It wouldn’t be fair to say that Ty Dillon has Kyle Busch’s number, but Dillon picked up his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory the same way he got his first last year — by passing Busch for the lead in the closing laps.
Dillon crossed the finish line 5.736 seconds ahead of Brad Keselowski to win Thursday night’s UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Busch ran third, followed by reigning series champion James Buescher and Ryan Blaney.
“To beat Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, two of the best drivers on four wheels right now, is pretty special. … I want to be like them some day.”
After crossing the finish line, Dillon orchestrated a burnout on the frontstretch while hanging halfway out of the driver’s-side window, but it was patience on the race track that gave him cause to celebrate.
Dillon took his time tracking down Busch in the closing laps and picked his spot with 25 to go.
“My car just took off at the end,” Dillon said. “I knew I was faster, so I just really tried not to kill my car, kill my tires, and it finally came to us. I got a good run through (Turns) 1 and 2 and got by him in 3 and 4. It (Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet) turned into a rocket ship there at the end.
“I wasn’t that great in the beginning and the middle, but (crew chief) Marcus (Richmond) and the guys kept digging and kept digging.”
About the spectacular burnout, Dillon said simply, “Hey, man, we’re here to put on a show.”
Rookie Darrell Wallace Jr. spun in Turn 3 on Lap 86, racing in close quarters underneath the No. 29 of Blaney, to cause the fifth caution on Lap 86. Wallace had led a race-high 54 laps to that point but had to take his No. 54 Toyota to the garage for repairs.
Wallace, who had perhaps the fastest truck in the race, was disappointed but philosophical.
“I though I had it, and I think if he (Blaney) wasn’t there and already gone that I might have saved it and just lost more positions,” Wallace said. “Just hard racing. I’m still trying to figure these (trucks) out. I’m a rookie—that’s what the yellow stripes are for (on the bumpers of rookies’ cars and trucks).”
The accident left Busch, Wallace’s car owner, in charge of the proceedings, at least for a while. Busch pulled away from Blaney after a restart on Lap 91 and held an advantage of 1.035 by the time the race reached Lap 100.
But Bryan Silas’ spin in Turn 4 slowed the field again on Lap 108, giving the lead-lap cars a chance to pit and pick up enough fuel to finish the race.
Busch fought off a challenge from Blaney on Lap 118, forcing the 19-year-old driver into the outside wall. Blaney damaged the right side of his truck but was able to hold the fifth position.
Moments after the contact, Dillon began to mount his challenge and eventually passed Busch, whose truck had developed a drastically loose handling condition, on Lap 125. Keselowski passed Busch for the runner-up spot on Lap 138 but had nothing for Dillon in the final 12 circuits.
Tenth-place finisher Matt Crafton retained the series lead by 22 points over ninth-place Jeb Burton. With the victory, Dillon vaulted three positions into third in the standings, 40 points behind Crafton.