By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie driver William Byron claimed his fourth win 10 races into his inaugural season in the Truck Series at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on Thursday night in the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225. His latest win also made history for Kyle Busch Motorsports, giving the organization its 51st series win and, with it, sole possession of the honor of winningest team in Camping World Truck Series history.
“I can’t say enough about this organization,” Byron said. “It’s so awesome to have Kyle (Busch, owner) and Samantha’s (Busch, Kyle Busch’s wife) support, Toyota’s support with great Toyota Tundras and great JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) Engines tonight. It’s a dream come true to get a win like this. It just keeps going. I have a great team behind me. I have to thank Liberty University (sponsor) and everyone that puts it together.”
John Hunter Nemechek, on four newer tires than the top-two trucks of Byron and Daniel Hemric, moved into second position with three laps remaining in the 150-lap race and closed in on Byron and the win, but Byron was able to remain up front in the closing laps. Nemechek finished second, and Hemric was third for the second-consecutive race.
“I was probably looking out the rearview mirror on the straightaway and sometimes off the corner,” Byron said. “That was all I was doing — trying to block whatever line they were going, and with these trucks, you get a big draft and was trying to manage that. We have a great race team. I can’t wait for the chase, and I’m just having a blast.”
Kyle Busch Motorsports, specifically, Byron and Suarez dominated the race, with Suarez leading 59 laps in the event’s first half, while Byron took over in the second half and led a race-high 70 laps.
Suarez led 59 laps by the time he gave up track position to take four tires during a caution that came out on lap 57. Suarez never returned to the lead. He lost positions, again, with another four-tire stop during a lap 104 caution and then compounded the problem with a pit road speeding penalty.
While Suarez gave up the lead during the lap 57 caution, Timothy Peters stayed out to inherit the top spot. On the restart, he lost the lead to Reddick. On lap 80, Peters was able to retake the lead for a couple of laps before Byron moved into the top position on lap 82. Byron led most of the remaining laps.
With four KBM trucks among the 32-trucks that made up the race field, at one point early in the race, the organization held down the top-two positions in the running order, with Suarez and Byron running one-two, followed by Christopher Bell in third.
Meanwhile, teammate and team owner Kyle Busch never appeared to be a factor. Busch struggled with a splitter issue that resulted in multiple pit stops during a couple of cautions that kept him near the back of the top-20. He was retired from the race early by crashing into the retaining wall on lap 57 after contact from Spencer Gallagher.
“It was self-inflicted. I guess,” Busch said. “Got back in traffic, and I don’t know. Going down the backstretch, I thought I had enough room on the inside, but I know who I crashed with. That doesn’t surprise me; now I know how John Wes Townley feels. It’s just a shame. Brand new truck and really good piece destroyed.”
Gallagher was involved in two incidents with Townley the previous race at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., that ultimately led to a scuffle between the two drivers.
With the boss in the garage, Bell finished fourth to give Kyle Busch Motorsports three trucks in the top-five of the finishing order. Johnny Sauter rounded out the top-five. Finishing sixth through 10th were Cameron Hayley, Brandon Jones, Matt Crafton, Peters and Reddick.
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