Kyle Busch continued Toyota’s domination of Speed Weeks on Friday Night by winning the first official points race of the 2014 season. The Camping World Truck Series got the new season started with The NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway after an hour and half rain delay. Starting positions were determined by practice speeds. Kyle Busch pulled off a last-minute pass coming out of turn four to beat Timothy Peters by .0017 seconds. About 3 1/2 feet.
Kyle Busch and his Toyota Tundra was the last of the Joe Gibbs Racing team to visit Victory Lane as Denny Hamlin won both the Sprint Unlimited last Saturday, and the second Duel 150 Thursday night. Gibbs teammate, Matt Kenseth won the first Duel 150. Kyle runs under Kyle Busch Motorsports in the truck series, but KBM is now a division of Joe Gibbs Racing.
After needing to skip qualifying due to weather problems, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr’s grandson, Ben Kennedy started on the pole, and led the field two-wide affair for most of the early going. Kennedy survived the big wreck, and finished 15th on the evening.
It was our first look at the new trucks in action, and the performance was touch and go. The new bodies that resemble actual showroom trucks looked to be very unstable. There was a lot of side drafting, with the trucks jumping side-to-side down the straights, and especially in the 18 degree banked tri-oval.
It was great two-line racing with the bottom of the track dominating. Small groups tried to pull the train in the outside groove, but was unsuccessful until late in the race.
Getting tired of running in sixth place on the bottom line with laps counting down, Timothy Peters jumped to the outside ahead of the line, and rode the effort to the front. With some help from Ryan Truex, Peters was able to push to the front, and pass leader, Kyle Busch with three laps remaining.
Kyle Busch said he wanted to be in second place when the white flag flew, and wish came true. It was a drag race from turn four, but Busch was able to pull to the outside and nip Peters at the line. Johnny Sauter, Ryan Truex, and veteran, Ron Hornaday rounded out the top five.
It was a very good finish to what was a somewhat boring race. The new trucks performed, and had a big pile up to satisfy fans, but I think NASCAR needs to take a look at the aero package before they go to Talladega later in the year.
Kyle Busch completed the Daytona sweep by finally getting Victory Lane in the truck series on the iconic old track. He has wins in ARCA, Nationwide, and Sprint Cup cars, but this was his first win at Daytona in a truck.
The Camping World Truck Series will take a long break, and get back to work at Martinsville later next month. We will have to see how the new bodies perform at the short, and intermeadiate tracks before we can say the change was a success.
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