The Prowler

A league of his own

Kyle Busch breaks career victories mark with 52nd win

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A league of his own

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Cessna Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, stands in victory lane after the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Ultimate Tailgating 200. The win marks Busch’s 52nd career Truck Series victory, breaking the tie with four-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Cessna Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, stands in victory lane after the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Ultimate Tailgating 200. The win marks Busch’s 52nd career Truck Series victory, breaking the tie with four-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.

Shelby Foster

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Cessna Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, stands in victory lane after the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Ultimate Tailgating 200. The win marks Busch’s 52nd career Truck Series victory, breaking the tie with four-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.

Shelby Foster

Shelby Foster

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Cessna Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, stands in victory lane after the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Ultimate Tailgating 200. The win marks Busch’s 52nd career Truck Series victory, breaking the tie with four-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.

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Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Cessna Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, won the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Ultimate Tailgating 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after leading 92 of 130 laps.

We should be doing better. We’ve got a lot higher goals for ourselves. We were still able to salvage a fifth place finish. Obviously, Kyle Bush was in a league of his own.”

— fifth place finisher Ben Rhodes

The win marks Busch’s 52nd career Truck Series victory, breaking the tie with four-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.

“You’ve got to get up on the wheel and make it happen,” Busch said. “Obviously, we kind of proved that here tonight.”

Johnny Sauter, driver of the No. 13 Tenda Heal Ford for ThorSport Racing, finished second after starting 12th. Grant Enfinger, driver of the No. 98 Champion Power Equipment Ford for ThorSport Racing, finished the race third. Last year’s Atlanta truck race winner Brett Moffitt placed fourth. Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 99 Carolina Nut Ford for ThorSport Racing, rounded out the top five.

“This is probably the most frustrated I’ve been with a top-5,” Rhodes said. “We should be doing better. We’ve got a lot higher goals for ourselves. We were still able to salvage a fifth place finish. Obviously, Kyle Bush was in a league of his own.”

Busch won the first stage of the race after leading every lap. Following 3.635 seconds behind was Harrison Burton, pilot of the No. 18 Safelight AutoGlass Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Busch started the race in 24th after rain canceled qualifying, forcing the starting grid to be set by owner points.

Katie Linkner
Natalie Decker, driver of the No. 54 N29 Technologies LLC Toyota for DGR-Crosley, spins out coming off of Turn 4. Decker spun two times in her debut race at Atlanta’s 1.54-mile track.

Early in the first stage, Natalie Decker, driver of the No. 54 N29 Technologies LLC Toyota for DGR-Crosley, had to pit after spinning in Turn 4. Decker fell behind two laps and was unable to recover. She finished 24th overall.

“I really wanted to deliver a win tonight,” Sauter said. “We just didn’t get it done.”

To start Stage 2, Busch lost the lead to Enfinger who held the lead for four laps. Busch took back the lead on lap 48 but lost a battle against Sauter. Rhodes captured the top spot from Sauter and held it for 20 laps before Busch charged back into the lead.

The only caution during Stage 2 came from laps 54 to 57 for debris.

“[Busch] makes it look so easy,” Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, said. “I guess he’s pretty decent at this stuff.”

Busch started off Stage 3 in the lead. However, Sauter took the lead from lap 88 to lap 92. Busch took the lead back at lap 93, and held it until the end of the race.

Decker spun again on lap 113. Five trucks collided when the race restarted on lap 117.  This accident led to a red flag that lasted just under nine minutes. Then mother nature decided to play a role and NASCAR officials pulled the trucks down pit road for another red flag that lasted nearly 17 minutes.

After lap 117 and until lap 125, the trucks ran under a caution. The last five laps were under the green flag, and as soon as the green flag was waved, Busch took off and held the top spot until the end.

Shelby Foster
Chad Finley’s car gets towed off of the track after being involved in a late-race five-truck accident on the front stretch. This accident led to a red flag that lasted just under nine minutes, but the rain caused another red flag lasting just under 17 minutes.

“These trucks are fast,” Georgia native and pole winner Austin Hill, driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota for Hattori Racing Enterprises, said. “Coming from what I’ve been in, they just have speed. A lot of raw speed. I don’t feel like I did anything really different as a driver from last year, it’s just the trucks are that much faster.”

Hill finished the race in seventh. Burton who started the race in second, finished in eighth.

Leaving Atlanta, Enfinger tops the points for NGOTS with 91 points. Hill follows close behind with 90 points. In third is Rhodes with 77 points. Sauter is behind him in fourth with 73 points. To round out the top five is Burton with 67 points.

“Overall, not what we wanted,” Enfinger said. “Probably a lot we can build on. Really proud of the guys on pit road. They killed the stops tonight. I feel like we’re carrying momentum going into Vegas.”

The trucks race next at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Strat 200 on March 1. Watch the green flag drop at 9 p.m. on FOX Sports 1.

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