Gale win Truck race, Buescher claims title
Buescher survived a wild final 10 laps of racing to win the 2012 truck title, beating out Timothy Peters by six points to become the 12th different driver to win the title and the second-youngest champion in the 17-year history of the series.
Buescher managed to hold on for a 13th-place finish to win the title by six points over Timothy Peters, having led the points standings for the final three races of season.
“It wasn’t pretty, it was a little messy,” said Buescher of his performance in Friday’s race. “But I was doing everything I could to keep our Great Clips Chevy going forward. It was pretty loose and really slick out there. We struggled finding speed in our truck tonight. But we did what we had to do to win the championship, and it worked out in our favor.
“Championship or no championship, it was going to be a great year, and to win the championship after winning four races this season makes it an incredible year. We had a shot at it last year, but we came into this year swinging and did a lot of work over the offseason. It definitely paid off. This is definitely the coolest thing I've ever done in racing.”
Despite staying out of trouble all night and keeping the other title contenders at bay, Buescher almost lost it all in the last ten laps, as rookie Ty Dillon sliced his way to the front of the field looking to close the points gap on Buescher.
Following a caution flag with 10 laps to go, Buescher was ninth behind Dillon, who restarted 6th, while Gale was back in 12th after pitting for fresh tires.
Under green, Buescher started to fade back deeper into the field, while Dillon continued his way to the front, making it all the way to second behind Busch with five laps to go – and just one point behind Buescher.
Behind Dillon was Kyle Larson - the recently crowned 2012 K & N Pro Series East champion - who had already led a race-high 48 laps in a spirited battle with Busch and was looking for his first career truck series win.
As the two entered turn four with five laps go, Larson made a run to the inside, forcing Dillon to block, sending both trucks spinning into the outside wall, collecting Ryan Blaney in the process.
Dillon limped back to pit road to assess the damage, but it was obvious his title hopes were over.
“We were in a no-win situation, we just had to go out there and win the race and make something happen, and that's what I was trying to do,” said Dillon, who would fall to fourth in the final points standings. “I'm all right with everything that played out, it's just we were going for it and almost had it. We were trying to hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth and almost did it.”
After a ten-minute red flag to clean up the mess, the race resumed with Busch jumping back to the lead, clearing second-place Gale on the outside.
Gale battled back, moving up behind Busch’s bumper coming to the white flag and then cutting to the inside coming through turns one and two, going side by side before Gale nosed out ahead coming through turn four.
“It's not my style, but I knew that if I could pinch him (Busch) a little bit that I could get the advantage, and pretty much that's about what I was thinking at that point,” said Gale. “I was just thinking if I could win this race how big it would be and how much it would mean to me and obviously everybody that surrounds me and worked so hard this year
“I've won in everything I've ever raced, and I don't know if I could have lived without winning a NASCAR race because it's all I've ever wanted to do. And to be able to get that chapter knocked out of my life is a dream come true.”
Busch collected his third top-five finish in just his third truck series start of the season, but will end up with his first winless season in the truck series since 2004.
“I got drove into the fence,” said Busch. “That’s it.”
Joey Coulter came home third in the race and third in the points standings, 13 points behind Buescher. Nelson Piquet Jr. and Miguel Paludo finished out the top five.
* Denotes Rookie
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