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Busch overcomes penalty, charges through field for Bristol victory

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – Not even a NASCAR overtime could stop Kyle Busch from rallying back from a speeding penalty at the end of Stage 2 to win Wednesday night’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Busch, forced to the back of the field under penalty to start the final stage, put on a clinic on a Lap 119 restart and utilized the high line to roar through the field and find himself back in the top-10 by Lap 136.

Nearly 30 laps later, Busch found himself on the tails of leaders Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton. Taking second from Sauter on Lap 163, Busch moved back into the lead four laps later slicing and dicing through lap traffic.

When Austin Wayne Self and Justin Haley tangled with five laps, the final restart left the field one more attempt to swipe the lead away from Busch.

The now five-time Bristol Truck Series winner, however, would have none of it pulling away from Crafton at the Lap 201 restart and cruised to his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the year and 49th of his career.

“I knew once I got that penalty that I had to go somewhere, other than where everyone else was,” said Busch. “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.”

“I can’t say enough about all these guys on this Banfield Pet Hospital Tundra, it was awesome. It was awesome when we unloaded. We made some fine-tune adjustments to it. She was really good all-day long.”

Looking like a superhero with his comeback, Busch, who isn’t expected to compete in anymore Camping World Truck Series races this season, said he learned enough from the penalty that could give him a potential advantage towards earning a second triple-weekend sweep at Bristol. The first came in August 2010.

“It was a lot of fun to come through the field like that, it kinda gave me some ideas about the rest of the week,” added Busch. “Probably showed a bunch of stuff too. That’s what it’s all about. This is the start of the triple, hopefully we can get it.”

While many welcomed the event’s final caution, Crafton didn’t want to see the yellow flag, as he was sure he was catching Busch as the final laps counted away.

“I searched the top, searched the bottom, and went back to the old faithful bottom,” said Crafton. “One thing I’ve done, I’ve finished second to Kyle way too many times here. All in all, it was a very good truck and we have nothing to hang our heads about.

“We were running him down there at the end. I didn’t want to see that yellow because we were running him down, we were so good on old tires. And then that restart, when you are starting on the outside you’re going ‘oh man this could be really really bad’ and he has that grip to take off on the bottom and I was sitting up there spinning the tires.” 

Busch led the field to green after nearly a two-hour rain delay and dominated the first stage leading all 55 laps.

The Brad Keselowski Racing trucks of Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric pitted on Lap 27 and restarted 1-2 for the Lap 64 restart, but Matt Crafton used the bump and run on Cindric and took control a lap after the beginning of Stage 2 and led until Busch caught Crafton in lap traffic and re-inherited the lead at Lap 105 and sailed away to the Stage 2 win.  

Busch led the field off pit road but was busted by NASCAR for speeding in section 4, handing the lead back to Crafton for the start of Stage 3 and the eventual comeback for Busch.

The Truck Series will take a one-week break before returning to action north of the border at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the running of the Silverado 250 on Sun., Sept. 3.