Taking advantage of Kyle Busch’s brush with the wall in the late going, pole-sitter Ty Dillon won going away in Friday night’s Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the first victory for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie.
Busch ran second, 3.227 seconds behind the race winner. James Buescher finished third, followed by Parker Kligerman and Aric Almirola. Series leader Timothy Peters came home 13th.
Dillon, 20, grandson of team owner Richard Childress, is third in the standings, nine points behind Peters, as he tries to duplicate the NCWTS championship won by 22-year-old brother Austin Dillon last year.
“I’m just so happy for how hard we’ve worked,” said Ty Dillon. “It’s our rookie year, and we’re battling for the championship. My team doesn’t give up.
“Man, I’m just so happy and so excited. I finally won a NASCAR race. It’s been my whole life, and to finally do it means so much. Man, it’s awesome.”
Busch, Buescher (second in the standings, six points back) and Dillon swapped the lead between them eight times in a 25-lap stretch before Busch began to pull away. After a cycle of green-flag stops that started with Dillon’s trip down pit road on lap 82, Busch held a five-second lead, but a caution for debris on the backstretch on Lap 105 slowed the race and bunched the field.
Lead-lap trucks came to pit road on Lap 106, eliminating the need for fuel conservation the rest of the way. After a restart on Lap 110, Busch pulled away to a one-second lead as Dillon and Buescher battled for second behind him.
But Busch scraped the wall on the final run and damaged his truck, allowing Dillon to overtake him for the lead on Lap 125 of 130.
Busch said Dillon’s truck was simply better.
“He had a lot better handle on the bottom of the race track than we did, especially throughout the longer run,” Busch said. “He could hold the bottom better than I could. There, when it’s time to race, when a guy catches you, you’ve got to go somewhere else.
“You’ve got to go to the top, and you try to push and get sideways and hit the fence. There’s no room to catch it up there. It was all I could do to push it as hard as I could.”
Bad luck continued to haunt four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr., still seeking his first victory since joining Joe Denette Motorsports at the end of the season. On Lap 37, contact from the truck of Tim George Jr. trapped Hornaday against the outside wall in a wreck that also collected Jason White’s Ford.