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Busch Wins Race; Crafton Wraps Up Truck Title At Homestead

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, November 16 2013

Matt Crafton celebrates his 2013 Camping World Truck Series championship at Homestead on Friday night. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

Kyle Busch won Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In addition, he collected: an owners’ championship for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Matt Crafton, who qualified eighth, won his first series championship in his 13th full year in the trucks, closing out Ty Dillon simply by starting the race.

“It’s an honor,” an emotional Crafton said after the race. “To be able to do it for (team owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson that have been doing this for 18 years and give them their first championship … and me driving for them for 13 years full time … for (sponsor) Menard’s and all the people that have been behind me, and every one of these guys that work on this truck, it’s an honor to be able to give them this championship. These guys are the ones that work so hard. I’m just the one who gets to celebrate and look like a hero, because I get to drive a great truck all year.”

Crafton was wrecked on the first attempt at a green-white-checker and limped home in 21st, resulting in his team losing the owners’ title to Busch on a tiebreaker based on the number of victories during the season.

Crafton’s crew chief, Carl Joiner, did not sound all that disappointed after the race.

“It means,” he said, “the world – for Duke and Rhonda Thorson, Matt Crafton, me and all these guys that work so hard every day and give up their lives basically to do this and all their wives – can’t forget about them, they

Matt Crafton is America's fastest trucker. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

are probably one of the most key ingredients. It means everything. I’m so proud of this team. We had a really good truck tonight. I didn’t think anybody was going to spoil our night there for awhile. I thought we could have taken everything home, but that’s racing. We had a really good year and we were fortunate enough to stay out of all that trouble all year. We’re the champions — no one can take that from us.”

The win was Busch’s fifth of the season in 11 starts in his own No. 51 Toyota. It was his second win at the 1.5-mile track and the 35th of his career. Even with a win, though, Busch knew the chances of claiming the owners’ title were slim, given that his No. 51 entered the race 23 points behind Crafton’s No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota.

“There’ve been a lot of great things that we’ve been blessed with, first an owners’ championship in our first year out with our race team (2010) and now again here in 2013 with a different crew chief (Rudy Fugle) and a lot of different drivers behind the wheel,” Busch said.

“Having Denny Hamlin and Scott Bloomquist, Chad Hackenbracht and Erik Jones … and, of course, without Erik Jones’ win last weekend (at Phoenix), we wouldn’t be in this position this weekend to come out here and have the opportunity with those bonus points to be close enough.

“Matt had to have trouble [for us to take the title], and unfortunately he did.”

Ryan Blaney rallied from contact with the wall to finish second. Jeb Burton hit the wall twice and came home third. Fourth-place finisher Brendan Gaughan posted his fourth top five in as many races, and Ron Hornaday Jr. ran fifth in his first race in the No. 34 Turner Scott Motorsports entry.

Busch was leading when Burton scraped the wall for the second time on Lap 130 during a late green-flag run. That sent the race to overtime, and Busch led the field to the green flag on Lap 136, but a four-car wreck that collected Crafton in the melee necessitated the second green-white-checker.

Johnny Sauter’s wreck on Lap 142 caused the eighth caution of the evening to set up the third and final try at a two-lap shootout.

Blaney, 19, also made a statement in a close rookie-of-the-year battle against Darrell Wallace Jr., becoming the youngest Sunoco Rookie of the Year in series history. Blaney led 51 of the first 65 laps and was first onto pit road on Lap 65 after Darrell Wallace Jr. tagged the outside wall one circuit earlier.

Busch was first off pit road for a restart on Lap 70, but after a pitched battle for the lead that went four-wide at one juncture — with Busch, Blaney, Crafton and Hornaday all involved — Blaney reclaimed the top spot from Busch on Lap 78 and began to pull away.

Blaney’s lead grew to nearly one second by Lap 88, but Busch soon began to close. On Lap 94 Blaney scraped the outside wall to cause the fourth caution of the race and dropped to the back of the field after repairs but rallied late for the runner-up finish as the race went 14 laps beyond its posted distance.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – Ford EcoBoost 200

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Homestead, Florida

Friday, November 15, 2013

1. (12) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 148, $37985.

2. (1) Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 148, $36275.

3. (15) Jeb Burton #, Chevrolet, 148, $21670.

4. (13) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 148, $18285.

5. (11) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 148, $14410.

6. (14) John Wes Townley, Toyota, 148, $15435.

7. (20) German Quiroga #, Toyota, 148, $15235.

8. (5) Ross Chastain, Ford, 148, $15035.

9. (19) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 148, $14835.

10. (9) Cale Gale, Chevrolet, 148, $13660.

11. (10) Miguel Paludo, Chevrolet, 148, $14535.

12. (22) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 148, $14360.

13. (6) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 148, $15235.

14. (3) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 148, $14135.

15. (18) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Toyota, 148, $15110.

16. (2) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 148, $13910.

17. (30) Jimmy Weller III, Toyota, 148, $13810.

18. (26) Jeff Agnew, Chevrolet, 148, $13710.

19. (32) B.J. McLeod, Chevrolet, 148, $11360.

20. (7) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 148, $11865.

21. (8) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 148, $13285.

22. (16) Max Gresham, Chevrolet, 148, $13035.

23. (21) Dakoda Armstrong, Chevrolet, 148, $12910.

24. (27) Frank Kimmel, Toyota, 148, $10360.

25. (28) Mason Mingus, Chevrolet, 148, $10310.

26. (34) D.J. Kennington, Chevrolet, 147, $10960.

27. (25) Joey Coulter, Toyota, 142, $10760.

28. (35) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 140, $9560.

29. (23) Brennan Newberry #, Chevrolet, Accident, 135, $9335.

30. (17) Ben Kennedy, Chevrolet, Engine, 103, $9135.

31. (4) Nelson Piquet Jr(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 101, $8585.

32. (33) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, Accident, 101, $8560.

33. (24) Chad McCumbee, Ford, Power Steering, 42, $8535.

34. (36) Travis Kvapil(i), Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 5, $8510.

35. (29) Chris Jones, Chevrolet, Transmission, 3, $8485.

36. (31) J.J. Yeley(i), Toyota, Fuel Pump, 2, $8400.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 109.225 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 01 Mins, 57 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.081 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 37 laps.

Lead Changes: 13 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders: R. Blaney # 1-8; J. Sauter 9-10; R. Blaney # 11-49; M. Crafton 50-61; R. Blaney # 62-65; K. Busch(i) 66-77; R. Blaney # 78-93; K. Busch(i) 94-96; R. Chastain 97-98; K. Busch(i) 99-112; A. Dillon(i) 113-114; K. Busch(i) 115; A. Dillon(i) 116; K. Busch(i) 117-148.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): R. Blaney # 4 times for 67 laps; K. Busch(i) 5 times for 62 laps; M. Crafton 1 time for 12 laps; A. Dillon(i) 2 times for 3 laps; J. Sauter 1 time for 2 laps; R. Chastain 1 time for 2 laps.

Top 10 in Points: M. Crafton – 804; T. Dillon – 764; J. Buescher – 761; J. Sauter – 732; J. Burton # – 731; R. Blaney # – 726; B. Gaughan – 717; D. Wallace Jr. # – 704; M. Paludo – 697; T. Peters – 683.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, November 16 2013
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