Home / Beth Lunkenheimer / Tracking the Trucks: Kyle Busch Scores 49th Career Truck Series Win at Bristol
(Photo: Barry Cantrell / NKP)

Tracking the Trucks: Kyle Busch Scores 49th Career Truck Series Win at Bristol

In a Nutshell: Kyle Busch scored his third win this season when he emerged victorious in Wednesday night’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The field waited out a rain delay of more than two-hours before taking the green flag. Matt Crafton finished second, followed by John Hunter Nemechek. Grant Enfinger and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five.

Who Should Have Won: Busch started on the pole, breaking a track record along the way, and he didn’t look back, leading the first 61 laps and winning the first two stages. That’s when a pit road speeding penalty dropped him to the back of the field. But with 33 laps remaining, he had run down and passed then-leader Crafton and never looked back, despite an overtime finish after the caution flew with five laps remaining.

Race Rundown

Grant Enfinger Recovers From Michigan Penalty

Leaving Michigan International Speedway last weekend, rookie Grant Enfinger found himself 24 points behind the cutoff line to make the playoffs in his first full season.

But to make matters worse, his team was hit with a pair of penalties following the LTi Printing 200. The No. 98 team was nailed under Section 20.17.3.2.1.2 Post-Race Front Body Inspection Heights outside NASCAR allowed tolerances and Section 20.17.2.1 Overall Vehicle Weight affixed improperly.

The height violation resulted in an encumbered finish, along with a loss of 10 owner and driver points. Additionally, crew chief Jeff Hensley was fined $5,000 and suspended for one race. The weight violation resulted in a two-race suspension for Hensley and truck chief Josh Hankish. NASCAR will allow Hensley to serve both suspensions concurrently.

Meanwhile, Bud Haefele stepped in to serve as interim crew chief for Enfinger. After starting seventh, the driver of the No. 98 Toyota remained inside the top 10 for much of the race before ending up fourth.

“We had a decent restart there at the end and we really had a good Champion Power Equipment Tundra all day,” Enfinger said. “We weren’t great. The 46 (Kyle Busch) – he’s really good at this racing stuff. He made us all look bad. But a solid run for us. We’ll take it.

“We need a little bit more but very very proud of everybody on this ThorSport Racing Tundra. Had to battle through some adversity this weekend, but we still got some more to come so we’ll keep fighting strong.”

Enfinger scored 41 points, including 14 for stage finishes inside the top 10. His strong run, combined with those stage points moved him within nine markers of the cutoff line for the playoff field with just two races remaining.

But I’d venture to guess it still stings to know he’d be above the playoff cutoff line without that penalty.

John Hunter Nemechek Continues Bristol Success

Just four laps into last week’s race at Michigan International Speedway, John Hunter Nemechek suffered a hard hit that took him out of the race. The crash marked his fourth DNF of the season and dropped him to seventh in the point standings.

Fast forward to Bristol, and you can understand why the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet looked forward to returning to the short track. After all, his previous three finishes at the half-mile oval were sixth, third and eighth.

And when the field took the green, Nemechek didn’t disappoint. He started 14th and was forced to work his way through the field on a track that proved hard to pass for most drivers early on. When the checkered flag flew, the driver of the No. 8 crossed the line in third in a truck adorned by a new sponsor in Plan B Sales.

“We started off bottoming out really bad,” Nemechek said after the checkered flag flew. “We had to work on it from the time we got here, but it all worked out.

“I’m kinda glad it rained; it took some of the sticky stuff off the bottom and there at the end we were able to move up. Solid run coming home third. We keep preparing really fast race trucks; we just have to be smart and finish races, and that’s what we did tonight.”

The third-place finish marks his fourth consecutive top-10 result at Bristol, and while he hasn’t visited Victory Lane at the short track, it’s still likely one of his favorite places to race each year.

