About to be lapped 20 laps from the finish, Kyle Busch took advantage of a late caution to regroup and charge back to his fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night.
Busch’s deciding pass of Ryan Blaney came on the 195th of 200 laps around the .533-mile track but he was challenged at the checkered flag by defending UNOH 200 winner Timothy Peters.
The pair of Toyota Tundras crossed the start-finish stripe literally side-by-side with Peters – who’d held a two-second advantage when the night’s fourth caution waved on lap 179 – crashing into the inside barrier.
Busch’s margin of victory was 0.05 seconds.
“I knew I had it; I just had the momentum,” said Busch. “Timothy just tried to throw the Hail Mary there I guess and wrecked a pretty good race truck. I hated it for him in doing that.”
Blaney finished third in a Ford with Johnny Sauter and Chase Elliott fourth and fifth. Elliott earlier became the series youngest pole winner at age 17 and led the race’s first 62 laps before giving way to Peters.
Ty Dillon, James Buescher, Ron Hornaday Jr., Brad Keselowski and Matt Crafton took sixth through 10th.
Crafton retained his championship lead of 47 points over Buescher, the 2012 series champion.
Peters, who led all 204 laps in winning the race a year ago, appeared to have the race won after dispatching Elliott and holding off a mid-race challenge from Blaney. Blaney, who started second, ran down Peters in lapped traffic and attempted an outside pass — which the leader blocked, causing Blaney’s truck to lose momentum and fall back to third.
Blaney and owner Keselowski were just over two seconds back — and not gaining ground — when Jeff Agnew crashed on the track’s frontstretch.
Blaney, Keselowski, Busch and most of the other lead lap trucks pitted for fuel and tires. Peters did not and his Toyota lost power when the race restarted, handing the lead to Blaney. So did Crafton’s Toyota, which caused Keselowski to spin and trigger another quick yellow flag.
That brought Busch back into contention although Peters was able to make an interesting finish of it.
“I wouldn’t have done nothing differently,” he said of staying on track when his rivals pitted. “On the restart, it stumbled with the fuel. I didn’t’ know we were that close (to running out).”