Kyle Busch Dominates Friday Night’s Strat 200, Main Takeaways

LAS VEGAS, NV — Kyle Busch was untouchable Friday night. In the second race of the 2020 NASCAR Truck Series season but first start for Busch, the home town hero dominated the Strat 200 en route to his 57th career win in the series and third straight in the spring race.

Busch, led a race-high 108 of 134 laps run in beating pole sitter Johnny Sauter by 5.958-seconds. The only challenge he had all night was by Sheldon Creed on restarts, but Busch eventually would prevail as he’d lead the final 37 laps in scoring his seventh straight Truck Series win and 10th consecutive top 10 finish in Truck Series competition.

The Las Vegas native is 2-for-2 this weekend with Rowdy reaching victory lane in a late model race on the Bullring next door. He’s now won nine of his last 11 Truck Series starts and also has scored 11 top two finishes in his last 12 tries.

In Vegas, Busch has three wins in four Truck starts to go along with four top two finishes in his last six Xfinity Series races too.

Sauter, would bring his No. 13 Ford home runner-up for his third top five in his last five Vegas tries. The Wisconsin native also has six top 10 finishes in his last seven tries on the 1.5-mile track overall. He led eight laps on the night.

Austin Hill was third in his No. 16 Toyota for his second straight top 10 in Vegas after scoring finishes of 10th, 23rd and 30th respectively in his first three tries.

Matt Crafton came from the back to finish fourth in his No. 88 Ford while his Thorsport Racing teammate on Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five in his No. 99 Ford.

Kyle Busch Motorsports Full Time Drivers Start Quick, Make Mistakes In End

Kyle Busch grew frustrated by his drivers in the Truck Series last year. There’s a reason why neither are back in 2020. Yes, Harrison Burton graduated to an Xfinity Series ride for the year, but Todd Gilliland wasn’t offered a return.

Neither Burton nor Gilliland made the playoffs a year ago after going winless in the regular season. Meanwhile, Busch went 5-for-5 himself while Greg Biffle won his lone start in Texas.

Busch, knows that the Trucks are capable of winning anytime, any place, anywhere.

Through two races in 2020, he can’t be too thrilled with his two rookie drivers thus far.

Both Christian Eckes and Raphael Lessard have been great in the first two stages of both races, but both were collected in incidents the last two weeks in the final stage.

On Friday night, Eckes finished second to Busch in both stages and even led 10 laps on Friday night, but he made a mistake and got into the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on Lap 73. The right side damage forced him to a 23rd place finish in his No. 18 Toyota. He came home 22nd last week.

Lessard, was sixth in stage 1 and eighth in the second stage but he too brought out a caution in the final stage for crashing with Grant Enfinger on Lap 89. The only two cautions over the final stage were for the KBM rookies.

Lessard, would finish 30th. He was 20th last week.

They now sit 14th (Lessard) and 16th (Eckes) in the standings, -3 and -4 in the playoffs.

It’s early, but 2020 is already looking like 2019 for KBM.

Thorsport Shines

Thorsport looks like the team to beat for the 2020 championship already. On Friday night, they placed three of their four drivers inside of the top five in the Strat 200.

Sauter, earned the pole and finished second. Crafton, came from the back to finish fourth. He now has three top five finishes in his last four Vegas starts including seven top 10’s over the last nine.

Rhodes, brought his truck home fifth despite right side damage for his fifth top eight finish over his last six starts in the desert.

Throw in Grant Enfinger’s win at Daytona and you can see this is the team to beat so far.

Creed Fades In The End

Sheldon Creed was the only one to challenge Busch for the win on Friday night. He led eight of the 134 laps and battled Busch for the lead a couple of times in the closing laps, but his truck got too loose for him to seriously contend on the long run.

On Lap 100, Creed was battling Busch for the lead. He narrowly crashed in doing so. His truck got so loose, he went from P2 to P5 in the span of 1.5-miles. 19 laps later, he was eighth. In the end, Creed would have to settle for a 10th place finish.

The GMS Racing driver was ninth last week in Daytona, but he needs to find the right balance for the end.

Friesen Has Been Absent

Stewart Friesen upgraded this past offseason. He went from Chevrolet power to an alliance with Kyle Busch Motorsports and Toyota for 2020. There’s not a better team to be aligned with.

Unfortunately, Friesen has been anything but a contender so far this year. The Canadian, was 21st in the season opener last Friday night in Daytona and only ninth this week in Vegas. That ninth was a quiet one as he struggled with his No. 52 Toyota all day. He never was a factor.

Friesen, had 12 top five finishes in 23 starts last year. He’s 0-for-2 in 2020.

Strat 200 Results

  1. 51 Busch
  2. 13 Sauter
  3. 16 Hill
  4. 88 Crafton
  5. 99 Rhodes
  6. 21 Smith R
  7. 38 Gilliland
  8. 15 Gray R
  9. 52 Friesen
  10.  2 Creed
  11. 26 Ankrum
  12. 11 Davis
  13. 45 Majeski R
  14. 40 Chastain
  15. 30 Poole
  16. 23 Moffitt
  17. 22 Self
  18.  9 Rohrbaugh
  19. 02 Fogleman R -1
  20.  3 Anderson -2
  21. 44 Decker -2
  22. 19 Kraus R -3
  23. 18 Eckes R -4
  24. 00 Ruch -4
  25. 20 Boyd -5
  26. 04 Roper -6
  27. 33 Reaume -8
  28. 56 Hill OUT
  29. 83 Parsons -22
  30.  4 Lessard R OUT
  31. 98 Enfinger OUT
  32. 34 Bilicki OUT

 

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