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Trucks: Saturday afternoon cruise for Busch

24 September 2011

As motor racing victories come, they don't look much easier than the rout Kyle Busch enjoyed in the F.W. Webb 175 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon on Saturday afternoon.

Busch started from pole position after beating arch rival Kevin Harvick to pole position by 0.097s earlier in the day, and then converted that to the race lead at the green flag - and stayed in front for the first 130 of the 175 laps of the race on the one-mile oval track. Not even two cautions for debris (on laps 62 and 71) could dislodge him.

Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon settled early into second position, and used the opportunity presented to him by the cautions closing up the field to make a spirited attempt to pass the #18 on the inside, but Busch had it well covered and went back to pulling out a safe margin over such trifling inconveniences.

Dillon did get to lead briefly on lap 131 when Busch headed to pit lane for tyres and fuel, but with no further cautions to help them claw back Busch's now-6s lead over the rest of the field there was little anyone could do to stop the inevitable victory.

Busch went into cruise mode in the last 30 laps and had to deal with traffic, allowing Dillon to mount a late charge and cut the lead back to under 4s, but it was all academic - this one was decided almost before the race got underway, such was the #18's superiority on the Magic Mile. Only six cars finished on the lead lap by the time Kyle was done.

"We didn't have to make too many changes, just got the feel to where I liked it," said Busch of his preparations ahead of the race. "I felt really good with it. To be able to qualify first and be able to run and set sail on our own agenda really meant a lot.

"Certainly there were some times getting back in lapped traffic, trying to lap them, hurt us a little bit, kind of slowed us down an awful lot," he admitted. "But once we could get clear of them, we could run really fast lap times again."

It's Busch's sixth win in 14 starts in 2011, and the 30th Truck Series victory of his career. He won here in the same race last year too - but that time led a mere 156 of 175 laps of the race.

But Dillon's strong second place - coming a week after he claimed victory at Chicagoland Speedway - means that he takes the lead in the Camping World Truck Series championship with 661pts over James Buescher (659pts after finishing seventh at Loudon), Johnny Sauter (654pts after finishing fifth), Timothy Peters (636pts after a ninth place) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (614pts, fourth today.)

"We came out leading the points with six to go, and I'm happy leading the points," said Dillon, who explained he'd done all he could to figure out any way of catching Busch during the afternoon.

"He was struggling in traffic. That's the only time I could gain on him. I came to him at the end, but just didn't have enough for him early," he said. "Kyle was dominant. We were just too free that last run."

As a Cup regular, Busch does not score driver points in the Truck Series although as the owner of the #18 he's locked in a battle with Kevin Harvick who owns the #2 as well as the #8 of Nelson Piquet Jr. (24th today) and the #33 of Ron Hornaday.

"I got stuck behind the #88 there and lost a half a track," said Harvick. "We felt like we had a truck capable speed-wise, it's just really hard to pass," he added, suggesting that track position could be equally crucial in the Cup race on Sunday afternoon.

Harvick announced this week that the assets of Kevin Harvick Inc. are to be sold off to Eddie Sharp Racing at the end of this season, as Harvick withdraws from team ownership to concentrate on his Cup series driving career. "Our main concern when we decided what to do with KHI was to keep everything on the track," said Harvick mid-week. "With Eddie acquiring the [#8 and #33] teams, that's going to give everybody the opportunity to move forward."

Full race results and qualifying and practice times available.


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