NASCAR’s Kyle Busch unwraps birthday present with trucks victory at Kansas Speedway – Durham Herald Sun
Kyle Busch (51) crosses the finish line for the win during a NASCAR Truck Series auto race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, May 1, 2021. Colin E. Braley AP
Kyle Busch didn’t wait until Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race to celebrate his 36th birthday at Kansas Speedway. Busch got an early start on birthday festivities by winning the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series Wise Power 200 on Saturday night, overtaking fellow Cup regular Ross Chastain in a double-overtime finish.
Busch, a two-time NASCAR Cup champion allowed to compete in five trucks races a season, won his second trucks race in four starts this year in the No.
51 Cessna Toyota, sponsored by the Wichita-based aerospace company. Busch led 59 of the 134 laps but found himself having to come from behind on two re-starts after cautions came out with seven laps to go and again with two laps remaining. Busch, starting the second overtime in the second row behind Chastain and Zane Smith and alongside Bailey Currey, roared three-wide around Chastain and Austin Hill by .665 of a second for a record fifth-straight victory for Kyle Busch Motorsports and seventh in seven trucks races for Toyota.
After Busch emerged from his car and took his trademark bow in front of several thousand fans allowed to attend the races this weekend, he appeared relieved to have survived the restarts. “The restarts were hectic for us,” Busch said. “Any time we started on the front row, we would always go backward. It just would not fire on the restarts for whatever reason.
We definitely had a really good, strong long run truck. “We made it work on that last one. I was fourth in line, got a little bit of a bump from Todd (Gilliland) and got three-wide.
I don’t know what else happened after that, but it was just trying to go where they weren’t by that point and get ourselves back up front.” Chastain, who won the 2019 trucks race at Kansas, settled for second in a Chevrolet; Hill, a 2020 trucks winner at Kansas, was third in a Toyota; Christian Eckes was fourth in a Toyota, and Busch’s teammate, John Hunter Nemechek was fifth. Because Nemechek, a two-time winner for KBM this season, finished the race as the trucks series points leader, he collected a £50,000 bonus from Camping World for his road crew.
“It means a lot,” Nemechek said. “Our guys deserve it. They’ve been working their tails off. It’s nice to continue to gain on our points lead.
We didn’t lose points to anyone. We made it even bigger tonight. So that’s a plus.
“Overall, it was a solid performance coming in fifth. If that’s a bad day for us, then we’re doing pretty good, I feel like.” Meanwhile, if Busch needs more reasons to celebrate his birthday, Saturday night’s victory was his third trucks win at Kansas Speedway, tying Matt Crafton for the most trucks wins at the track.
And his eight wins at Kansas Speedway across all three series — a Cup win in 2016 and four Xfinity Series wins. — are more than any other driver. So that might have been one of the reasons Busch selected Kansas as one of the five trucks races he’s entered this year. “Kansas is a good racetrack for us, we’ve run well here in the past,” Busch said. “I feel we’ve had a lot of races slip through our fingers here through the years.
“It’s also so cool to win here in Cessna’s hometown … they’re from Wichita, not far away.
I’m sure there was some Cessna fans in the stands cheering us on and we’re appreciative of them. ”
The win also extended Busch’s all-time NASCAR record for wins across all three series to 215 — 57 Cup, 61 trucks (the most all-time) and 97 Xfinity (also the most all-time).
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