Busch now has one more career win at BMS than Darrell Waltrip, who won 12 Sprint Cup races and one Nationwide Series race at the track during his career.
BRISTOL, Tenn. — On lap 1 of the UNOH 200, Kyle Busch’s truck brushed the wall.
On lap 73, he was hit with a pit road speeding penalty and was forced to drop to the back of the field.
With less than 50 laps remaining, he was in 10th place and in danger of being lapped by race leader Timothy Peters.
Then, on lap 200, with the checkered flag waving in the air, Busch somehow edged out Peters to win his fourth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Bristol Motor Speedway. The win was also Busch’s 14th career win in Bristol across NASCAR’s top three touring series, giving him one more than Darrell Waltrip, who won 12 Sprint Cup races and one Nationwide Series race at the track during his career.
After the race, Busch was slightly uncomfortable with the notion of breaking Waltrip’s longstanding record.
“Some might say it’s not breaking anything until you win 12 cup races here,” Busch said. “It’s cool to break that record, per se, but I’d like to be able to win here in 13 Cup races.”
Busch’s latest record came as a result of a tenacious comeback and a few strokes of luck. Busch was racing inside the top five before a caution came out on lap 71, and on his ensuing pit stop, an overanxious move out of his pit box led to a penalty.
That led to a furious charge back through the field, but Busch found himself stalled out in 10th place with time running out. Peters was comfortably ahead of teammates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney when Busch caught his first break on lap 179 when Jeff Agnew wrecked on the frontstretch to bring out the caution flag.
“If the race was going to go green to the end, we were only going to be 10th or 11th and I completely wore the tires off that truck,” Busch said. “That’s why when that caution came out, I said ‘We’re coming.’”
Peters, who grabbed the lead from polesitter Chase Elliott on lap 63 and led a race-high 125 laps, elected to stay out. Nearly everyone on the lead lap pitted behind him, leaving Peters on the outside of the front row and points leader Matt Crafton on his inside for the restart on lap 190.
But when the green flag fell, Peters and Crafton had a hard time getting back up to speed due to fuel pickup issues, leading to a chain-reaction crash that brought out the final caution and allowed Busch to rocket into contention.
“Those guys stumbled on the restart,” Busch said. “The bottom lane just stopped and we went from eighth to second in one corner.”
On the final restart, Busch got past Ryan Blaney in short order to take the lead, but Peters, the defending race winner, had one last charge left in him. Peters got alongside Busch coming out of turn four on the final lap, and the two touched before Peters’ No. 17 machine went spinning over the start/finish line to secure a runner-up finish.
“There at the end, we got a good run off (turn) four, and we were going for it,” Peters said. “It was wreckers or checkers.”
Busch said his position on the outside coming off the final turn left little doubt in his mind that he was going to win the race.
“Coming to the checkered, I knew I had him,” Busch said. “I had the momentum. Then Timothy kind of threw a Hail Mary there and wrecked a pretty good race truck. I hate that for those guys.”
Crafton recovered to finish 10th, keeping his season-long streak of top-10 finishes alive. Crafton left Bristol with a 49-point cushion over James Buescher, who finished seventh. Blaney settled for a third-place finish while Johnny Sauter and Elliott rounded out the top five.
After the race, Blaney was livid with Peters after an incident midway through the race. Blaney was preparing to pass Peters on the high side to take the lead when Peters moved up the track, forcing Blaney’s vehicle into the wall.
“I was running the outside, had a lot of grip up there,” Blaney said. “I know he saw me coming and he drove me all the way to the fence. I don’t like that too much and I’ll definitely remember it.”
Peters shrugged off the incident.
“So what? It’s short track racing,” Peters said. “We ain’t never had any history together. I don’t feel like I’ve got to go down there and talk to him. I didn’t do it purposely, so we’re going to Canada.”