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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Tracking The Trucks: Kyle Busch Continues Dominance At Martinsville

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In a Nutshell: Kyle Busch did what Kyle Busch does in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series and every other NASCAR national touring series — win. Busch led 174 of 250 laps to pick up his 54th Truck win and 201st NASCAR national win. The win was also Busch’s third Truck win of the season in as many races.

Ben Rhodes finished runner up, while Brett Moffitt, Ross Chastain and Stewart Friesen rounded out the top five.

Rhodes’ ThorSport Racing teammates Myatt Snider, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter took positions six through nine, putting all five of the team’s trucks in the top 10. The team expanded to a fifth truck for this season, adding a part-time entry for Snider after putting Sauter in its No. 13.

Bubba Wallace finished 10th for AM Racing in his first Truck Series race since 2017.

Who Should Have Won: Busch. He was clearly the fastest truck all day. The only obstacle came when Chastain got up front and held him off for 53 laps before the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion got back out front. Chastain led long enough to win Stage 2, preventing Busch from sweeping the event.

Race Rundown 

Ross Chastain Delivers Career Day for Niece Motorsports

Chastain continues to overachieve for smaller teams. The watermelon farmer was Busch’s greatest adversary in the race, leading 53 laps and winning Stage 2. Entering the race, Niece Motorsports, which has existed since 2016, had only led three laps overall, so Chastain by far gave the organization its most competitive outing.

The Florida native faded to fourth at the end, but the rest of the field knew his No. 45 was there. Also, Chastain continued his streak of finishing in the top 10 in every NGOTS race this season.

Johnny Sauter Gets Top 10 After a Plethora of Problems

Sauter finished ninth but he may have had a truck capable of beating Busch. Sauter started the race in eighth and worked his way up to second before a spark plug issue slowed his truck.

The No. 13 crew worked diligently under the first caution to get the issue fixed, and Sauter was quickly working his way through the field again. Sauter was back inside the top 10 when he had a tire blow. Sauter limped to pit road and seemed saved when the caution flew for Daniel Sasnett‘s spin. But Sauter had a commitment line violation when he pitted so NASCAR voided his free pass to keep him on the lead lap. The result was an unhappy Sauter.

Sauter eventually got his lap back and raced his way up to ninth, but ran out of laps. He could not be reached for comment after the race.

Quick Hits:

  • Kyle Busch’s win was the first for crew chief Rudy Fugle at Martinsville Speedway. The win marked the 25th for the two-time championship winning crew chief and notched the 16th track off of the list.
  • Rookie Gus Dean scored the first last place finish of his career when he hit the wall on lap 18 after a tire went down.

  • Raphael Lessard made his Truck debut at Martinsville in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 46 Toyota. Lessard finished in 14th, but the biggest highlight of the Quebec native’s day came when Sauter gave him a bump and run.

  • K&N Pro Series West powerhouse team Bill McAnally Racing made its 2019 NGOTS debut on Saturday, fielding the No. 19 for 17-year-old Derek Kraus. The duo ran at ISM Raceway in 2018, with Kraus finishing eighth. Kraus didn’t fare as well at Martinsville, but still managed and 18th-place finish.
  • Timmy Hill debuted as an owner/driver at Martinsville, finishing 21st. Hill announced the formation of his new Truck team earlier this season.
  • Last year, John Hunter Nemechek was the one taking home the grandfather clock, winning the spring race at Martinsville. This year, Austin Dillon drove the No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet with mixed results. Dillon finished the first stage in the top 10, but settled for 13th in the race — a disappointing finish for a former Truck champion.
  • Prior to the race, Al Niece of Niece Motorsports announced that Angela Ruch would pilot the team’s No. 44 Chevy in 11-12 races this season. Timothy Peters and Reid Wilson drove the truck through the first four races. Ruch comes over to the team after running two races in NEMCO’s No. 8.

2019 Rookie of the Year Candidates:

No. 02 – Tyler Dippel
No. 2 – Sheldon Creed
No. 12 – Gus Dean
No. 17 – Tyler Ankrum
No. 18 – Harrison Burton

Number of Rookies in the Race: 5

Number of Rookies finishing in the Top 10: 0

Rookie of the Race: Burton

Up Next: The Gander Outdoors Truck Series races next week at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, March 29. Race coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate or SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.

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About Michael Massie

Michael Massie
Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

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2 comments

  1. Avatar

    Why don’t they just let Kyle Busch just run all the races in the Truck Series so everyone will STOP watching these races all together

  2. Avatar

    News flash!!! I will not watch another truck race if the baby mauler is entered. The lower series’ have become a bad joke.