Buescher dominates, Peters takes championship lead

SPARTA, KY - JUNE 28: James Buescher, driver of the #31 Exide Batteries Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

SPARTA, KY - James Buescher absolutely had the field covered on Thursday night, leading 119 of 150 laps and winning the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

Buescher first took the lead on a lap 21 restart and once out in front, there was no catching him. During both extended green flag runs, he quickly built up leads of nearly two seconds and paced himself the rest of the way.

"In the closing laps of the race I was just thinking, 'What is going to go wrong?' because something normally does," he said. "To lead that many laps and dominate like that says a lot about the capabilities of this race team."

Prior to that, it appeared as if Matt Crafton was destined to win the race. Crafton was the pole-sitter and fastest in practice and looked every bit of it from laps 1-to-18 and again from 20-to-26.

But Crafton struggled on restarts, and the race suffered three consecutive cautions on lap 18, 23, and 29. The resets absolutely killed Crafton's momentum and needed a longer green flag run at the end to get back to finish in fourth.

"We just had one restart where they got us when they fanned us out three-wide and we fell to about seventh and drove back to fourth -- and we had a fast truck," Crafton said. "This Menard's Toyota -- it was so good. In the middle of the race it didn't quite fire off as well. We made one adjustment right there at the end and that was it -- it fired off a lot better on that last run, but we just lost track position because some of those guys took two tires. All in all, not a bad night."

Crafton was much faster than his fourth place finish indicated but just didn't get the long runs he needed. When told of the lap 104 caution, Crafton verbalized his displeasure by shouting "son of a bitch."

Not that it would have mattered. Buescher was on rails and could match whatever pace his various pursuers set. The best truck doesn't always win, but it certainly helped on Thursday night for Buescher and Turner Motorsports who became the season's first repeat winner.

The season's most consequential moment may have happened on lap 70 when points leader Justin Lofton was damaged in a three-car accident that also involved Todd Bodine and Nelson Piquet Jr.

Bodine dipped below the white line to make a pass on Lofton but was unable to make the tires stick. Bodine slid up the track and into Lofton who was then clipped by Piquet. Bodine claims that he only made the move because he thought Lofton was "blowing up."

Judge for yourself by watching the video beneath the jump.

As a result, Lofton finished in 14th and fell from the championship lead, four points behind Timothy Peters who finished fifth. Ty Dillon finished third after a furious battle with Brad Keselowski and is tied with Lofton for second in the standings.

I'm curious to get your take on the Thursday night format. Did the start time prevent any of you from watching the race? Conventional wisdom says that a Friday night race allows for more fans to stay up, but a Thursday night race day ensures that the maximum number of fans will be home to catch it. Give us your various opinions in the comments section below.

Video highlights and complete finishing order can be found beneath the jump.

Audiovisual

Piquet Jr., Bodine involved in wreck (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

