17 November 2012
Trucks: Buescher crowned champion after Gale win
The race was red flagged in order to attend to Blaney and to clear up the mess. Dillon headed to pit lane for repairs, and even though he returned to the track for the green-white-chequered restart he was off the lead lap and no longer able to do anything about Buescher winning the title.
"I'm all right with everything that played out," Dillon insisted despite the obvious disappointment of the moment. "It's just we were going for it and almost had it. We were trying to hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth and almost did it. It bounced off the wall.
"But that's all right," he said again, resisting the temptation to stir conspiracy theories by pointing out that Larson is Buescher's team mate at Turner Motorsports. "We'll be back next year, and we'll be fighting harder than ever, and we'll be hoisting that trophy next year.”
“It's tough that I got into a contender, but I'm racing for the win, also,” said Larson of what happened from his own point of view. "I kind of felt like I had position getting into the corner. I was down to the apron. I think it was hard racing. It sucks I took out Ty, but I guess it's just hard racing."
Later, after watching the video of the incident, Larson added on Twitter: "Feel REALLY bad for [Dillon]. I definitely would never wreck someone on purpose. I just drove over my head." He also refuted suggestions that he'd run into Dillon on purpose on team orders. "Would never do that to help a teammate out. Can't really express how bad I feel about it all," he tweeted.
With the title effectively decided, that only left the race win to sort out: and after the exit from the front of the field of Dillon, Larson and Blaney, it came down to a showdown duel between Kyle Busch and Cale Gale. Gale had the advantage of fresh tyres, while Busch had used up his five sets for the race and had to make do with older rubber for the green-white-chequered overtime finish.
Gale made his superior grip and speed count, and heading into turn 3 on the final lap he managed to get underneath the #18 through the final turn and onto the frontstretch for the run to the finish line. Gale held nothing back and did everything he could to pin Busch to the outside wall to prevent him from coming back, and the two made contact as they crossed the line with just 0.014s between them.
"I got drove into the fence," complained Busch afterwards, with some justification. "That's it. You saw it." It won't help Busch find a new sponsor to replace retail chain Dollar General, who are not renewing their deal with Kyle Busch Motorsports for 2013.
But the race winner was making no apologies for how he'd won his maiden Truck Series victory at Homestead-Miami: "Kyle's a racer," said Gale. "He's been in the same position I've been in. We've all seen hungry racers get an opportunity and take it. That's what you have to do in this sport."
He admitted that Busch had cause for payback against him down the line, but right now it didn't matter. "He owes me, but I saw the chequers in the final race, that's all I can say," Gale shrugged. "A guy like me, it's my first opportunity to come down for the chequered flag in a NASCAR race.
Nelson Piquet Jr.
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