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Busch wins Atlanta truck race

Running without second and third gears for a restart with eight laps left in Saturday's American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch nevertheless found enough muscle in his #51 Toyota to win the race.

After dropping back on the restart, Busch needed fewer than four circuits to catch and pass Todd Bodine for the lead on lap 126 of 130. Kevin Harvick recovered from a slow final pit stop to take second from Bodine in the closing laps and dogged Busch to the finish, crossing the stripe 0.122 seconds behind the winner.

Driving for team owner Billy Ballew, Busch scored his second NACAR Camping World Truck Series victory of the season and the eleventh of his career to retain his series points lead by 25 over Bodine, who held on to third place in Saturday's race.

Mike Skinner ran fourth and Terry Cook fifth. Chad McCumbee, Ron Hornaday Jr., Mike Bliss, Johnny Benson and Brian Scott completed the top ten.

With third gear already non-functional, Busch lost second gear on the lap 123 restart.

“Second's broke, too - we're done,” he radioed to crew chief Doug George as his Tundra fell back.

But Busch shifted immediately to fourth gear and felt it start to pull. Soon under full power, he rocketed toward the front and overtook Bodine, whose truck was too loose to put up a fight.

“I had to go all the way to fourth and limp around there,” Busch said. “It felt like an eternity to get this thing up to speed.”

Busch, who had been saving fuel, took the lead by staying on the track on lap 117, when Harvick and other contenders pitted for fuel. A slow pit stop cost Harvick dearly. He had been leading the race when NASCAR called a caution for debris in turn two on lap 114; on lap 119, he restarted tenth.

The fifth and final caution of the race came right after that restart, when Colin Braun's #6 Ford nosed hard into the inside backstretch wall, the result of a chain reaction collision that also involved Skinner and Scott.

In the final eight laps, Harvick didn't have time to catch and pass Busch for the win.

“The thing was fast,” Harvick said, “but it doesn't matter if you can't do a pit stop.”

The victory was Busch's fourth in five struck series starts at Atlanta.

Though he's second in the standings, Bodine revealed after the race that he would not race in the series' next event (March 28 at Martinsville) unless his Germain Racing team finds a sponsor. Germain signed the growing restaurant chain, Tilted Kilt, to a one-race deal for Atlanta and hopes to extend that sponsorship to Martinsville.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch celebrates winning the Atlanta Truck race
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, poses in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident in front of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, as Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, drives away during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, and Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, race into turn one during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS celebrates with his team after winning the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS won the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson drives the #42 Target Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses for a photo with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the pole during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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