By Holly Cain
NASCAR Wire Service
Statistically speaking, Kyle Busch had a perfect night at Kansas Speedway on Friday, sweeping both stage victories in the Wise Power 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, leading the most laps and earning his series record 61st trophy.
But the veteran had to earn that joyous finish – rallying from a fourth-place starting position on the final overtime restart to take the lead in a three-wide battle. He ultimately led the final two laps to take the checkered by .665-seconds over Ross Chastain. It marked the second win of the season for Busch. He’s either won or finished runner-up in his four Truck Series races this season.
Despite the dominance of Busch’s No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, he was on the radio with his team during the race’s final caution, worried there may have been some sort technical problem with his truck. But at the drop of the green, he maneuvered around the front-running trucks of Chastain and Austin Hill, pulling away on the final lap.
Busch’s win marks the fifth straight this season for his Kyle Busch Motorsports. His 59 laps out front was most on the night. It’s Busch’s third victory in his last four Kansas starts.
“No restarts actually went our way tonight, I was shocked, we definitely missed something just being able to come up through the gears and get going,” said the Las Vegas native who turns 36 Sunday.
“It just would not go. Those guys would just swarm us. I think we saw it one of the restarts with the 4-truck (Nemechek) too, he got run over. So all and all, great job by KBM and Toyota, TRD, this Cessna Beechcraft Tundra was awesome.”
Hill finished third, behind Busch and Chastain. Christian Eckes and Busch’s teammate John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top five. Todd Gilliland, Zane Smith, Raphael Lessard, Johnny Sauter and Ben Rhodes completed the top 10.
Series rookie Hailie Deegan finished a career best 13th and was running as high as eighth place, before pitting just before the final restart.
As with Busch, at one point Hill was worried about his truck’s performance – pitting twice during the first stage break but steadily making his way back up through the field. Last year’s regular season champion, Hill hasn’t won since September, 2020 and the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway is statistically, his best track.
“I thought I did everything right on that restart, threw it on the apron and saw Chastain go up to block whoever was coming on his outside and got beside him and from there on out it was a drag race, I was wide open the whole green-white-checkered,” Hill said, adding, “Good finish, finishing third with everything we had going on. I want to win so bad, so just really frustrating right now.”
With his fifth-place finish Nemechek – a two-race winner in 2021 – maintains a 33-point lead over fellow two-race winner Ben Rhodes in the championship standings. And that was good enough to earn Nemechek’s No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports team a $50,000 mid-season “road crew” bonus from series sponsor Camping World.
The series next race, the LiftKits4Less.com 200 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway is Friday night at 7:30 p.m. (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).