Busch wins after late restart at Chicago

Updated: August 29, 2009, 12:56 AM ET
Associated Press

JOLIET, Ill. -- It's an off weekend for many of NASCAR's top drivers, but Kyle Busch isn't getting much rest.

After winning the Camping World Trucks series race at Chicagoland Speedway Friday night, Busch was rushing to board a plane for Montreal to begin preparations for Sunday's Nationwide race on the city's road course.

Busch joked that he probably shouldn't have guzzled an energy drink so late at night.

"I'll be all right," Busch said. "It shouldn't be too bad."

Busch went truck racing on an off weekend for the Sprint Cup series, holding off Todd Bodine on a restart with seven laps to go and cruising to a victory.

It was the second Trucks series victory in as many weeks for Busch, who also won at Bristol Motor Speedway last week. With Friday's win, the Sprint Cup series regular has four Trucks series victories this season and 13 in his career.

Busch previously won at Chicagoland in NASCAR's top two series, sweeping the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series races there last season.

Bodine finished second, giving Toyota the top two spots. They were followed by Ford drivers Colin Braun and Rick Crawford, with Johnny Sauter finishing fifth in a Chevrolet.

It was a disappointing night for the series' top two championship contenders, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Matt Crafton. Both drivers spent much of the race a lap behind the leaders, with Hornaday making up his lap in the late stages of the race to finish 11th and Crafton finishing a lap down in 14th.

Hornaday leaves Chicagoland with a solid 220-point lead over Crafton in the standings.

After the race, Bodine complained that passing was too difficult and made a plea for NASCAR officials to take a look at the aerodynamic characteristics of its race cars across the board.

"They need to work on it -- all three divisions," Bodine said.

Bodine said when he wasn't stuck in traffic, his car was the fastest in the field.

"Out in clean air, that thing was a rocket," Bodine said. "I could just about run wide open, lap after lap. We were consistently two tenths (of a second) faster than the rest of the pack. But when you get behind somebody, you just can't do anything with it."

Still, Bodine was happy for his first top-10 finish since late June.

"After the past two months we've had, second, we'll have to take it," Bodine said.

Busch credited his crew for good pit strategy, citing a decision to take fresh tires early in the race.

Busch dominated the majority of the race, leading 79 of 150 laps, but was shuffled back on a late round of pit stops. Bodine held the lead on a restart with 25 laps to go, with Busch directly behind him.

As Busch hounded Bodine for the lead, T.J. Bell spun out near the start/finish line with 24 laps to go -- narrowly avoiding disaster when his truck slid back up the banking.

The race restarted with 19 laps to go, and Busch got past Bodine easily on the backstretch.

"If he didn't give me that room. it might have gotten a bit ugly," Busch said.

Busch held the lead when contact between Tayler Malsam and David Starr brought out another caution with 12 laps left. Busch held off Bodine on the final restart with seven to go, then pulled away in the closing laps.

Next comes practice for Sunday's road course race at Montreal. With rain in the forecast Saturday, Busch was told practice could be delayed but not canceled entirely -- meaning Busch's first look at the track could come under soggy conditions.

"They don't want us to go out there while it's raining," Busch said. "We'll practice on a wet track, but not while it's raining. For my first time out there, I don't think that would be too good. I'd be trying to get into a braking zone, overshoot and wad it up. I don't need to be doing that."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press