Kyle Busch wins Trucks race at Dover
DOVER, Del. -- Under probation, Kyle Busch was on his best behavior racing side-by-side with rival Kevin Harvick. Under caution, Busch geared up for the restarts that helped move him up the NASCAR record book.
Busch won the Trucks Series race at Dover International Speedway on Friday, moving into a tie for fifth place with 96 career wins in the three major divisions.
Busch matched Mark Martin with his 96 wins: 21 in Sprint Cup, 48 in the Nationwide Series, and 27 in Trucks. He can sweep the weekend and boost his total with wins Saturday in the Nationwide race or in Sunday's Cup race.
He also became the first Trucks driver to win twice at Dover.
"It wasn't quite the walk in the park it seemed," Busch said. "This place is so difficult, so challenging."
His biggest challenge came from rookie Cole Whitt. Whitt was strong early on the long runs, he led 23 laps, but he struggled on the short ones. When the race came down to late restarts, Busch beat the 19-year-old Whitt and took the checkered flag for the third time this season in the Trucks Series.
"Kyle's one of the best in the business on restarts. He definitely schooled me a few times," Whitt said. "I felt like I got a good one there at the end, but it wasn't quite good enough. That's pretty much what won the race."
Busch was impressed with Whitt's performance.
"Who's the next up-and-coming star? Who's the next guy that can get the job done?" Busch said.
For the foreseeable future, all the up-and-comers and seasoned vets still have to get by Busch.
Busch won under caution and raced all 200 miles without incident against Harvick. The Sprint Cup regulars sparked a pit road dustup last week at Darlington Raceway and both were placed on probation.
The probation for all NASCAR-sanctioned events runs through June 15, a span that includes four Sprint Cup Series championship races and the non-points $1 million All-Star event.
"No issues there," Busch said. "We had some close moments, but it was fine. All's good as far as I know."
His fellow drivers weren't concerned that Busch or Harvick would pull a foolish stunt on the concrete that could have potentially wrecked another car in the field.
"I wasn't really that worried about them doing anything stupid because they can't," Crafton said. "They've got their handcuffs on right now."
Busch started the day talking about his contentious relationship with Harvick. Then, his Cup car needed an engine change during practice, meaning he will automatically start at the back of the field in Sunday's race.
But he ended it with a trip to Victory Lane.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press