NASCAR Race Weekend Central
*In a Nutshell:* Kyle Busch took the checkered flag 0.580 seconds ahead of Todd Bodine to win the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch took the lead for the final time with 19 laps remaining on the way to scoring his fourth win in ten starts this season. Colin Braun, Rick Crawford, and Johnny Sauter rounded out the Top 5. *Who Should Have Won: Kyle Busch.* Busch started in the fourth position and wasted no time working his way to the front.

Tracking the Trucks: 2009 EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland

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In a Nutshell: Kyle Busch took the checkered flag 0.580 seconds ahead of Todd Bodine to win the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch took the lead for the final time with 19 laps remaining on the way to scoring his fourth win in 10 starts this season. Colin Braun, Rick Crawford, and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top five.

Who Should Have Won: Kyle Busch. Busch started in the fourth position and wasted no time working his way to the front. He first took the lead on lap 11 from Matt Crafton, but two pit stops for tires and fuel when others took fuel only under the second caution left the driver of the No. 51 back in 13th. The strategy paid off, though, when the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 saw a long run and drivers were forced to pit under green flag conditions. Still, before the fifth caution flew Bodine held a nearly five second lead over Busch and looked to be a shoe in. But the final two yellows allowed Busch to close the gap between himself and Bodine, allowing him to make the race-winning pass with 19 laps remaining.

Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race:

1. What happened to points leader Ron Hornaday, Jr.?

Just two weeks after Ron Hornaday, Jr.‘s series-leading four consecutive wins, the driver of the No. 33 Turtle Wax Chevrolet failed to finish inside the top 10. It wasn’t for a lack of trying on the driver’s part, though.

A long green flag run forced the field to go through a round of green flag stops, but a caution for a spinning Ricky Carmichael left just 11 trucks on the lead lap. Hornaday, Jr. was not one of those trucks, however, unable to use the round of stops to his advantage.

Two caution flags later, the driver of the No. 33 Turtle Wax Chevrolet found himself in position to receive the Lucky Dog and rejoin the lead lap trucks. Yet despite being on the lead lap when the field restarted with six laps remaining, Hornaday, Jr. was only able to work himself up to the 11th position.

“We had a really good Turtle Wax truck. Unfortunately, we were not able to show just how good we were,” Hornaday, Jr. said. “There have been times this year that pit strategy has worked out for us and got us a win. This time we were on the other end of the deal.”

Despite the fact that Hornaday, Jr. was unable to move his No. 33 Chevrolet into the top 10 before the checkered flag flew, though, he still managed to extend his points lead on Crafton, who finished a lap down in 14th.

The No. 33 team still holds a comfortable points lead with nine races remaining on the schedule, but they can’t afford to let their guard down. The schedule still holds the inaugural race at Iowa Speedway next weekend as well as the Talladega race as wild cards where anything can happen to change the points battle altogether.

2. Will MRD Motorsports miss the next two races?

During the race broadcast on SPEED, it was reported that MRD Motorsports and Dennis Setzer will miss the next two races due to funding difficulties. The driver of the No. 8 Malcolmson Construction Chevrolet has nine top 10 finishes in 16 races and sits solidly in eighth in points. Despite the fact that Setzer has finished in the top five three times this season, he has yet to lead a lap.

At this point, Setzer doesn’t even know if he will be able to race with any team at Iowa Speedway or Gateway International Raceway. It’s still too early to count MRD Motorsports out of the next two scheduled Truck Series races because sponsors have been known to come through at the last minute for a team. But with no major prospects, it’s very likely Setzer and the No. 8 MRD Motorsports-fielded Chevrolet will be absent from the track for the foreseeable future.

Truck Rookie Report
2009 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Chase Austin (No. 32 — on hold due to funding)
James Buescher (No. 10)
Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 — part-time, shared ride)
J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 4 — part-time, shared ride)
Taylor Malsam (No. 81)
Johnny Sauter (No. 13)

No. of Rookies in the Race: Five

No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: One; Sauter, finished fifth

Rookie Of The Race: Sauter, finished fifth

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:

The EnjoyIllinois.com 225 marked the inaugural Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Though only 13 trucks finished on the lead lap, the race featured quite a bit of side-by-side racing as well as three and sometimes four-wide battles.

Mario Gosselin is set to make a formal announcement of a new sponsor for the 2010 season at Talladega Superspeedway next month. Ray Dunlap reported during qualifying that Gosselin had landed a sponsor and plans the run the entire 2010 season. The driver of the No. 12 Chevrolet has run ten out of 16 races, but has finished only two of them.

Busch has now won five races in which he passed Bodine in the final pass for the lead. The driver of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort & Gaming/Red Top Auto Auction Toyota also became the first driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top series at Chicagoland Speedway.

After finishing in 11th, one lap down, Hornaday, Jr. managed to extend his points lead to 220 over Crafton. Mike Skinner remains in third, while Bodine’s runner-up finish moved him up to fourth. Brian Scott dropped one spot and rounds out the top five, 439 points behind the leader.

David Starr dropped one spot and sits 44 points out of fifth. Braun’s solid third place finish allowed him to hang onto the seventh position, 14 points behind Starr. Crawford, who moved up one spot and Terry Cook, who moved up two spots, round out the top 10.

Quotable:

“This is awesome to come out here with a brand new piece. Richie (Wauters, crew chief) made a good pit call there in the beginning of the race to take tires when we did. Luckily, they had that long green flag run. We made it look like we knew what we were doing. And that long green flag run hurt everybody else. It was a really good night for us.” – Kyle Busch

“When Kyle [Busch] got by me, I got too good a restart. We had a better truck than he [Busch] had — that’s the way it goes. This Ventrilo Tundra was still really good. I could run wide open when I was by myself. That’s how you go fast around here. Unfortunately, Kyle (Busch) got in front of me.” – Todd Bodine, finished second

*Up Next:*
The Camping World Truck Series heads to Iowa Speedway next Saturday night for the inaugural Lucas Oil 200; the Nationwide Series debuted at the 0.875-mile track earlier this month. Coverage begins at 8:30 pm EST on SPEED; the race can also be heard on your “ocal MRN affiliate.

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About Beth Lunkenheimer

Beth Lunkenheimer
Content Director Beth heads up management of our 30-person staff, acting as Tom’s main assistant with technology and personnel while working as Frontstretch’s Truck Series expert. The author of Truckin’ Thursdays and the coordinator of the site’s pre and post-race coverage, she also runs a periodic charity column that spotlights when NASCAR gives back. A childhood transplant to Texas, Beth is a 15-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.