Kyle Busch roared to his second consecutive and seventh NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in his 14th start of the season by 0.386 seconds over Johnny Sauter at Texas Motor Speedway.
The 25-year-old Busch led the 147-lap event three times for a total of 80 laps including the closing 21 circuits. His Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 truck was slowed only once during its final charge to the checkered flag by the race's fourth caution period on Lap 122.
Following a pit stop,Busch restarted second on Lap 127 next to championship leader Todd Bodine, soared to the lead heading into Turn 2, mashed the accelerator and took the checkered flag for the 23rd time in 83 career NCWTS starts.
Busch tallied his second straight NCWTS Texas victory and has visited Victory Lane following two straight and five of the last seven series events in which he's competed. He jumped from 16th to 14th in the series standings with his 11th top-five and 12th top-10 finish this season and extended his series owner points lead to 72 over Steve Germain after Bodine placed fourth.
"This truck was awesome once I got out front. That last restart saved me. I figured I was going to have to restart on the bottom and I got a good jump. I didn't beat Todd to the line and ended up kind of being alongside him into Turn 1. I don't know if my lane just had a better draft or what, but I was able to get ahead of him in Turn 2 and set sail. We pulled away down the backstretch and held on.
"Johnny and Todd were both really tough. We had enough on this truck to beat those guys. It seemed like it was hard to pass. I could get to Johnny's rear bumper, but then I'd lose the nose too much and couldn't get enough to get to the outside to make a move. I knew what he was going through when he was behind me.
"It was a great night for us. All the guys at Kyle Busch Motorsports do a great job with Eric (Phillips, crew chief), (Rick) Ren (general manager) and the guys working on the thing. Every week we kind of keep plugging away and keep doing what we're supposed to do. I'm real proud of the effort. It's fun to be able to have the success we've had," Busch said.
Sauter kept hold of the third spot in the series standings by knocking out his 12th top-five and 14th top-10 finish of the season with a frustrating run during which he led 31 laps before his No. 13 truck ran dry on fuel coming to the checkered flag.
"The truck was awesome, we just ran out of gas and that's unfortunate. I apologize to Duke and Rhonda Thorson for not getting the win. It's always tough. What we come here to do is win, but we just make mistakes a lot of times. When you're that close, feel like you have the dominant truck and you can't get it done it's disappointing," Sauter said.
Matt Crafton scored a race pole position for the first time this season in Texas, but started from the rear of the 36-truck field after repairing a damaged bedcover on his No. 88 ThorSport machine. He rebounded from the setback with a third-place finish that brought him his ninth top-five and 18th top-10 finish of the season.
"It was a good night coming from the back. If we had the track position and could've started from the pole, I think we could've been over there (in Victory Lane). We had a truck capable. Track position is everything and once you get to those top-five trucks, they're so close that clean air means so much.
"Right there at the end, the second-to-last run, we were free. We tried to get the free end fix out of it and we made it tie off. It's a great day for ThorSport Racing. We all had our heads in a hole after having to fix that bedcover with somebody tearing it up. We fought back and never gave up. That's what it takes," he said.
Bodine, who entered the race needing to average a 13th-place finish through the final three races of the season to clinch the championship, closed out the race with his 16th top-five and 19th top-10 finish of the campaign.
"Our truck was awesome. I chose the outside (on the final restart) and figured momentum would carry it. I went down in the first turn and, getting up to speed, it just bottomed out, pushed and I knew we were in trouble right then.
"The last set of tires was horrible. We didn't change anything from the run before where it was perfect and it went to pushing just terrible. You just have to live with it. Texas is our track. I'll take the blame for this one. The consolation is that it's a good points night, but it still stinks," Bodine said after scoring his 10th Texas Motor Speedway top-five finish in his 13th career series start on the track. He holds a 230-point championship lead over the second-place Billy Ballew Motorsports driver Aric Almirola, who checked out of the Texas race with his ninth top-five and 19th top-10 finish of the season following his seventh-place finish.
Bodine can clinch his second career series title on Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Raceway by finishing fourth if he doesn't lead a lap, fifth if he leads one lap and sixth if he leads the most race laps. He placed 12th in last season's Phoenix race, earned his only Phoenix victory in 2005 and owns a total of three top-five and four top-10 finishes at the track through six career starts.
Phoenix race coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m., on SPEED Channel and 7:45 p.m., on Motor Racing Network Radio and Sirius XM Channel 128.
Story by Mike Schmaltz