Starting from the rear after missing the drivers’ meeting and driver introductions didn’t deter Kyle Busch, who held off charging Parker Kligerman to win Thursday night’s UNOH 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
Busch won his fifth race of the season and the 29th of his career in a green-white checkered-flag finish set up by a late caution. The win was his 98th national series victory in NASCAR racing, third most all-time.
Kligerman ran second, followed by Brendan Gaughan, Todd Bodine and Jason White.
“On the (last) restart, when Jason White was on my inside, I figured if I could just get another good restart where I didn’t spin my tires, I’d be all right,” Busch said. “Those guys spun their tires every time, and it kind of worked for us.
“It’s hard to not be the leader in those positions and not spin your tires. I know how they feel.”
Busch won the first leg of a potential weekend triple. He will race in Friday’s Feed the Children 300 Nationwide Series event and Saturday’s Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup race before traveling to Wisconsin for a Super Late Model event at Slinger Speedway on Sunday.
Moments after a restart on Lap 76, four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr. felt his No. 33 Chevrolet break loose as he raced on the inside of the No. 60 Chevrolet of Cole Whitt. Both trucks slammed into the outside wall, and Jack Smith’s Ford plowed into Hornaday’s Chevy, knocking Hornaday back across the track, collecting the trucks of Josh Richards and John King in the process.
Busch led the field to a restart on Lap 83 with Johnny Sauter beside him. After that, things got crazy. Sauter passed Busch for the lead on Lap 103 but fell out of the race when he broke his rear axle during a pit stop on Lap 124.
Nelson Piquet Jr. overshot his pit stall on Lap 120 during that same round of green-flag stops and fell five seconds off the lead. When the cycle was completed, Busch had a two-truck-length lead over Austin Dillon, but as Dillon was closing in, the hood of his No. 3 Chevrolet came unpinned and covered the windshield, obstructing his vision.
Busch led until caution flew on Lap 142 for Charles Vest’s spin. On the subsequent restart on Lap 146, Busch began to pull away, but a multicar wreck involving Piquet, Miguel Paludo, Steve Arpin, Tim Peters and Ryan Sieg slowed the race for the seventh time and sent the event to overtime.