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Almirola pushes Busch to Talladega Truck win

Kyle Busch picks up victory in the NASCAR Truck Series at Talladega ahead of team-mate Aric Almirola
In 298 previous starts in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series, owner Billy Ballew never had gotten a 1-2 finish from his teams.

Scratch that off the bucket list.

With a push from teammate Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch surged past Todd Bodine in the final quarter-mile of Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway to win his sixth race of the season and the 15th of his career. Almirola ran second, and Ballew had his first 1-2 after 300 combined starts.

The race concluded with a green-white-checkered flag finish that took the event four laps beyond its scheduled distance of 94 laps. Busch led the field to a restart on Lap 97 after contact between, Bodine, Mike Skinner and Johnny Sauter ignited an 11-truck wreck on the backstretch on Lap 91.

Heavily damaged in the melee was the No. 33 Chevrolet of series leader Ron Hornaday Jr., who lost two laps and finished 17th. Matt Crafton, second in the standings, came home 10th and trimmed Hornaday's lead to 202 points.

"I owe everything to Aric Almirola today," Busch said. "From that last pit stop to the end, I told him that, if he just stayed with me, they wouldn't be above to beat the 15 (Almirola) and the 51 (Busch). Awesome job to Aric. He can take half of my pay after today."

The last remark was tongue-in-cheek, given that Busch provides driving services to Ballew without compensation.

Almirola was thrilled to get the 1-2 finish for Ballew, but he was disappointed not to be the "1" in the equation.

"I'm just proud of Billy Ballew and all these guys on his race team, man," Almirola said. "His 300th start -- for him to win in that fashion, that was pretty cool. Everybody said in practice that when me and Kyle got hooked up, it didn't matter who was in front or behind. We were just really, really fast.

"I'm just disappointed. I told Billy before the race started that I wanted it to be a 1-2 finish, but I wanted to be '1' some kind of bad."

To Bodine, the difference was the help Almirola was able to give to Busch.

"Kyle had a teammate right behind him, and that's what you have to have in (superspeedway) racing," said Bodine, who took the lead on Lap 97 with a push from Crafton only to fall to third at the end.

Terry Cook finished fourth, followed by David Starr and Mario Gosselin. Stacy Compton, Dennis Setzer, Justin Hobgood and Crafton completed the top 10.

Toyota swept the top five places and clinched the series manufacturers championship.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, right, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, walks through the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/NASCARA via Getty Images)
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Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on June 26, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified third Saturday, June 21, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sanoma, California. Larson is 8th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Aric Almirola drives the #43 Nathan`s Famous Ford during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 20, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
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Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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