See full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings
Kyle Busch was never far from the front of the field on Friday night, but for a long time it looked as though he was lacking that essential final bit of pace necessary to see off Timothy Peters, who took the lead with four laps to go and was determined to stop Busch from getting back past again before the chequered flag.
"Certainly I'm going to cherish this one," said Busch, who drives for his own race team Kyle Busch Motorports in the Truck Series rather than his usual Joe Gibbs Racing Cup team. "It's a big win for KBM, not necessarily just myself. Certainly, it's great for Toyota, too, and having Toyota get on the truck tonight and being in Victory Lane is pretty special."
With qualifying on Friday afternoon rained off, the starting order had been set according to practice speeds. That put Ben Kennedy on pole alongside his Turner Scott Motorsports team mate, veteran star Ron Hornaday Jr. for the drop of the green flag at the rain-delayed start of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday evening, the fit race of the Camping World Truck Series championship consisting of 100 laps of the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. Busch started the race from seventh, while Peters was a fairly distant 18th when the action finally got underway under the floodlights.
Pole man Kennedy proved the model of consistency, retaining the lead from Hornaday through a competition caution scheduled for lap 20 and still out in front by the time the first real caution materialised at the halfway point of the race after Jennifer Jo Cobb ran out of fuel. It was the ensuing pit stops that saw Kyle Busch take over at the front after Kennedy was penalised for not maintaining an appropriate pace under the caution, dropping the #31 out of the top ten.
Busch's turn at the front was brief before Timothy Peters was finally able to make a move to the front and successfully challenge for control of the proceedings. However their battle was interrupted by a major caution on lap 74 when Ross Chastain made contact with the back of Parker Kilgerman's truck, turning the #58 so that it made contact with Mason Mingus who was minding his own business running the inside line: Mingus was turned round and shot up into a hard nose-first contact with the wall, while chaos erupted behind them as some 14 trucks in total wrecked trying to avoid the initial incident.
"It's especially tough though when your night gets cut short, but it was out of our control," Mingus said after being checked out and released by the infield medical centre. "But we will move on to Martinsville. I can't thank the guys at Win-Tron Racing enough for the quality trucks they build, that was the hardest hit of my career."
"Its been an up and down week for sure," said Kligerman, fresh from going upside down in practice for the Daytona 500 midweek. "The last few weeks I don't know, I just can't seem to just hit level ground. The highs are high and the lows are low ... I just feel really bad for everyone on this team, it's one of those things where we had a fast truck - a top-five truck."
During a delay while track workers made repairs to the SAFER barrier where Mingus had struck the wall, the latest round of pit stops saw Peters drop back allowing Busch to take the lead ahead of Ryan Truex. A fourth caution on lap 86 materialised for Travis Kvapil's engine laying down a trail of oil on the track, leaving 11 laps to go once the green flag came back out. Busch restarted at the front, but a concerted push by Peters at the head of a charging column of trucks on the high line saw him successfully power his way to the front again on lap 96, and then it appeared that Busch's attempts to counterattack would be thwarted when he was promptly boxed in down low by Truex.
With seconds remaining, Truex dropped back just enough to allow Busch to escape and move up the track to challenge Peters for the lead; Peters did everything he could to block, but Busch timed his final move to perfection and drove for the line, crossing just 0.016s ahead of Peters - the closest-ever finish at Daytona and the eight closest in Truck Series history - to claim his first Daytona win in the championship, and his 36th victory from a total of 116 races in the series. It makes Busch the first driver to win at ARCA, Truck, Nationwide and Cup levels in NASCAR.
"I believe that our truck, as long as it was leading, was the only one that would pull that outside line," said Peters, who insisted that there had been nothing more left on the table for him to use at the end. "He had a good run on me coming off Turn 4, and you know - he's Kyle Busch."
Busch is the only driver who can pull off the grand slam sweep this weekend, if he can add the Nationwide and Daytona 500 wins on Saturday and Sunday respectively. "We started the trifecta already, and you've got to win the first one to be able to win all of them," Busch pointed out. "We'll see how [Saturday] goes and see what we can do there." See also: full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings