(Getty Images)

Kyle Busch wins Truck race at Chicagoland; Hayley, Custer, Reddick miss Chase

5 Comments

Kyle Busch needed one extra lap in overtime to earn his second win in just four Camping World Truck Series starts this season, capturing Friday’s American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch’s 46th career win in the Truck Series — and his fifth Truck win in six career starts at the 1.5-mile track — added to his early-season triumph at Martinsville. Busch also finished second at Charlotte and 30th at Kentucky. Friday’s race is slated to be Busch’s final Truck race of the season.

“This has just been a really good place for us and (Kyle Busch Motorsports) over the years,” Busch told Fox Sports 1 about his success at Chicagoland Speedway. “It wasNASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol E15 225 nice to come out and keep it going.

“It’s really important to see the 9 (William Byron) and 4 (Christopher Bell) make the Chase for KBM, so we have two opportunities to go after the championship.”

Daniel Hemric finished second, followed by Cameron Hayley, Christopher Bell, Johnny Sauter, pole-sitter Spencer Gallagher, Grant Enfinger, Timothy Peters, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer.

Several drivers who needed a win to make the Truck Series’ inaugural Chase fell short when the seven-race playoff begins next Saturday at New Hampshire.

MORE: Results from American Ethanol E15 225

MORE: William Byron ends Trucks regular season No. 1, now comes the Chase

ADVANCING TO THE CHASE: The eight drivers who will take part in the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase are: William Byron, Matt Crafton, John Hunter Nemechek, Johnny Sauter, Christopher Bell, Ben Kennedy, Daniel Hemric and Timothy Peters.

MISSED THE CHASE: Among the drivers who failed to earn a win that would have put them in the playoffs: Cole Custer, Cameron Hayley, Tyler Reddick, Ben Rhodes and pole-sitter Spencer Gallagher.

“It just sucks,” Custer said. “We had to fight from the back all the time. It’s just not our night, I guess, but we have a fast truck so we’ll have to win some races (in the Chase).”

HOW BUSCH WON: In pretty much the same formula he’s used to win many of his 46 career Truck victories, Busch had the strongest truck of the night, led the most laps (95), stayed out of trouble, kept his challengers at bay and seemed to get stronger as the laps counted down.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Hemric, who came close to earning his first win of the season, and Peters were the only drivers to qualify for the Chase without winning a race. “This is huge,” Hemric said. “We thought if we could get ourselves in, we could make a serious run for the championship. Now it’s time to go to work.” … Even though he fell short of the Chase, Hayley finished third in a KBM truck.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Points leader William Byron had a rough start, wrecking just three laps into the event. He returned late in the race to finish 30th. … On Lap 112, Ben Kennedy made contact with teammate Johnny Sauter, triggering a crash that also collected Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes. The race was red flagged for 14 minutes because a section of SAFER Barrier was repaired. “I just got loose and I didn’t mean to do it,” Sauter said over the team radio. “I’m sorry.” … Tyler Reddick saw his Chase chances end when he wrecked with John Wes Townley on Lap 144.

NOTABLE: It may not have been a win, but it likely felt like it for Matt Tifft, who made his first race start since undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor on July 1. Tifft finished 12th. … Rico Abreu raced into the top five in the second half of the race and appeared headed for a strong finish until he wrecked on the last lap and finished 19th. … Kennedy’s right hand was wrapped after his accident. He said he would have it examined further on Saturday.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “That’s why he’s (Kyle Busch) a Cup driver and I’m a Truck driver. I have a lot to learn from that guy. … We tried, we’re not in the Chase, but we can’t say we didn’t try.” – Third-place finisher Cameron Hayley.

WHAT’S NEXT: The inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase begins Saturday, Sept. 24, in the UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Winners and losers from Las Vegas

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

WINNERS

Paul Wolfe — Great call to have Joey Logano not pit before the final restart. Of course it helped that six other cars stayed out. Still, the top two cars came down pit road and Logano, running third, stayed out and won.

Matt DiBenedettoFinishes second in his second race with the Wood Brothers.

Jimmie JohnsonScored his first top-five finish since last summer’s Daytona race.

Bubba Wallace Decision not to pit allowed him to finish sixth, giving him his best Cup finish on a 1.5-mile track.

LOSERS

Todd Gordon and Greg Ives— For every high, there is a low. Gordon apologized on the radio to Ryan Blaney for calling him to pit road while leading before the final restart. Blaney finished 11th. Ives called Bowman to pit road while running second before the final restart. Bowman finished 13th. Ives tweeted that he was “VERY frustrated with my call at the end not to game on old tires, especially in Vegas.”

19 pit crew — Martin Truex Jr.’s pit crew got him into the lead under caution after Stage 2 but he had to return to pit under that caution to tighten loose lug nuts. Said Truex after the race: “We just need to quit having mistakes on pit road.”

William ByronLined up second on the final restart but contact with Matt DiBenedetto led to a tire rub and Byron falling back before he was involved in the crash that ended race. He finished 22nd.

Ross Chastain says his finish ‘unacceptable’ in place of Newman

Leave a comment

He scored a 10th-place finish in the first stage and ran as high as fifth Sunday in a car he never raced before.

Ross Chastain still had a harsh evaluation of his 27th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the No. 6 Ford, which he drove in place of an injured Ryan Newman.

Chastain finished two laps down after causing the final caution on a Lap 262 spin, which he judged “unacceptable,” along with his restart performance (“guys kind of ate me alive”) as a substitute for Roush Fenway Racing.

“It’s hard to get out of the car after you have a top-10 car, and you go and run into people and pick the wrong lanes on restarts and then spin it out at the end,” Chastain said. “That’s pretty silly. Just a lot of mistakes on my end and then at the end just overdriving and for one position to be the first car a lap down. That’s unacceptable.”

Chastain had an average running position of 16.87 over the 400-mile race, which went south after he pitted under green from 15th on Lap 217 of 267. The yellow flag flew five laps later, and Chastain took a wavearound to restart 21st.

(Photo by Will Lester/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

On the restart, he made contact with Kurt Busch and pitted under green to fix a tire rub, which left him a lap down when he spun with five laps remaining.

“There were a lot of small mistakes on my end, but I learned a ton,” he said. “The car deserved a lot better finish.  Obviously, we showed that early and I just didn’t have great restarts. I just have to be better.

“RFR and everybody puts so much into these cars, and ultimately I’m the one holding the wheel.  We had such a good first stage and had so much confidence and from there I just started making mistakes.”

Chastain, who finished 10th in Sunday night’s rain-delayed Xfinity race, will be driving the No. 6 for Roush while Newman recovers from his Daytona 500 crash. In a statement from the team Sunday morning, Newman indicated he plans to drive again this season, but no timetable has been provided for his return.

Chase Briscoe wins rain-delayed Xfinity race in Las Vegas

Chase Briscoe
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chase Briscoe won Sunday’s rain-delayed Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, beating fellow Ford driver Austin Cindric by almost three seconds to claim his third career Xfinity win.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver led 89 laps in the race, which began late Saturday afternoon but was red flagged on Lap 51 due to rain.

Briscoe and Cindric were the only Ford drivers in the field.

Ryan Sieg placed third to earn his sixth career top-five finish and his first on a 1.5-mile track.

The top five was completed by Daytona winner Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton.

“That was really a team win,” Briscoe told Fox Sports. “We were really good, then as soon as the sun went down when we were in dirty air, we just weren’t really good. In clean air, obviously there at the end we were really good. … This is something I feel we can do all year long.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

More: Click here for race results.

More: Click here for the point standings.

WHAT’S NEXT: Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway at 4 p.m. ET Feb. 29 on FS1.

Chevy drivers positive about new Camaro body after Las Vegas

Leave a comment

Positive reviews are in from a few Chevrolet Cup drivers after their first race on an intermediate track with the updated Camaro ZL1 1LE body, which was introduced this year in an effort to improve the manufacturer’s performance after two lackluster seasons.

Those reviews are backed by the final results for Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After the chaos created by a last-lap crash, six Chevrolets finished in the top 10. They were led by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson placing in the top five.

That followed Chase Elliott leading 70 laps and winning both stages before his one-car incident in the middle of the final stage.

In last year’s spring race on the 1.5-mile track, only two Chevys – Kurt Busch (fifth) and Elliott (ninth) – finished in the top 10. Three Chevy drivers combined to lead 23 of the race’s 267 laps.

“We’re trying to just understand this new Camaro body and the setup that needs to go with it,” said Johnson. “We’re close, but there’s still a little bit more work for us to do on our car to get the balance between the clean air and the traffic closer. But for the first try on a downforce track, the guys did a really nice job.”

Johnson earned his first top five since last July’s race at Daytona. He placed 19th in this race last year.

“It’s really rewarding to see,” Johnson said. “Last year when we left here, we had quite the opposite feeling and were pretty worried about what the year was going to hold for us. So, it’s really nice to have that change of perspective now. There’s a lot of Chevys up front, one of our Hendrick cars led for a while. So, we’re going the right way.”

Johnson’s teammate, Alex Bowman, was running in second when the final caution came out inside 10 laps to go. After his team chose to pit, Bowman placed 13th.

“This new Camaro, for its first time on a downforce track, I’m just really pleased with it so far,” Bowman said. “I think it’s going to be really good for us. Obviously, I’m bummed out to finish 13th after staring at a second place or a win. But it’s part of it; it’s how racing goes. We win as a team and lose as a team. It just didn’t go our way there at the end.”

Last year, Chevrolet only earned seven wins, with two coming on 1.5-mile tracks. Bowman claimed one of those at Chicagoland Speedway.

Added Bowman: “Compared to how we started the last two seasons, I think we’ve got something for them this year.”

One Chevrolet driver said it was “still early” for assessing the new bodies.

“I think the Hendrick cars were really good,” said Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson, who placed ninth. “I felt about the same as last year. So, we just have to continue to get better.”