FORT WORTH, Texas (JUNE 18, 2020)
Kyle Busch bounced back from a disappointing disqualification in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race to win a hard-fought battle under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway against his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate Christian Eckes in the Vankor 350 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race.
The Vankor 350 was rescheduled from its original March 27 date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Busch led five times for 72 laps, including 32 of the final 33, in the No. 51 KBM Toyota en route to his series-leading 59th victory by 0.777-of-a-second ahead of his 19-year-old rookie protégé who earned his career-best series finish in the No. 18 KBM Toyota.
“Overall, just real proud of the effort by Christian Eckes and that Safelite Autoglass Tundra that he’s driving with Rudy Fugle (Eckes crew chief) and those guys,” said Busch. “They’re getting their chemistry better and better and they challenged for a win tonight. Real proud of them, but wanted to go out on a high here with our Cessna Beechcraft Tundra.”
It was Busch’s fifth Gander Trucks win at No Limits, Texas. His previous trips to SpeedyCash.com Victory Lane include three in the fall (2009, 2010, 2014) and one in spring 2019. Tonight’s win made it three straight for KBM at Texas Motor Speedway after former NASCAR Cup Series driver Greg Biffle, driving last June in a one-off for KBM in the SpeedyCash.com 400, earned his first Gander Trucks win since 2001 in his first series race since 2004.
The balance of the top-10 finishers were Matt Crafton, Stewart Friesen, Brett Moffitt, Tyler Ankrum, Justin Haley, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes and Ross Chastain.
Two-time Texas Motor Speedway Stadium Super Trucks winner Sheldon Creed paced the field to the green flag and the first seven laps of the evening’s 167-lap race before relinquishing the lead to Busch who started fourth. Busch led five laps before rookie Zane Smith moved his No. 21 GMS Chevy to the top spot for the next 22 circuits. Busch then moved back to the point on Lap 35 to earn the Stage 1 victory.
Eckes led the first lap of Stage 2 before his boss and team owner reclaimed the top spot for the next 23 circuits.
On Lap 63, five-time TMS Gander Trucks winner Johnny Sauter sustained damage to his No. 13 Thorsport Racing Ford that brought out the caution. That resulting pit stops and shuffling of the deck for the restart allowed Moffitt to move his No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet to the front and earn the Stage 2 victory.
Busch and Eckes were the class of the field in the final stage of the race, leading 76 of the remaining 87 laps including the final 33. However, a late caution created a 10-lap dash to the finish between teacher and student
Busch led on the restart on Lap 158 but Eckes clawed his way back to the front on the next lap. The lead turned out to be short-lived, however, as Busch reclaimed the top spot for good on Lap 160.
There were 15 lead changes among seven drivers and five cautions for 26 laps.
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