Quick Hits

  • For those of you that tune out the Truck Series any time Kyle Busch runs, you have no excuse the rest of the season. Wednesday night’s run at Bristol marks his final start for the 2017 season.
  • Darrell Wallace Jr.’s victory at Michigan International Speedway was deemed encumbered under Section 12.10 (encumbered for vent holes at the bed top must be configured for air intake only) of the NASCAR Rulebook. MDM Motorsports lost 10 owner points, while crew chief Shane Huffman was fined $5,000 and suspended for one race. Brandon Jones was back in the No. 99 truck for Bristol and finished 10th after starting fifth.
  • Post-race inspection cleared at Bristol Motor Speedway with NASCAR opting not to take any trucks back to the R&D center. Harrison Burton’s No. 51 and JJ Yeley’s No. 83 were each found with one loose lugnut, which should result in a fine come penalty day next week.
  • Despite a two-hour rain delay, NASCAR opted not to slow the field for a competition caution. The first yellow flew on lap 25 when Josh Reaume appeared to lose a right side tire. While there was a significant amount of wear on the tires throughout practice and the race, the lack of a competition caution turned out to be a non-issue.

Truck Rookie Report
2017 Rookie of the Year Candidates
No. 13 Cody Coughlin
No. 18 Noah Gragson
No. 19 Austin Cindric
No. 24 Justin Haley
No. 29 Chase Briscoe
No. 33 Kaz Grala
No. 49 Wendell Chavous
No. 52 Stewart Friesen
No. 98 Grant Enfinger

No. of rookies in the race: 9

No. of rookies to finish in the top 10: 2; Grant Enfinger, finished fourth; Austin Cindric, finished ninth

Rookie of the Race: Enfinger

Points Update: Christopher Bell maintains his point lead, this time by 42 over Johnny Sauter. Matt Crafton remains third, followed by Chase Briscoe. Ben Rhodes rounds out the top five. Ryan Truex sits sixth, followed by Grant Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek. Noah Gragson and Justin Haley round out the top 10.

Playoffs Update: Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Kaz Grala are all in the playoffs with at least one win apiece.

Despite struggling with his truck, Chase Briscoe expanded his margin to 91 points over the cutoff line. Ben Rhodes sits 26 points ahead of the cutoff, while Ryan Truex, who struggled with handling most of the night has a slim nine-point cushion. Grant Enfinger finds himself nine points on the wrong side of the cutoff, while Noah Gragson and Austin Cindric are 34 and 55 markers behind, respectively.

Quotable:

“I knew once we got that penalty that I had to go somewhere other than where everybody else was. I just started grooming the top and it took about 15 laps for it to come in and then it started going. It was pretty fast. Can’t say enough about all these guys on this Banfield Pet Hospital Tundra. It was awesome. It was awesome when we unloaded.

“Everybody at KBM, they obviously do a fantastic job. All the guys and girls and everybody that works on these things make them so fast and make them as fast as they are. Appreciate all the fans as well. I know it’s a late night – everybody watching at home, everybody here. It was a lot of fun to come through the field like that. It kind of gave me some ideas about the rest of the week. Probably showed a bunch of stuff too, but that’s what it’s all about man. This is the start of a triple, so hopefully we can get it.” Kyle Busch

“It was a really really good race. The bottom was definitely a little preferred, but you could move around. You could at least run the second and third groove and weren’t like we were in practice, we were literally a second off the pace if you had moved off the bottom. Props to the track for what they did right there, it made some great racing I feel. I just wish we could’ve run that out cause we were running him down there at the end especially when he was in lapped traffic. He picked me in lapped traffic earlier so it was my turn there at the end, but just couldn’t quite get there whenever the yellow came out.” Matt Crafton, finished second

“The Safeway Tundra was fast all night tonight. We got back pretty far back in the field and I was actually pretty proud of our team and how good of a Tundra we had to be able to drive from 14th to I think fourth all during a green flag run. You know unfortunately the balance actually shifted on us. The track changed a lot in that last run.

“Overall happy. It was a good solid points night. We were running in front of the guys that we needed to beat all night long so that’s a big plus and I know that makes my guys happy and proud. We’re going to take this momentum and just keep moving forward.” Ben Rhodes, finished fifth

Up Next: The Camping World Truck Series takes a weekend off before heading north of the border to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on Sunday, Sept. 3. Last year, John Hunter Nemechek narrowly beat out Cole Custer in a thrilling battle to the checkers. Coverage for the Chevrolet Silverado 250 begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate or SiruisXM NASCAR Channel 90.

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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 13-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.

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30 comments

  1. On the lighter side, if I meet anyone of you at Phoenix, first beer is on me. No sense in getting worked up on something that is out there for our entertainment.

