It's been a while since Brian Scott was last in victory lane at the end of a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race - May 2009 at Dover to be exact, 22 starts ago for the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver - so he was taking every bit of pleasure in his achievement that he could after a close end to a crash-strewn Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday night.
Scott had started from third place behind a second row consisting of polesitter Nelson Piquet Jr. and Ryan Blaney. Piquet led for the first eight laps, but then it was Scott who took over at the front and proceeded to look very comfortable indeed out front as he proceeded to lead the next 44 laps in a single uninterrupted stint that included two cautions - a yellow on lap 37 for Jeff Choquette, and another on lap 45 for John King.
It was after the third caution of the night on lap 50 - for a wreck which saw Jason White collect Todd Bodine on the frontstretch - that Scott was finally ousted from the front at the restart by young rookie driver Ty Dillon, but it was a quick return to yellow after Parker Kligerman slid into Matt Crafton's truck at turn 2 on lap 55.
"To get loose and get into the wall, that's not very good driving," admitted Kligerman. "But we were just really loose all night."
The restart on lap 65 also proved short-lived: this time, it was a multi-car incident that caught up polesitter Nelson Piquet Jr., Johnny Sauter, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Miguel Paludo in turn 4. That kept the race under yellow until lap 73, and at the restart it was Cale Gale who went for a spin at turn 4 to promptly return the race to another caution.
Finally on lap 79 came a restart that took, and Ryan Truex took over the lead of the race for 22 laps until his truck started to get tight and Justin Lofton was able to oust him from the top spot, pulling Timothy Peters with him into second place ahead of Brian Scott, with Truex falling to third ahead of Kyle Larson.
A new caution on lap 102 for a frontstretch spin by Brian Weber that also caught out Truex and Blaney shuffled the running order during the pit stop sequence, and at the restart on lap 109 the top ten consisted of Peters ahead of Scott, Larson, Dillon, Joey Coulter, Brendan Gaughan, James Buescher, German Quiroga, Ryan Sieg and Nelson Piquet Jr.
Larson pulled off a nice dive down the inside to take the lead from Peters, but behind them there was trouble: Quiroga locked up driving too hard into turn 1 and proceeded run into the back of Gaughan, with Dillon unable to avoid the accident happening right in front of him.
Gaughan was not pleased, and stormed over to the #51 to rage at the young Mexican who had sparked the wreck: reaching into the cockpit and pulling on Quiroga's to make his emphatic point.
"The kid overdrove the corner. I watched the replay, he overdrove the corner, and he screwed up," fumed Gaughan back in pit lane. "It's pretty self-explanatory."
“First of all, I didn't want to wreck anybody,” responded Quiroga. “I think I braked too late. I could not avoid him. I tried.”
Both Gaughan and Quiroga were done for the night, but Dillon did at east get going after repairs although he still ended up classified in 15th position and dropping a place in the Truck championship standings as a result- although the repercussions weren't quite as bad as they might have been, as points leader James Buescher ended up blowing a tyre near the end of the race which left him classified two spots behind Dillon.
The clean up for the Gaughan/Quiroga required a 13 minute red flag stoppage, and Kyle Larson led at the restart on lap 115 ahead of Scott, Peters, Coulter, Buescher, Sieg, Blaney, Gale, Piquet and Truex. It looked s though the race might make it all the way to the finish without further interruption, but Buescher's blown tyre put him into the wall with less than three laps to go, and green-white-chequered conditions were duly invoked.
That gave Scott his final chance of snatching the lead - and the win - from Larson, and he took it. He admitted after the race that he'd applied something he'd picked up being on the receiving end of it earlier in the evening.
"I probably have to give a dozen roses to Ty Dillon," he explained. "He was able to get by me on a restart earlier by holding me down and driving in deep through the corner and just keeping position on me - and I learned from it!
"I just went into the corner really hard, held him down and got him a little loose," he added. "Had it not been for the caution at the end, I don't think we could have done it, he admitted: "It got a little too tight on the long run. Kyle Larson's truck was too fast. It was the only truck all day I couldn't close in on."
“I had him beat in that green-flag run,” rued Larson after following the #18 across the finish line less than a minute later. “On the restart, he took the air off my truck going into one, and I got loose.”
While a win for the 20-year-old Californian would have been something of an upset, arguably it's Scott who needed the result more. He's at the end of his Nationwide contract with Joe Gibbs Racing after next week, and the Kyle Busch Motorsport 2013 Truck seat has been signed off to Joey Coulter, leaving him casting around for openings.
“I'm on the market," admitted the 24-year-old from Boise, Idaho. "I'm looking for something. I don't know whether it's going to be Nationwide, Truck. I feel like I can still be competitive. The last two years have been rough.”
Joey Coulter managed to pinch third place from Timothy Peters, with the latter still firmly in the running for the Truck Series title as a result of the corresponding setbacks for Dillon and Buescher. Peters is now in second place in the championship standings, 11pts off the leader and just one point ahead of Dillon going into the final race of the season next weekend at Homestead-Miami.
Full race results, plus qualifying and practice
speeds and full Truck Series championship standings