Sunday, September 19, 2021

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Kyle Busch Overcomes Speeding Penalty to Win at Bristol

Kyle Busch overcame a speeding penalty on the pit stop in between the second and final stage to secure his 49th career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Matt Crafton finished second followed by John Hunter Nemechek, Grant Enfinger, and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five.

Stage One

After a one hour and 58 minute rain delay, Busch and teammate, Christopher Bell, lead the field to green to start the UNOH 200. Busch rocketed out to the lead, while Noah Gragson made the move on the outside of Bell for second. No one was able to contend against Busch until the caution came out with 31 laps remaining when Josh Reaume lost a tire in turns three and four putting out the caution for the first time of the evening.

Brad Keselowski Racing teammates, Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric were the only two leaders to pit during the caution. Busch would lead the field to green, this time with Noah Gragson in second. Again, Busch would shoot out to the lead while Gragson was left to battle with the No. 88 of Matt Crafton who would eventually make the move into second. T.J. Bell would go around putting out the caution for the second time. Once again none of the leaders pitted with just a few laps remaining in Stage 1.

Busch would rocket out with the lead again and en route to victory in stage one followed by Gragson, Crafton, Bell, Enfinger, Brandon Jones, Rhodes, Sauter, Justin Haley, and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top-10, all active drivers earning stage points.

Stage Two 

Busch’s crew would get him off pit road first followed by Crafton, but it wouldn’t be the battle for the lead. Cindric and Briscoe stayed out after pitting during the first caution and would lead the field to green to start stage two. Cindric would hold onto the lead until the No. 88 of Crafton moved the No. 19 out of the way for the lead. Cindric would save it and remain in second.

On fresher tires, Busch made strides toward the front passing teammate Bell for third, and then eventually Cindric for second. Busch began to use the higher lane but lapped traffic kept him from securing the lead, but a few laps later, he’d make the pass and sail off to sweeping the stages of the night with Crafton coming home in second. Cindric, Rhodes, Bell, Gragson, Sauter, Haley, Enfinger, and J.H Nemechek all earned stage points for the afternoon.

Final Stage

Busch swept the stages the last two races, but would manage to find a way to lose the race and it seemed like a speeding penalty would end his chances for his fifth victory at Bristol. Along with Busch, his teammate Gragson would also land a penalty. Gragson’s penalty was for crew members over the wall too soon.

Busch won the race off pit road but with the speeding penalty, Crafton would take the lead and would lead the field to green, but the race would just be getting started as the No. 46 truck began to use a brand new line that worked to move through the field. While Busch would start moving through the pack, Rhodes and Sauter would battle for second, while Crafton continued to lead.

That line nearest to the wall clicked for Busch as he passed Crafton for the lead and began to sail toward the victory until the caution came out in front of him. Justin Haley had two wheels touch the apron and he rode up into the No. 44 of Austin Wayne Self right in front of Busch. The late caution would set up NASCAR Overtime for the NCWTS, the first time for the trucks with the new overtime line procedure. Busch would use the better grip on the bottom to shoot out to the lead and ultimately secure the victory.

“I knew once we got that penalty, I had to go somewhere other than where everyone else was and I just started grooming the top and it took about 15 laps for it to come in and then it was pretty fast.” Busch told Fox Sports 1 following the race in victory lane. “Can’t say enough about these guys on the Banfield Pet Hospital Tundra. It was awesome, it was awesome when we unloaded, we made some fine tune adjustments and she was really good all day long.”

Noteworthy Nuggets from Tonight’s Race

Another Strong Bristol Run Results in Another Second Place Finish for Crafton 

Matt Crafton and Kyle Busch without a doubt had the trucks to beat tonight. Whenever Busch found himself further back in the field, Crafton would be leading and it ended up coming down to the two during a final restart for the victory with Busch coming out on top. It was Crafton’s seventh top-10 at “The Last Great Colosseum” and second runner up finish. Despite not needing the win to make the playoffs, five extra playoff points could have been beneficial for the NCWTS veteran when the playoffs start here in a few weeks.

John Hunter Nemechek Earns Retribution at Bristol 

Last weekend John Hunter Nemechek didn’t even make it out of the first stage after crashing five laps into the LTi Printing 200 at Michigan. This weekend Nemechek earned retribution in the form of a third place finish, earning stage points in Stage 2. On top of earning retribution, Nemechek also earned his fourth top-ten at Bristol in four starts. Nemechek is the defending race winner up north and will look for victory number three when the series returns to Canada.

Enfinger Earns Strong Run, Makes up Ground on Truex 

Grant Enfinger brought the No. 98 Champion Power Equipment Toyota Tundra home in fourth tonight and was able to earn a good chunk of stage points that would’ve propelled into the playoffs had Enfinger never be assessed the ten point penalty earlier in the day for violations last weekend at Michigan. He still sits on the outside but made a little ground on the No. 16 of Ryan Truex.

Engine Issues Sideline Grala Early 

The Daytona winner had a rough evening at Bristol at the conclusion of turn two. He brought the truck down pit road and the team went under the hood which is never a good sign. After only 113 laps, the night of Kaz Grala was ended and the driver would earn his sixth DNF of the season and fifth in six races. The team needs to get back into a rhythm quickly before the playoffs get the green flag.

UNOH 200 Inspection Report 

UNOH 200 inspection is complete with no issues with the exception of two trucks (83-Yeley and 51-H. Burton) missing one lugnut which should result in a monetary fine for both teams.

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