Saturday, August 1, 2015

Kyle Busch Saves Fuel to Win Pocono Truck Race

Kyle Busch stops for his checkered flag at Pocono, Aug. 1, 2015.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs  
In the latest installment of his remarkable run of victories, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway. This is his first win behind the wheel of a truck at Pocono and his 43rd win in the series.

Crew chief Jerry Baxter said the truck went a lap farther than they’d calculated and he credited Busch with saving enough gas at the end to get it done.

“I made sure under yellows to just save as much as I could and keep shutting it off. That’s the best opportunity you have,” Busch said. “You know, these things are gas guzzlers. They only get five miles to the gallon if you’re lucky.”

Busch even employed a slightly unconventional fuel-saving method.

“It may sound crazy, but I think we’re going 70 miles an hour and I was drafting off the pace truck, too, as much as I could. So, that may have saved a little bit.”

This victory makes it the 10th season in his career Busch has won at least one race in each of NASCAR’s three top-tier series.

Overall, the Pocono Mountains 150 started with a boom and ended with a bing-bing-bang.

First, the boom. Only six laps into the race, Kevin Harvick, who was filling in for Cole Custer, who at 17 is too young to run on the 2.5 mile Pocono track, swooped past under NCWTS points leader Matt Crafton. As a result, Crafton seemed to move up, tangling with Brad Keselowski up against the outside wall of Turn 3. Keselowski’s No. 29 truck was done for the day and finished 30th.

Crafton's immediate reaction was to assume that because Keselowski owns the No. 19 team battling Crafton for the championship, that Keselowski wrecked the No. 88 ThorSport entry on purpose.

"The idiot hooked me in the right rear. I mean that’s all there was to it getting into Turn 3," complained Crafton after exiting his truck. "But, I guess maybe that’s what he wants to win a championship for that 19 truck, but he’s got another think coming. I promise you that truck won’t win it. If that’s the way he wants to do it we’ll get it done."

Keselowski denied any malice, saying that he had no intent to wreck anyone's truck, much less to win a championship.

"The last thing I want to do is wreck the points leader, or any one of these guys," explained Keselowski. "I want our team to run up front and earn it."

Crafton’s team worked on his truck and got him back out, 43 laps down, in attempts to make up a spot in the points standings. He ended the day in 28th position.

The bing-bing-bang of three quick cautions started on Lap 56 and resulted in three green-and-white checkered attempts. First was an accident involving Ray Black Jr. and Wendell Chavous, with the latter smacking the wall hard in Turn 3. Next, hard racing between polesitter Erik Jones and Austin Dillon ending in Jones spinning. Then Mason Mingus and John Wes Townley got into each other, bringing out the last G-W-C, and fortunately for fans, the last caution.

Kevin Harvick finished second, with Tyler Reddick bringing home third and jumping to the top of the series standings, 11 points ahead of Matt Crafton. Rookie Cameron Hayley and last year’s winner Austin Dillon finished 4th and 5th, respectively.

Complete unofficial finishing order:
Fin # Driver
1 51    Kyle Busch
2 0    Kevin Harvick
3 19    Tyler Reddick
4 13    Cameron Hayley
5 33    Austin Dillon
6 98    Johnny Sauter
7 17    Timothy Peters
8 54    Matt Tifft
9 14    Daniel Hemric
10 4    Erik Jones
11 11    Ben Kennedy
12 15    Mason Mingus
13 8    John Hunter Nemechek
14 23    Spencer Gallagher
15 2    Tyler Young
16 63    Garrett Smithley
17 5    John Wes Townley
18 74    Jordan Anderson
19 50    Kyle Martel
20 28    Ryan Ellis
21 40    Todd Peck
22 6    Norm Benning
23 1    Travis Kvapil
24 7    Ray Black, Jr.
25 94    Wendell Chavous
26 10    Jennifer Jo Cobb
27 8    Korbin Forrister
28 88    Matt Crafton
29 45    B.J. McLeod
30 29    Brad Keselowski
31 36    Justin Jennings
32 0    Caleb Roark

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