LAS VEGAS – It’s easy to spot a trend where Kyle Busch is concerned.
Put Busch in one of his own Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks, and he’s all but certain to win. That’s been the case for seven straight starts in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, counting Friday night’s victory in the Strat 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his home track.
Busch led seven times for 108 of the 134 laps in the 200-mile race. About the only difficulty he had was clearing Sheldon Creed on consecutive restarts in the final stage of the race. But five laps into a run, Busch was gone.
Busch started his seven-race streak in 2018 at Pocono. He won all five of his Gander Trucks starts last year and started 2020 with the hometown victory.
After the last restart on lap 96, Busch pulled out to a lead of more than 7.8 seconds over polesitter and race runner-up Johnny Sauter. His winning margin over Sauter was 5.958 seconds. The victory was Busch’s 57th, extending his own record in the series, and his second straight at LVMS.
“I don’t know why but we just couldn’t fire off on the restarts,” Busch said. “We just didn’t have any speed. Once we got about ten laps in, we started to check away from everybody. This Tundra was awesome – it really had great long-run speed.
“It was the first win for (crew chief) Danny Stockman at KBM, and it’s cool to have him on board. My guys worked their butts off. We unloaded and we really weren’t that close. We worked on it a lot with this new tire, and we got it a lot better.
“We kind of showed that with the (last) long run.”
Creed challenged Busch after the final restart, running side-by-side with the race winner and leading laps 96 and 97, But Creed got loose under Busch’s No. 51 Toyota on lap 98, surrendered the top spot and fell to tenth at the finish.
Sauter passed eventual eighth-place finisher, Tanner Gray, for second on lap 101, and Austin Hill followed into third a lap later. Reigning series champion Matt Crafton came home fourth, with his ThorSport Racing teammate Ben Rhodes securing the fifth spot.
“We were way too loose at the start there,” Sauter said of his initial run from the pole. Adjustments during the first two pit stops helped matters, but not enough to gain equal footing with Busch.
Last week’s Daytona winner, Grant Enfinger, fell out early after Raphael Lessard’s Toyota broke loose in the bottom lane and carried both trucks into the outside wall. Lessard and Enfinger finished 30th and 31st, respectively.
Zane Smith, Todd Gilliland, Gray, Stewart Friesen, and Creed completed the top-ten
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Race – 3rd Annual Strat 200
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nevada
Friday, February 21, 2020
1. (3) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 134.
2. (1) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 134.
3. (6) Austin Hill, Toyota, 134.
4. (13) Matt Crafton, Ford, 134.
5. (18) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 134.
6. (15) Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, 134.
7. (25) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 134.
8. (14) Tanner Gray #, Ford, 134.
9. (17) Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 134.
10. (2) Sheldon Creed, Chevrolet, 134.
11. (7) Tyler Ankrum, Chevrolet, 134.
12. (21) Spencer Davis #, Toyota, 134.
13. (5) Ty Majeski #, Chevrolet, 134.
14. (12) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 134.
15. (23) Brennan Poole(i), Toyota, 134.
16. (10) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 134.
17. (26) Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 134.
18. (27) Codie Rohrbaugh, Chevrolet, 134.
19. (22) Tate Fogleman #, Chevrolet, 133.
20. (20) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 132.
21. (29) Natalie Decker, Chevrolet, 132.
22. (16) Derek Kraus #, Toyota, 131.
23. (4) Christian Eckes #, Toyota, 130.
24. (31) Angela Ruch, Toyota, 130.
25. (30) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 129.
26. (19) Cory Roper, Ford, 128.
27. (28) Josh Reaume, Toyota, 126.
28. (11) Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, Overheating, 113.
29. (24) Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, 112.
30. (8) Raphael Lessard #, Toyota, Accident, 90.
31. (9) Grant Enfinger, Ford, Accident, 89.
32. (32) Josh Bilicki(i), Toyota, Handling, 3.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 121.206 mph.
Time of Race: One Hr, 39 Mins, 30 Secs. The Margin of Victory: 5.958 Seconds.
Caution Flags: Five for 25 laps.
Lead Changes: 15 among five drivers.
Lap Leaders: J. Sauter 1-4;S. Creed 5-8;J. Sauter 9-11;K. Busch(i) 12-33;C. Eckes # 34-37;K. Busch(i) 38;C. Eckes # 39-44;K. Busch(i) 45-78;S. Creed 79;K. Busch(i) 80;S. Creed 81;K. Busch(i) 82-91;J. Anderson 92;K. Busch(i) 93-95;S. Creed 96-97;K. Busch(i) 98-134.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch(i) seven times for 108 laps; Christian Eckes # two times for ten laps; Sheldon Creed four times for eight laps; Johnny Sauter two times for seven laps; Jordan Anderson one time for one lap.
Stage 1 Top-Ten: 51,18,13,26,16,4,40,23,99,2
Stage 2 Top-Ten: 51,18,40,98,88,99,23,4,38,13