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In a Nutshell: Kyle Busch took the checkered flag 9.023 seconds ahead of Todd Bodine to win the San Bernardino County 200 Saturday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway in California. Busch took the lead for the final time with only seven laps remaining after a late race gas and go pit stop on the way to his first win of the 2009 season. Chad McCumbee, David Starr and TJ Bell rounded out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Busch. Busch started on the pole and wasted no time in opening up a large lead on the rest of the field. By lap 15, only 27 trucks remained on the lead lap; by the time the checkered flag flew, only 13 trucks remained on the lead lap. The driver of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota became only the third driver to win from the pole at ACS and the first since his older brother Kurt Busch did it in 2000.
Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race
1. How did Gabi DiCarlo fare in her Camping World Truck Series debut?
ARCA driver DiCarlo made her CWTS debut Saturday afternoon. After running 24th quickest in the first practice session, DiCarlo was forced to qualify for the San Bernardino County 200 on time; she started in the 23rd position.
Throughout much of the race, DiCarlo kept her No. 90 Great Clips Toyota in the mid-to-low 20s and didn’t make very much ground on the rest of the field. She did however manage to remain out of trouble all afternoon and brought her truck home 19th, one lap down.
Following the second restart of the race, DiCarlo was black-flagged for passing to the left prior to crossing the start-finish line. Instead of coming down pit road for a pass through penalty, DiCarlo gave back the position she gained.
While she didn’t move inside the top 15, DiCarlo did exactly what any driver making their debut needs to do. She finished the race and didn’t wreck the truck, and no doubt gained valuable information for her future starts in the series.
The Arizona native is expected to pilot the No. 90 Great Clips Toyota in up to six more races this season, and her next start is scheduled for the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway in late March.
2. How did Ricky Carmichael recover from Daytona?
During the season opener last week at Daytona International Speedway, rookie Carmichael got caught up in a wreck after Bodine slid up the race track and spun fellow rookie James Buescher.
California was much kinder to the rookies than Daytona was. Carmichael again had a fantastic qualifying run and started his No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet in third. He thought he had a tire going soft around mid-race, made an extra pit stop and restarted 19th. Within four laps, he climbed five spots to 14th and spent the remainder of the race working his way back into the top 10 and an eventual finishing position of eighth.
Carmichael’s eighth-place finish moved him up to 14th in the standings.
No. of Rookies in the Race: 6
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 1; Carmichael finished eighth
Rookie of the Race: Carmichael
“I learned so much today. The boss (Kevin Harvick, team co-owner) had a goal for me today – and that was to finish in the top-15, so we beat the boss’s goal! I wanted to exceed his expectations. I kept my nose clean all day and I feel like if we could start this race over again right now, I could do much better with everything I learned!” – Ricky Carmichael
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
The running of the San Bernardino County 200 broke multiple records Saturday afternoon:
- Kyle Busch’s 9.023 second margin of victory shattered the previous record of 2.158 seconds set in 2003.
- The driver of the No. 51 Toyota lead 95 laps, two more than the previous record of 93 set in 1997.
- Toyota and Dodge are now tied for most wins at Auto Club Speedway at four apiece.
- Kyle Busch became the first driver in NASCAR history to win two races in NASCAR’s top-three series in the same day.
For the second week in a row, Terry Cook was black-flagged by NASCAR. Last week, Cook had to serve a pass-through penalty for passing below the double yellow line, and this week the black flag flew as a result of excessive smoke coming out of the back of his No. 25 Harris Trucking Toyota. Cook went on to finish 25th, nine laps down.
Bell scored the best finish of his CWTS career after finishing fifth. Bell had to drop to the back of the field prior to the start of the race after the team had to change the engine in the No. 11 Home4theHolidays.org Toyota.
Busch now leads Bodine in the standings by just five points. Matt Crafton moved up four spots to third and sits 77 points out of first. Timothy Peters moved up two spots and sits five points behind Crafton in fourth. Ron Hornaday Jr. moved up four spots and rounds out the top five.
Bell moved up six spots and is tied with Hornaday for fifth. Mike Skinner dropped two spots to seventh and McCumbee moved up an impressive 11 positions to seventh. Starr moved up eight spots to ninth and sits 98 points behind leader Kyle Busch. Meanwhile, Cook dropped seven spots and rounds out the top 10.
“This thing was just flawless. The guys did flawless. They worked so well and made this truck drive so well. It’s really a lot fun to come out here and win two years in a row, and hopefully we can do some more.” – Kyle Busch, race winner
“It’s a little disappointing to have a Tundra that’s that good and finish second. That tells you how good Kyle [Busch] was. Once the tires got heated up – got a little slick – we were just a little tight through the center of the corner. I couldn’t quite hold it wide open.” – Todd Bodine
Up Next: The Craftsman Truck Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway in two weeks for the American Commercial Lines 200 on Saturday, March 7th. In 2008, Busch beat Hornaday to the checkered flag after a short rain delay. Coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. ET; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.
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