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.
Piquet Jr., Bodine involved in wreck (via TheOfficialNASCAR)
Final Laps: Buescher dominates in Kentucky (via TheOfficialNASCAR)
|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 ); 23-26 (#11 Spin Turn 3 ); 29-32 (#01, 3 Accident Turn 2 ); 63-66 (#07 Spin Turn 3 ); 70-76 (#6, 11, 30 Accident Turn 1 ); 104-107 (#2 Accident Turn 4 ); 111-114 (#4, 29, 33 Accident Turn 2 ).
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
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