Kyle Busch sweeps stages to win Strat 200 at Las Vegas
Little would make Kyle Busch happier than a three-race weekend sweep in his hometown. The driver of the No. 51 Toyota took the first step on Friday night, winning the Strat 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
For the second straight week, Busch swept both preliminary stages before taking the checkered flag. In his 2019 series debut last Friday at Atlanta, Busch broke a tie with NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. for most career victories. On Friday, he extended the record to 53.
Despite leading 111-of-134 laps, Busch complained of a tight handling condition throughout much of the race.
“It’s cool to win here in your hometown, being in Las Vegas, starting off a triple weekend. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
Busch, who finished 1.211 seconds ahead of runner-up and reigning series champion Brett Moffitt, will compete in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 Xfinity Series race before trying for his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Las Vegas on Sunday.
Busch already has two weekend sweeps to his credit, both at Bristol Motor Speedway, in 2010 and 2017.
Moffitt had one shot at Busch in the closing laps after gaining ground on the race winner during the last cycle of pit stops. When Busch came to pit road under green on Lap 114, four laps after Moffitt, he lost most of a three-second lead as Moffitt ran those four extra laps with new right-side tires.
Moffitt got close to Busch’s rear bumper on Lap 119, but his No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet got loose behind the No. 51 Toyota and fell back. Nevertheless, the second-place finish was a victory of sorts for Moffitt, who recovered from a pit road mistake – the rear air gun hose was trapped beneath the rear tire during a stop under caution on Lap 33 – and worked his way back through the field.
“We had to use our stuff up getting back to the front – another pit road mistake,” Moffitt said. “I had one chance to get to (Busch’s) bumper. I knew it was going to be a make-or-break move. Unfortunately, it was ‘break.’”
Matt Crafton rallied from early rear end damage to run third. Stewart Friesen, who battled Busch during the second stage and led 20 laps, finished fourth, followed by Harrison Burton. Sheldon Creed, Todd Gilliland, Johnny Sauter, Ryan Reed and Ross Chastain completed the top 10.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 51 Cessna Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 1st
How was your truck tonight?
“It was just tight, we fought it in practice a little bit and we worked on it an awful lot to make it better. Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and these guys did an amazing job on this Cessna Tundra, it was really, really fast. Just kept working on it all night long, every pit stop we would come in and we would work on it. Certainly want to thank Toyota and TRD, Rowdy Manufacturing, KBM and everyone at the shop, they do an amazing job and build really fast Tundras. Thank Monster Energy, Incredible Bank, Black Clover, DVX Sunglasses, of course the fans – it’s cool to win here in your hometown being from Las Vegas. Starting off the triple weekend, hopefully we can keep it going.”
What do you have for the rest of the weekend to complete the triple?
“I think the hardest one is going to be the second one. We obviously had a really fast truck tonight and Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) made it easier for me, but we worked really hard on this thing to get there. We didn’t start great in practice, but overall proud to be in victory lane, proud to have little man (Brexton Busch) with me and we’ll celebrate here again hopefully tomorrow.”
How big was the win here tonight?
“Certainly, it was a lot of hard work. Everybody back at Kyle Busch Motorsports, everybody at Rowdy Manufacturing built me a super fast Cessna Tundra so its awesome to be able to have such fast trucks and the great opportunity to be able to drive them. Thank all these guys. We fought the handling on it all night long and they just kept working on it every pit stop, we kept making changes and trying to make adjustments to make it better. There (Brett) Moffitt at the end got close and ran me down. Thought he was going to be able to get by me, but I was just so tight. I couldn’t go, I couldn’t fire and kind of got going a little bit better there towards the end and was able to drive away some. That helped us with a little bit of a gap.”
Was there a lot of strong competition tonight?
“It was, (Stewart) Friesen ran a really good race and obviously the air was very important out there tonight. Anytime you got in traffic and had guys that were kind of manipulating the air for you, it made it difficult and it made things difficult. Awesome truck tonight, certainly want to thank Incredible Bank and Black Clover, DVX Sunglasses, Monster Energy and all of our partners that help me out and get us here.”
How much sweeter is it to win in your hometown?
“It’s awesome, it’s what we set out to do every single time we get behind the wheel of something. I think tomorrow is going to be a heck of a lot tougher. The Xfinity race is tough these days because I haven’t been in them as much so I don’t really know what I’m looking for when I’m driving those things. We certainly worked on that car a lot today and made it better, but I don’t think it’s yet where I want it to be so we’ll see what happens. Overall, great night and hopefully the hometown crowd, all the folks from Las Vegas here enjoyed the show and maybe it was a little bit reminiscent of the Legend car days over there at the Bullring, but it’s all good for us here in victory lane.”
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