The NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway Friday night was a terrific race with a fantastic finish where Kyle Busch timed a pass at the line beautifully to barely edge out Timothy Peters for the win by 0.017 seconds.
Peters used a very strong Red Horse Racing No. 17 Toyota to drive around Busch's own Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Toyota for the lead with five laps to go and led the Sprint Cup Series star coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap. That is when Busch pulled high and got to the outside of Peters. Peters tried to block and forced Busch up to the wall but Busch was there and Peters pulled back to the low line as the two reached the finish line. It was Busch ahead by about three feet.
"I didn't think I was going to be able to make that move," Busch said in victory lane. "I just said I got kind of to his outside and I started to break the plane and that started to slow him down and then as soon as I did that just, it just drug him back."
The win is the 36th Truck Series win in Busch's career but his first at Daytona International Speedway. He had finished in second three times before.
The start of the race was delayed a little over an hour due to the 2.5 mile track being dried after rain. Qualifying was rained out earlier in the day and the starting lineup was determined by practice speeds. That put rookie Ben Kennedy on the pole in the Turner Scott Motorsports No. 31 Chevrolet and his teammate Ron Hornaday Jr in second for the 100 lap race.
Things settled up front into single file as the outside line struggled to keep pace with the low line. Kennedy led a train of trucks until the first caution came out on lap 21. It was a competition caution scheduled by NASCAR because of the rain. Hornaday Jr was second, Ryan Blaney third, Kyle Busch fourth, and Joey Coulter fifth at the time. All the trucks pitted and off pit road Kennedy held the lead on Hornaday, Busch, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter.
Rookie Tyler Reddick in Brad Keselowski Racing's No. 19 Ford struggled to leave his pit stall as he had issues with getting his truck in the right gear to leave.
The race restarted on lap 25 and Kennedy again showed the way around. At lap 40 he led over Hornaday, Busch, Sauter, and Parker Kligerman. Jason White had an engine issue on his No. 93 truck on lap 45 and he pulled off the track and finished in last place which was 36th.
Kennedy led when the second caution came out on lap 51 when Jennifer Jo Cobb's truck stopped on the backstretch. She would lose two laps but the team did get her truck back in the race and she would finish 21st. Pit stops were interesting as Ben Kennedy had an issue leaving his pit stall where he could not get going and dropped from the lead back to 11th for the restart. Tyler Reddick also had the same issue he had on the first stop and Ryan Blaney damaged his right front a little when he made contact with Ryan Ellis leaving his pit box.
The running order for the lap 57 restart was Kyle Busch, Hornaday, Ryan Truex, Peters, and Sauter. Peters was the first driver that was able to make the outside line come to the front all night and with a push from Ross Chastain he took the lead from Busch at the line on lap 58. He and Busch would run side-by-side five laps with Peters edging Busch at the line to lead each lap. On lap 64 Peters cleared Busch all the way and pulled to the low line in front of him. At lap 70 Peters led over Busch, Hornaday, Truex, and Sauter.
The third caution flew on lap 74 for a 15 truck accident. The mess started when Ross Chastain was on Parker Kligerman's bumper going into Turn 3 and the contact turned Kligerman's truck to the inside where he hit the right rear of Mason Mingus' No. 35 WinTron Racing truck and turned him head on into the outside wall. From there 12 other trucks got involved. They were Darrell Wallace Jr, Brian Ickler, Joey Coulter, Brennan Newberry, Tyler Young, John King, Sean Corr, Caleb Holman, Chris Cockrum, Tyler Reddick, Chris Fontaine, and John Wes Townley. All the trucks had very heavy damage and were either done for the night or lost a number of laps except for Reddick, Fontaine, and Townley who stayed on the lead lap.
Kyle Busch came off pit road with the lead. He was ahead of Hornaday, Truex, Kennedy, and Sauter, Peters had dropped to eighth after a slower stop. The race restarted on lap 83 and the fourth caution would fly on lap 86 when Travis Kvapil suffered an engine issue down the backstretch. He finished 22nd.
The race restarted again this time with Busch ahead of Truex, Sauter, Blaney, and Joe Nemechek on lap 90. The top line fell apart leaving Truex and Hornaday to drop outside the top 10. They started working their way up some and when they got to Timothy Peters in sixth Peters jumped to the outside line. By lap 95 the running order was Busch, Sauter, Blaney, Nemechek, and Crafton and Peters where side-by-side for fifth. Peters got a really stong run on that lap with help from Truex and was second at the line. He used the momentum and took the lead on Busch on lap 96 and pulled down low.
From there Peters fought off challenges from Ryan Truex on the outside on laps 97, 98, and 99. Peters led all the way to the exit of Turn 4 on lap 100 when Busch got a good run and made his move to the outside and just nipped Peters at the line. The finish was the eighth closest all-time in Camping World Truck Series history and the closest ever in the Truck Series at Daytona.
Finishing in third was Johnny Sauter with Ryan Truex fourth, and Ron Hornaday Jr fifth. Sixth went to Ryan Blaney, Jeb Burton was seventh, Joe Nemechek eighth, Jimmy Weller ninth, and German Quiroga tenth. Weller was in a tight three wide situation at the line and after crossing the line lost control and spun to the inside but luckily did not collect any other trucks in the big pack.
Also finishing on the lead lap were Ryan Sieg in 11th, Tyler Reddick 12th, Matt Crafton 13th, John Wes Townley 14th, Ben Kennedy 15th, Justin Jennings 16th, Bryan Silas 17th, Ryan Ellis 18th, Chris Fontaine 19th, and Norm Benning 20th.
The next race on the Camping World Truck Series schedule is over a month away. It is the Kroger 200 on March 29th at Martinsville Speedway.
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