  2. If any of you whiners had actually watched the race, you would have seen Kyle Busch put on a driving clinic for all the young upcoming drivers you claim to care about. He spotted the field a lap after a speeding penalty midway through the race, made the high line work solely through his own efforts and won with a bullet. And who did he pass for the lead? Only those young struggling newcomers Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, who are lucky to be employable at all at this stage of their journeyman careers.

    You FS suck-ups are without a doubt the biggest crybabies among sports fans anywhere. You can criticize Busch all you want, but you are the ones running to Mommy FS every time Kyle Busch wins a race. And with FOUR trucks in the race, Kyle provided opportunity and paychecks to real drivers with a future – Gregson, Bell, and Burton. What have any of YOU or your favorite driver done for a potential star lately?

    Nothing, nada, zilch. But crybabies have to cry and you are the crybabies here. Be sure to get your diapers changed. Stinky adult diapers are as nasty as you are.

    • All with Cup money and Cup pit crew. Congrats on your hero’s win.

    • You’re entitled to your view and others are entitled to theirs. So what if you’re the one who’s wrong. In one eye and out the other.

      • And let’s be sure to express your OUTRAGE at the Xfinity entry list which includes: Ty and Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, JOEY LOGANO, Aric Amirola and DALE EARNHARDT, JR, the ULTIMATE underdog – in nobody’s mind but what passes for a brain in your mostly empty heads! I really hope you enjoy being wrong week after week after week since it’s the only satisfaction you apparently ever get from pretending to follow this sport, Steve and Ajax the Great and Powerless!

    • “F” Kyle Busch he’s a dick

      • And poor Bill B just wishes he HAD a dick!

        • If you go to the mirror and say aaaaah, you just might see it.

          One day, when your man love for Kyle diminishes, you will be sorry that you got that tattoo of his face on your left cheek.

          • I don’t “love” Kyle. Like fans of legitimate sports, I admire the top performers regardless of their personalities. Tom Brady is the most hated man in the NFL, but like millions of others, I was awed by his Super Bowl performance. That is a subtlety NASCAR fans are not sophisticated enough to grasp. Most golf fans cheered Tiger’s dominance at the same time they were turned off by his arrogance. Again, NASCAR fans, at the bottom of the gene pool, simply don’t get that.

          • I admire top performers too but I don’t deify them to the point where I can’t see their faults. OJ Simpson is a murderer, Tom Brady (and the Patriots) are cheaters and Kyle Busch is a dick because he acts like a child whenever things don’t go his way.

  3. Didn’t even bother to watch with KyBu in the field. Seeing the ‘crowd’ in the stands, tell me again how good it is for the Trucks and Xfinity races to be overpowered by cup teams/drivers? What a joke. Even more of a joke is that Kyle thinks he’s impressing anyone with his beating the underdogs!

    • After a two-hour rain delay and a start time approaching midnight, would ANYONE have been in the stands to watch Grant Enfinger and Austin Wayne Self? Stop kidding yourself. The only reason anybody watched in person or on TV was to see Kyle Busch put on another clinic in how to drive a race truck. Last to first with a bullet, no Lucky Dogs, no helpful Larson-style cautions. Just pure driving talent and determination. You are the joke here, salb, with your whining and baby talk.

      • I would prefer watching Enfinger and Self race since it is THE TRUCK SERIES. Your obviously just another blind Kyle fan if you can’t see that his success beating on the little guys is a direct result of poor attendance at tracks and viewers on tv. But keep insulting people if that makes you feel better.

        • All of your posts are about insults and hatred, Steve. I want to see the same outrage when the Austin brothers, Joey Logano, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. race in the Xfinity race this weekend. PROVE that you are more than a one-trick pony. I doubt you can do it. Your posts say you are a phony and hypocrite. And did you watch Enfinger and Self last night? Pinkie swear? NO! You never watched a lap. End of discussion.

      • So Kyle could win Busch series races driving the 23 or taking over Morgan Shepherd’s ride?

  4. Saw in the entry list last week he was in the 46 truck. Was it a sneak attack on the fans and competitors?

  5. i saw who had the pole, saw the rain delay and said he’ll win. went to bed and surprise, i was right. now if could only pick the winning lottery numbers!!

    i feel so bad for the teams the actual series who compete for the championship. busch keeps taking the winner’s purse, and the teams that need the money still struggle.

    i wonder what the “series regulars” think when they see that he’s entered. oh joy, not again?

