In a green-white-checkered-flag finish, Scott passed NASCAR wunderkind Kyle Larson to win Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
The victory was Scott’s first of the season and second of his career, his first win coming at Dover in 2009. But Scott provided only half the drama.
James Buescher and Ty Dillon, the top two contenders for the series championship, both had major trouble, with Buescher blowing a right front tire and crashing hard into the Turn 4 wall with less than three laps left.
Buescher finished 17th and Dillon 15th, to tighten the race for the title as the series heads for the season finale next Friday at Homestead. Buescher leads Timothy Peters by 11 points and Dillon by 12.
Passed by Dillon early in the race, Scott learned from the experience.
“I probably have to give a dozen roses to Ty Dillon,” said Scott, “because he was able to get by me on a restart earlier by holding me down and driving in deep through the corner and just keeping position on me — and I learned from it.
“Luckily I was able to come back and have the opportunity to do the same thing to somebody else, somebody that probably wasn’t expecting it… Fortunately for us, I was able to apply something I learned earlier in the race. I just went into the corner really hard, held him down and got him a little loose.”
Larson trailed Scott to the finish line, followed by Joey Coulter and Peters. Ryan Blaney completed the top five.
Friday’s race went green for the first 36 laps before it took on the character of a demolition derby. Six cautions, which occupied 33 of the next 42 laps, saw a rash of competitive trucks damaged on the treacherous race track.
Jason White collected Todd Bodine’s Toyota on Lap 49. Parker Kligerman’s Toyota broke loose in traffic on Lap 54 and waylaid the truck of Matt Crafton. Polesitter Nelson Piquet Jr., Johnny Sauter, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Miguel Paludo were involved in a four-truck melee on Lap 65.
Cale Gale crashed on the frontstretch on Lap 73 to bring out caution No. 6. Divergent pit strategies put Ryan Truex in the lead before Justin Lofton overtook him as the race neared the 100-lap mark, but a caution on Lap 102 shuffled the running order for a restart on Lap 109, with Peters and Scott leading the field to green.
Larson dived to the inside to pass the top two trucks on the restart lap, but one circuit later, German Quiroga drove too hard into Turn 1, locked his brakes and wrecked the trucks of Brendan Gaughan and Dillon.
NASCAR stopped the race for 13 minutes, 10 seconds to facilitate track cleanup. Back under yellow, Dillon’s crew worked frantically to patch the damage to the No. 3 Chevrolet, keeping Dillon on the lead lap.
Larson held the top spot until Scott passed him on Lap 152 of 153.
Note: Eric Phillips, who called the shots for the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota driven by Scott, won for the 27th time as a Truck Series crew chief, second most all-time. He’s one behind KBM general manager Rick Ren in NCWTS crew chief victories.