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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)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane with the trophy, NASCAR President Mike Helton and sportscaster Krista Voda during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and placing ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton drives the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 13, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney drives the #29 Cooper Standard Ford during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 13, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch celebrates pole position at Phoenix International Raceway. November 8 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
John Wes Townley, driver of the #05 Zaxby`s Toyota, is involved in an on track incident at the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Coulter`s #21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet is towed off the track under a red flag after an incident during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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