Date: Feb. 23, 2019
Event: Ultimate Tailgating 200 (Race 2 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Format: Three Segments; 40 laps/40 laps/50 laps
Start/Finish: 7th / 1st (running, completed 130 of 130 laps)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Kyle Busch made history in his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the season, picking up his 52nd career series win in the No. 51 Cessna Tundra. This breaks the tie at 51 with Ron Hornaday Jr. and gives Busch the record for most wins in the series. After qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather, the 33-year-old owner-driver began the race in 7th, but quickly took the lead within six laps. Busch persisted through a mysterious vibration and a late race red flag for weather and won both stages in addition to taking the checkered flag for the Ultimate Tailgating 200.
Stage One Recap:
- Qualifying for the Ultimate Tailgating 200 was canceled due to inclement weather and the field was set by the rule book, meaning that Kyle Busch began the race in the 7th position.
- Busch made his way to the lead within the first six laps, passing multiple trucks at a time.
- As caution fell for the first time on lap 17, Busch reported that his Tundra was tight off the corner, and the balance was good.
- Busch earned the stage win, and reported that his Tundra was really tight at the top of the racing surface. Crew chief Rudy Fugle brought him to pit road following the stage for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
Stage Two Recap:
- Busch began the second stage in the fourth position, but soon reported a vibration. Regardless, he made his way back to the lead. A caution fell on lap 54 for debris, and Fugle was able to bring Busch to pit road, where the crew investigated and found nothing specifically wrong.
- Busch restarted in the 24th position, and regained the top-10 within two laps, the top-five within five laps and retook the lead on lap 78, with two laps to go in the stage.
- Fugle was also able to make an adjustment for a tight handling condition.
- Busch picked up the second stage win, and returned to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel.
Stage Three Recap:
- The team owner-driver started the final 51-lap stage in the first position, and after losing the lead briefly to a hard-charging Johnny Sauter, never looked back, leading a total of 92 laps of the 130-lap race.
- Busch held off his young teammate Harrison Burton for a late race restart as rain began to fall and earned his 52nd win in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. This was his fifth win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and his first in a KBM Tundra.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Cessna Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
You said you wanted the all-time wins record last year. How sweet is it to be able to check that box?
“It was certainly a big deal for me and a big deal for our team. Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and these guys, they prepare some awesome trucks as do (Mike) Hillman (Jr.) and Marcus (Richmond). Certainly it’s a lot of fun to be able to come out here and race with my own team and to have Cessna as well as Toyota and TRD support and everybody that gets us to the track. To be able to go chase after records, that’s not what we’re here to do. We’re just here to go out there and compete and win and do what we can and obviously everything that has tallied up over the years is getting us to this point. We just continue to strive to do our best and today it was really really good. The Tundra was awesome. It was flying out there so it felt really good and nice to be able to get it in the first start and to hopefully be able to go five for five this year. That’s what your ultimate goal is, but we’ll see what all we can get done.”
Why are you so good at these restarts where you can just blow by them like a video game?
“I don’t know. I really don’t. I know last year (Brett) Moffitt was really good. Him and I we battled at Vegas the whole race and he was really good there. He was a guy that I had to race with to try to beat for the win. I didn’t see him tonight much and then of course Johnny (Sauter) is one of the best here each and every year in this season. Now, being back at ThorSport Racing, I thought that would kind of hinder him a little bit, but there he was tonight all night long being right there in second place and leading some. He passed us for the lead. Really I hope it works for me on the Cup side as well too because those Cup cars drive a lot like these trucks and we’ll see how that happens and what we can do to make myself perform on Sundays.”
Ultimate Tailgating 200 Recap:
- Kyle Busch won the race for his record 52nd NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win and 195th win in NASCAR’s top three divisions, followed by Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger, Brett Moffit and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured six cautions for 30 laps and 10 lead changes among eight drivers. Busch led 92 laps, and teammate Harrison Burton led one time for one lap.
How Busch’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 9th
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 8th
NGOTS Driver Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team leaves the second race of the season ranked third in the Truck Series Owner’s Championship Standings, eight points out of first.
Team owner Kyle Busch will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Cessna Tundra when the Truck Series returns to action Friday, March 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. Live coverage of the Strat 200 begins at 9:00 p.m. EST on FS1.