After 30 combined starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (21), Xfinity Series (1) and Camping World Truck Series (8), Kyle Busch finally reached victory lane at Martinsville Speedway.
Making his first start of the 2016 season in the Truck series, Busch dominated by leading 123 laps of the 255-lap event (five laps past the scheduled 250) to win Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
After earning his first grandfather clock for winning at Martinsville, Busch now sets his sights for a second clock and a weekend sweep in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the STP 500.
Despite not having pitted since Lap 135, Busch got a great jump on the final restart, pulling away from John Hunter Nemechek and coasted to the victory.
The race was red-flagged for more than 8 minutes with 14 laps remaining following a multi-truck crash that involved Christopher Bell and Cole Custer and several others whose trucks suffered damage but were able to continue.
Just a few laps after the restart, another big wreck occurred that involved Tyler Reddick, Justin Haley, Ben Rhodes, Ben Kennedy, Daniel Suarez and others, once again bringing out the red flag on Lap 246.
That would wind up extending the race past its scheduled 250 laps, ultimately becoming an event that went five laps into overtime.
It was Busch’s 45th career win in the Truck Series. He’s also the third different winner in the series this year, following Johnny Sauter’s win at Daytona and Nemechek’s win three weeks ago at Atlanta.
“We were so on way old tires than he (Busch) was,” Nemechek said. “We had one one more set of stickers in the pits and were hoping for a caution, but we had to stay out for track position.
“We brought it home P2, one short, but we’ll get ‘em (in the next race) at Kansas.”
HOW BUSCH WON: Dominance, plain and simple. Would you expect anything else from Busch and Kyle Busch Motorsports/Joe Gibbs Racing? While it was a concern that Busch had 117 laps on his tires when the final restart began, the defending Sprint Cup champion drove as if he had fresh rubber, pulling away from runner-up John Hunter Nemechek.
WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Rookie and Busch’s teammate, William Byron, finished third, followed by Kyle Larson and Timothy Peters. … Rookie Rico Abreu, who got some prerace advice in person and some in-race advice over the team radio from three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, finished 10th. … Parker Kligerman continues to have a good season, finishing eighth.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: On Lap 42, Johnny Sauter wrecked, doing serious damage to the right front of his truck. Sauter was running second at the time when it appeared his right-front tire blew out, sending him crashing into the outside wall. His truck was unable to be repaired, leaving Sauter in last with an uncharacteristic 32nd-place finish. … Another GMS Racing truck wrecked on Lap 92 when Kaz Grala spun and hit the Turn 4 wall hard and did not return to the race. … Spencer Gallagher got spun by Ryan Truex on Lap 134 but sustained only minor damage. Gallagher was spun again on Lap 172 in a crash that collected Spencer Boyd and Cole Custer, whose truck suffered moderate front-end damage. … Christopher Bell spun Cole Custer, whose truck was destroyed in a multi-vehicle wreck. Bell was able to continue on despite the damage.
NOTABLE: With the exception of Watkins Glen, Busch has won at every track that the Truck Series visits. … This was the first Truck race after a three-week layoff. The series is off again for more than a month before its next race on May 6. … Sisters Paige Decker, making her second career Truck start, and Claire Decker, making her Truck series debut, finished 25th and 27th Cousin Natalie failed to qualify for her first Truck series start.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This is a day we’ve been looking for a long, long time. … We just dumbed into this, and it all worked out. It’s neat to win here at Martinsville.” – Kyle Busch
WHAT’S NEXT: The next Truck Series race is Friday, May 6, under the lights (8:30 p.m. ET start) at Kansas Speedway in the Toyota Tundra 250.