Saturday, September 25, 2021

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Kyle Busch wins Ford EcoBoost 200; Matt Crafton Crowned Champion

With 18 laps to go, Kyle Busch would take the lead from Austin Dillon and set sail. He would then hold off Brendan Gaughan on three different green-white-checkereds to win the Ford EcoBoost 200.

It marks Busch’s fifth win of the season and gave Kyle Busch Motorsports the Owner’s Championship in a tie-breaker with the No. 88 ThorSport Racing truck.

“It means a lot to Kyle Busch Motorsports, myself, my wife and most importantly all of our employees,” Busch commented after the race. “It’s so much fun to come out here for one to race, but two to win races and have some fun. Thanks to our sponsor for their support. I can’t say enough for this team and Rudy and the guys that he had to work with this year including Hackenbract, Bloomquist and especially Jones last week. Without that win, we wouldn’t have had a chance to win it this week.”

The pair tied after Matt Crafton finished 21st with the tie-breaker coming down to wins. Busch had five wins this season – Charlotte, Dover, Bristol, Chicago and tonight. A sixth win came for the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra this season last weekend with Erik Jones taking the win.

Crafton only had one win on the season – Kansas – but it was enough to hand him the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver’s Championship. By starting the race, Crafton clinched the title.

“It’s been so cool,” Crafton said. “Menards, Duke and Rhonda Thorson and everyone that makes it possible. It’s an honor to get these guys the championship after all their hard work.

“I can’t say how much the whole year means to us. The last couple of months has been a huge burden on my shoulders just trying to sleep at night.”

Crafton ran inside the top 10 early on, though a poor pit stop due to a hung lugnut put him back in traffic. Caught in the midst of three, four-wide racing, Joey Coulter would come up across Crafton’s front bumper with two laps to go, causing Crafton to hit the wall. Crafton said after the race that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when it came to the wreck.

Crafton would drive his wrecked No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra to a 21st position, coming up just shy of the owner’s title.

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier

After making a charge late at Busch off the final corner, Ryan Blaney would finish second and win the 2013 Rookie of the Year title. At the age of 20 years old, Blaney becomes the youngest driver to win the award in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Blaney led the first half of the race after winning the pole, though got into the wall with 41 laps to go while leading, causing him to have to make a late race charge.

“What coulda been? We had a great Cooper Standard Ford and led a bunch of laps,” Blaney said of his night. “I just lost concentration for a couple laps and got into the wall. You’re on the edge, running half an inch off the wall and got in there. I apologize for that. I tried to get Brendan (Gaughan) going  on the restart and lifted him up – sorry about that. if I could’ve got by him sooner, I may have had a shot.”

Brendan Gaughan, who finished fourth in the race, had a different take on the final restart.

“We kept spinning tires on the restart,” Gaughan commented. “He lifted me up there – I get he was trying to push me, but he’s young and there’s a difference between pushing and lifting me up.”

Jeb Burton finished third overall, capping off a solid rookie season that was highlighted by his win at Texas Motor Speedway.

Ron Hornaday rounded out the top five as he was up fighting for the lead in the late going. Hornaday drove the No. 34 for Turner-Scott Motorsports after he was let go from NTS Motorsports following last weekend’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.

“This is so cool to have friends like Mr. Turner, Turner-Scott Motorsports, Smokey Mountain Snuff and guys like Mr. Hendrick to build the motor,” Hornaday said. “When you go to get into the truck and you have five crew chiefs there, it means a lot. Hopefully we can work out something for later.”

John Wes Townley finished sixth followed by German Quiroga, Ross Chastain, Timothy Peters and last year’s race winner Cale Gale.

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