Kyle Busch bounced straight back from his crash in the earlier Sprint Cup Series practice which means that he will start tomorrow's race from the back of the grid, and showed that he's quite capable of overcoming exactly that sort of handicap and successfully pulling off a win regardless of the setback.
CLICK: Full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.
Busch had started in 10th place for the Careers for Veterans 200 Truck Series race following qualifying at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, while reigning series champion Matt Crafton claimed pole for the eighth time in 351 series starts albeit his first in 2015. Crafton's pole lap of 39.024s (184.502mph) on the two-mile oval was 0.142s faster than second place man Daniel Hemric (NTS Motorsports) and a full six tenths faster than Busch could manage.
When the race went green, Hemric got a push from Austin Dillon (GMS Racing) to boost him into the lead before a rapid caution for a spin by Ray Black Jr. At the restart, Dillon got the better of Hemric to take the lead for himself while the rapidly advancing Busch made his way past both Crafton and Hemric to set up a successful overtaking opportunity on Dillon on lap 7 to grab the lead which the owner-driver would keep through to the second caution on lap 26 for another spin by Black.
Busch then managed to earn himself a pit lane speeding penalty that dropped him to the back of the field, where he was joined by Crafton who had needed a lengthy stay on pit road to repair an issue with his windshield. Busch's team Kyle Busch Motorsports team mate Erik Jones took the lead at the restart on lap 31, but he was unable to stave off Crafton's ThorSport colleague Johnny Sauter from taking control on lap 45. Sauter then stayed out in front for the next 24 laps, until a round of green flag pit stops proved unkind when a painfully long stay in his stall cost him multiple positions.
That opened the door for Busch to complete his long march back to the front, just before a caution for debris on lap 72. Since everyone had just made their stops and were good to go to the finish, only Jones was tempted down pit lane for fresh tyres. Meanwhile Busch was now joined at the front by Brad Keselowski Racing's Ryan Blaney for a series of restarts as cautions predictably bred cautions.
The restart on lap 82 didn't last a lap before KBM's Cody Coughlin got loose and was then collected by Alex Kennedy, with Mason Mingus also getting caught up in the wreck which took some time to clean up. The next restart saw some jostling between Crafton and John Wes Townley, and while Crafton was able to avert full-blown disaster and kept the #88 under control and off the wall, the contact saw debris go down in turn 4 to bring out the sixth caution of the afternoon on lap 92.
Blaney was able to jump to the lead when the race resumed, and not even working together was enough to get Hemric and Dillon back the front. Once their challenge was spent, Busch made his own move and dived down low in turns 1 and 2 to get around Blaney for the lead on lap 97. Jones tagged along with the pair as they broke away from the rest of the pack, and while Blaney tried everything he could to get back around the #51 it was clear that Busch had the edge. The race stayed green to the finish despite a last lap spin for Spencer Gallagher, and Busch was 0.157s ahead at the line as he claimed his 44th victory in 127 Camping World Truck Series races, and his second win in two outings in 2016 since his return from injury.
Behind Blaney and Jones, Sauter recovered from that costly slow pit stop to finish in fourth ahead of Dillon, while Crafton pipped Hemric for sixth place after being forced to make a late pit stop for his contact with Townley which at least had allowed him to take on a fresh set of tyres for the final charge. The final places in the top ten went to Timothy Peters (Red Horse Racing), Tyler Reddick (Brad Keselowski Racing) and Cameron Hayley (ThorSport Racing).
As a consequence of the race classification, Crafton has managed to shave three points off Reddick's lead in the championship standings. Reddick is now on 514 points, just eight ahead of Crafton, while Erik Jones is just one point further back in third. After that it's a long gap back to Sauter followed by Hayley and Hemric, who moves up one position by leapfrogging Peters for sixth.
In the owners' standings, the Brad Keselowski Racing #19 has the same eight point margin over the ThorSport #88 as their respective drivers Reddick and Crafton, with Jones' KBM #4 similarly in third place. After that, it's the KBM #51 in fourth place ahead of Sauter's #98, while Blaney's BKR #29 truck is sixth.
It's a short break now for the Truck Series contenders before they're back in action mid-week for the UNOH 200 under the floodlights at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 19.
See full race results, plus qualifying and practice speeds and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.
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