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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 M&M`s Toyota, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Splash-FVP/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Records Toyota, leads the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, crosses the finishline to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
German Quiroga, driver of the #77 NET10 Wireless Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 12, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, sits on the grid under an umbrella prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 12, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 12, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, made the Chase finishing in ninth place and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, was just short of making the Chase finishing in eleventh place Saturday, September 6, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Eight Chevy drivers are in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which begins next week at Chicagoland Speedway. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 5, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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