    • Regular teams are struggling to get funding for their trucks and you have a Cup regular with Cup resources taking first place money away from these teams. And they wonder why the Truck series is dying.

      • Perhaps regular teams are struggling for funding because this is a series to far. The reason for its inception, if I recall correctly, was to entice Toyota into stock car racing. To give them a format to showcase their trucks which were struggling in the marketplace.
        Now, other than those who will watch any form of oval track racing nobody cares. And when the cup folks show up even they don’t care.
        Of course just my opinion.

        • Russ, that is truly the most intelligent comment on this site dominated by the brain-impaired. What IS the reason for the Truck Series? Why is Xfinity endlessly promoted by NASCAR? People here like to compare Trucks and NXS to AA and AAA baseball. Yet those events are not nationally televised and rely on local fans and Major League team support to develop new talent. NASCAR doesn’t need and can’t support three national touring series. Drop the Truck Series and limit Xfinity to drivers who have Cup Series support. This strange combination of amateur hour and “this is where names are made” is not working on any level. Get rid of the underfunded and undermanned and make NXS a proving ground for the next generation of Cup stars. Let the has-beens and never-weres race on their own dime at local tracks without pretending to be top level race drivers.

          And get rid of Amy Henderson’s Underdogs in Cup as well. They add nothing to the races except the obligatory late cautions. Legitimize the Cup races by calling a competition caution with 10 to go every race. Then we have no need for Cole Whitt and JJ Yeley.

    • Janice feels SO BAD she doesn’t bother to watch – and she WON’T bother to watch for the rest of the season now that Kyle is done with Trucks for the year. She talks big, but her actions show she is nothing but a hypocrite with a giant chip on her shoulder. Janice, I want lap by lap updates from you of every truck race for the rest of the year. Otherwise, you only prove me right — once again. You probably can’t even name a Truck Series regular beyond the old guys riding around for a paycheck, Sauter and Crafton.

      • who crapped in your cornflakes?

        john hunter nemecheck,ben rhodes, jeb burton

        let’s see, going back to when the truck series started, jack squague, mike skinner, ron hornaday, greg biffle, dennis setzer, tony roper (who was killed at texas).

        i honestly though schools were in session. maybe this is a preview of how wacky the world will be on eclipse monday.

        • Wow! You actually knew TWO current Truck Series drivers, although you spelled JHN’s name wrong. Maybe it would help you to stay current with the sport instead of living in the past. And biggest laugh for me is your inclusion of Jeb Burton, when the current Burton boy in Trucks is Harrison Burton who is employed by…………..drum roll, please, KYLE BUSCH!

          I think you have crapped in your own cornflakes so many times you don’t even know how bad your sh*t tastes, old woman! You are no fan of the sport, so please keep your irrelevant comments to yourself.

          • And I also know my history. Since you are a member of the Dead Drivers Club, I would also mention that JHN is named for Joe’s late brother John, who also died on-track.

            Do us all a favor and LOOK DIRECTLY at the eclipse on Monday. You will be SO impressed.

          • I know who jhn iis named after. I remember watching the homestead race where Joe’s brother died as a result of injuries sustained in race.

  6. Tried to tune in last night to what I thought would be a fun race to watch. As soon as I saw Busch was in the field I immediately looked for something else to do. When Cup regulars are in the field, these races are unwatchable and will continue to be until Nascar does something about it. You can’t even get people camping all weekend at the track to go watch these races. Does Nascar not see what the rest of us are seeing? Take these trucks back to the short tracks and the fans (and presumably more race teams) will come back.

    • Agreed. Horrible race yet again, completely unwatchable. I have to wonder how this is even remotely rewarding for Kyle to just destroy the rest of the field. I know it’s important to pad his hindenberg sized ego to try to get another “triple”, guess it’s all that matters to that jerk. I’m sure the busch race will be equally horrible

      • Pretty hard to tell what is an unwatchable race when YOU DON’T BOTHER TO WATCH! Can I assume you will be in attendance or glued to your TV for the rest of the Truck season now that Kyle is done with Trucks for the season? Not a chance in hell. You are a liar and a hypocrite and that’s all you’ve got. Of course, you’re a fan of Frontstretch, where haters love to hate and boy-bitches love to bitch.

  7. …How embarrassing.