NASCAR Truck: Kyle Busch wins at Chicagoland
Kyle Busch celebrates in victory lane at Chicagoland Speedway after winning the American Ethanol E15 225 on Sept. 16, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Kyle Busch dominated the American Ethanol E15 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Friday night, leading 95 laps en route to his fifth-career Chicagoland truck win in his sixth series start at the track.
“This has just been a really good place for us and for KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) over the years,” Busch said. “We’ve been really fast here, so it was really nice to come out here and keep that speed going.”
Although Busch led nearly two-thirds of the race, his win didn’t go unchallenged in the closing laps. Over the course of the final 20 laps, Cameron Hayley got up to second and challenged Busch for the lead. But on a green-white-checker restart, Hayley lost second to Daniel Hemric and wound up third at the checkered flag.
“We definitely had the faster truck there at the end, but he (Busch) blocked my every move,” Hayley said. “But, overall, it was all I could do.”
Hemric finished second, Christopher Bell and Johnny Sauter were fourth and fifth.
“For whatever reason, Daniel didn’t want to win and didn’t pull out on Kyle,” Hayley said. “He just pushed him. (Tyler) Reddick was behind me, swerving all over the place, and didn’t push me. There was no chance I’d even keep up with Kyle. If I had gotten there, I would have held him tight, but I just didn’t get any help.”
Hayley also missed out on a berth into the Truck Series’ first-ever chase. With the Chicagoland race being the final race of the Camping World Truck Series regular season, the chase field was cemented with Hemric and Timothy Peters taking the final two spots on points, behind six regular-season, series championship-eligible race winners.
Hemric and Peters headed into Friday night’s race with the final two provisional spots. They were all but locked-in, provided the race didn’t produce an initial 2016 win for a series regular.
Peters struggled throughout the race, suffering a penalty for an uncontrolled tire and then a couple of unscheduled pit stops for tire issues stemming from a tire rub sustained from contact with the retaining wall. After going a couple of laps down, Peters recovered to finish just outside the top-10 in 11th.
After Spencer Gallagher started on the pole and led the first eight laps, Busch took a quick lead, running up front for three laps, beginning on lap 9. On lap 12, he lost the top spot to KBM teammate, Daniel Suarez.
Suarez was the only driver other than Busch to post a double-digit tally of laps led, running up front for 43 laps. Suarez, though, running second to Busch at the time, dropped outside the top-10 on a restart with just over 20 laps remaining. He took four new tires on another caution soon after, but difficulty getting back up through traffic resulted in a finish just outside the top-10 in 11th.
Busch retook the lead by getting off pit road first during a lap-46 for caution clock expiration and led most of the remainder of the race. He did wind up ninth, due to varying pit strategies, after a lap 105 caution, but he raced up to fifth on the restart and in two laps was back in the lead.
The yellow flag waved a record nine times throughout the race, with the ninth and final caution sending the race into overtime. The green-white-checker restart resulted in one extra lap being added to the 150-lap scheduled distance. The caution only came out three times in the first 100 laps, but six more yellow flags littered the final third of the race, including one for a multi-truck wreck involving Ben Kennedy, Sauter, Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes on lap 112 that led to a 14-minute red flag for track clean-up.
Finishing sixth through 10th were Grant Enfinger, Gallagher, Peters, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick.