Busch Bags Another Victory in Atlanta
The bad news for the regulars running the Craftsman Truck Series is that Kyle Busch has now won two of the first three races. The good news is he’s not planning on running the full schedule so all they have to do is hope he doesn’t change his mind.
Busch and his Bill Ballew Motorsports team had to make some bold moves to win the 130-lap but they were clearly up to the challenge. Early in the race they gave up second place on the track and completed a lengthy stop under caution for major adjustments that put the No. 51 Toyota at the back of the pack. Busch conducted a driving clinic as he sliced his way back to the front and when rain halted the action with less than 10 laps to go he was back in contention. That was when crew chief Richie Wauters ordered his driver to pit road for fresh tires.
Ron Hornaday, who was leading at the time, made his last pit stop one lap later than Busch and that hesitation cost him the victory.
“I was surprised that Ron didn’t come down (pit road),” Busch said. “Normally, you do what the leader does, but I think Richie made a great call coming down pit road for those four tires.”
Rain halted the race one more time with seven laps to go but Busch was able to hold off Hornaday to snag his eighth career victory and third in five series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
After leading 81 of 130 laps, Hornaday held on for the runner-up finish.
“Our truck was setup for long runs and we knew that tires were going to be problem,” said Hornaday. “We made our truck work and he beat us on the short run. We will take this. If he would have stayed on old tires, we would have beat him.”
Mike Skinner finished third and was followed by Matt Crafton and Chad McCumbee.
Todd Bodine held onto second in the point standings with a ninth place finish but it was Hornaday who made the points move of the race as he climbed six positions from ninth to third. The defending series champion has risen a total of 24 spots in the just the past two races after a 24th place finish in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.