cautions began to breed cautions, Busch slowly moved his way toward the front of the field. He had made his way up to the second position when Todd Bodine spun in turn two brining out the eleventh caution of the race. Shortly after the restart on lap 220, Busch cleared race leader Austin Dillon off of turn two and took the lead.
A debris caution occurred on lap 223 bringing the field back together. On the restart, Busch held the point and began to distance himself from the second place truck. Making his 21st start at the paper-clip shaped track, Busch appeared destined for his first win until a three car accident on lap 241 brought out the final caution of the race.
Ron Hornaday finished third, followed by Kevin Harvick and Timothy Peters. Rounding out the top 10 were Cole Whitt, Austin Dillon, Ricky Carmichael, Brendan Gaughan, and Max Papis.
The race featured 13 cautions for a total of 61 laps.
The No. 18 KBM Toyota team extended their lead in the owners' point standings to 14 points. The team has finished in the top five in all four NCWTS races this season and nine straight overall.
Kyle Busch Motorsports PR