Final Laps: Buescher dominates in Kentucky (via TheOfficialNASCAR)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race Number 8
Unofficial Race Results for the 2Nd Annual Unoh 225 - Thursday, June 28, 2012
Kentucky Speedway - Sparta, KY - 1.5 Mile Paved
Total Race Length - 150 Laps - 225 Miles - Purse: $527,228
Fin Str Trk Driver Team Laps Pts Bns Driver Rating Winnings Status Tms Laps
1 3 31 James Buescher Exide Chevrolet 150 48 5 148.1 $57,095 Running 3 119
2 17 19 Brad Keselowski(i) Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation RAM 150 0 116.6 $36,960 Running
3 4 3 Ty Dillon # Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet 150 42 1 99.3 $28,155 Running 1 3
4 1 88 Matt Crafton Menards/Great Lakeswood Floors Toyota 150 41 1 128.9 $21,420 Running 4 27
5 7 17 Timothy Peters Red Horse Racing Toyota 150 39 109.4 $14,345 Running
6 6 13 Johnny Sauter Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota 150 38 103.1 $13,820 Running
7 16 22 Joey Coulter Steak-umm Chevrolet 150 37 107.6 $12,320 Running
8 18 18 Jason Leffler Dollar General Toyota 150 36 89.3 $11,820 Running
9 11 9 Ron Hornaday Jr. Hollywood Casino Chevrolet 150 35 98.0 $11,720 Running
10 25 4 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Mobile App Chevrolet 150 34 80.6 $10,620 Running
11 12 23 Jason White Gunbroker.com Ford 150 33 76.7 $11,495 Running
12 5 32 Miguel Paludo Duroline Chevrolet 150 32 79.7 $11,320 Running
13 26 98 Dakoda Armstrong # EverFi.com Toyota 150 31 73.0 $11,220 Running
14 10 6 Justin Lofton CollegeComplete.com Chevrolet 150 30 86.0 $11,120 Running
15 24 81 David Starr Zachry Toyota 150 29 70.1 $12,070 Running
16 29 39 Ryan Sieg RSS Racing Chevrolet 150 28 64.2 $10,895 Running
17 23 5 Paulie Harraka # Wauters Motorsports Ford 150 27 61.9 $10,795 Running
18 21 68 Clay Greenfield @claygreenfield RAM 149 26 50.2 $8,445 Running
19 8 29 Parker Kligerman Drawtite RAM 149 25 83.8 $10,595 Running
20 36 84 Chris Fontaine Glenden Enterprises Chevrolet 148 24 44.8 $11,120 Running
21 33 75 Caleb Holman # Food Country USA Chevrolet 147 23 45.4 $8,145 Running
22 31 14 Brennan Newberry NTS/IronClad Performance Chevrolet 147 22 47.9 $8,045 Running
23 34 02 Tyler Young # RandCo Chevrolet 145 21 36.4 $7,945 Running
24 15 2 Tim George Jr. Applebee's Chevrolet 143 20 54.8 $10,095 Running
25 9 33 Cale Gale # Rheem Chevrolet 140 19 62.7 $8,895 Running
26 28 99 Bryan Silas # Advantage/Rockingham Speedway Ford 134 19 1 42.5 $8,645 Running 1 1
27 30 07 Jeff Agnew Wear Your Gear/BOBBER.info Chevrolet 104 17 36.3 $7,545 Vibration
28 13 11 Todd Bodine Toyota Care Toyota 69 16 65.3 $7,440 Accident
29 2 30 Nelson Piquet Jr. Magic Brasil Chevrolet 68 15 73.1 $7,340 Accident
30 19 24 Max Gresham # Made in USA Brand Chevrolet 63 14 44.8 $7,240 Engine
31 20 01 Jake Crum Bandit Chippers Chevrolet 27 13 50.4 $7,665 Accident
32 22 09 John Wes Townley # Toyota Toyota 16 12 40.9 $7,140 Accident
33 14 08 Ross Chastain # South Carolina Watermelon Association Toyota 7 11 35.4 $7,125 Engine
34 35 27 CE Falk Hillman Racing Chevrolet 6 10 32.2 $7,115 Handling
35 27 93 Dennis Setzer RSS Racing Chevrolet 4 9 31.0 $7,100 Transmission
36 32 86 Scott Riggs(i) Clay Greenfield Motorsports RAM 3 0 30.3 $7,070 Overheating

Race Comments: Before an estimated crowd of 25,000, James Buescher won the UNOH 225, his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory. To start the race, prior to the green flag the following trucks dropped to the rear of the field for the reasons indicated: #3, 4 (engine change), #27 (back-up truck), #39, 81 (missing drivers meeting).
Failed to Qualify: (4) 0 Chris Lafferty, 38 Johnny Chapman, 57 Norm Benning, 10 Chris Lafferty.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 51 Mins, 16 Secs. Average Speed: 121.330 MPH Margin of Victory: 3.805 Seconds
Caution Flags: 7 for 31 laps: Laps: 18-21 (#09 Accident Turn 3 [07]); 23-26 (#11 Spin Turn 3 [24]); 29-32 (#01, 3 Accident Turn 2 [24]); 63-66 (#07 Spin Turn 3 [5]); 70-76 (#6, 11, 30 Accident Turn 1 [14]); 104-107 (#2 Accident Turn 4 [5]); 111-114 (#4, 29, 33 Accident Turn 2 [68]).
Lead Changes: 8 among 4 drivers: M. Crafton 1-18; B. Silas # 19; M. Crafton 20-26; J. Buescher 27-62; M. Crafton 63; J. Buescher 64-103; M. Crafton 104; T. Dillon # 105-107; J. Buescher 108-150.
Top 10 Driver Points: (1) T. Peters 306;(2) J. Lofton 302;(3) T. Dillon # 302;(4) J. Buescher 297;(5) P. Kligerman 272;(6) M. Crafton 264;(7) J. Coulter 256;(8) R. Hornaday Jr. 253;(9) N. Piquet Jr. 249;(10) M. Paludo 231.
Featherlite Most Improved Driver : James Buescher, #31 14 Places Keystone Light Pole Award : Matt Crafton, #88 173.288 mph
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race : Hendrick Engines, #31 Mobil 1 Oil Driver of the Race : James Buescher, #31
Sunoco Rookie of the Race : Ty Dillon, #3
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Next Race: Jul. 14, 2012 - Iowa Speedway
NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications @ P.O. Box 2875, Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2875

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