Kyle Busch starts Truck race ticked-off, only to end up in victory lane at Chicagoland

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JOLIET, Ill. – A ticked-off Kyle Busch is the most dangerous kind of Kyle Busch.

Busch was visibly dejected after dominating and then losing to Kevin Harvick in Saturday afternoon’s Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

What better way for Busch to get rid of that dejection than to dominate and win the second half of a rare doubleheader, capturing the Lucas Oil 225 Camping World Truck Series race.

“I just told him you have to let it go,” said Eric Phillips, Busch’s NCWTS crew chief. “We’re both so competitive. I wanted to talk to him, wanted to make sure he cleared his mind and we had a job to do.”

It was Busch’s sixth win in eight starts on the Truck circuit this season and the 41st Truck win of his career. It’s also the ninth win this season for Kyle Busch Motorsports and his fourth career Truck triumph at Chicagoland Speedway.

“It was fun for us and this 51 Tundra was awesome for us,” Busch said. “This doesn’t make our (NNS) loss any sweeter, no, because we could have had two and gotten three tomorrow.

“But maybe we can still win two of three tomorrow (in Sunday’s opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup).”

Busch will start the MyAFibStory.com 400 from the pole position, earning that spot after Friday’s Sprint Cup Series qualifying session was rained out.

What made Busch’s accomplishment all the more remarkable is he started the race from the back of the field. He passed 59 lead-lap trucks en route to the win, leading 66 of the event’s 150 laps.

“This is a true testament to where this team has come from this year,” Busch said. “It’s a good win for us.”

Matt Crafton led 14 laps but finished second to Busch for the sixth time this season.

“I’m tired of finishing second to him (Busch),” Crafton said with a laugh. “That 51 truck was great. But our truck, we just needed a little bit more.”

Even with the runner-up finish, Crafton regained the Camping World Truck Series standings lead by five points over former points leader Johnny Sauter with seven races left.

Austin Dillon led the second-most number of laps (28) and finished third. Rookie Tyler Reddick was fourth, followed by Jeb Burton in fifth.

Busch’s teammate, Darrell Wallace Jr., finished sixth, followed by rookie Ben Kennedy, Joey Coulter, Joe Nemechek and Bryan Silas.

Tyler Young was 11th, followed by Ryan Blaney, Brennan Newberry, Johnny Sauter, John Wes Townley, Mason Mingus, Timothy Peters, Ray Black Jr., German Quiroga and Todd Peck.

Jennifer Jo Cobb was 21st, followed by Justin Jennings, Tayler Malsam, Michael Affarano, Todd Shafer, TJ Bell, Norm Benning, Caleb Roark, Scott Stenzel, Adam Edwards, Ted Minor and Mike Harmon.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

April 5 in Motorsports History: Alex Zanardi’s amazing Long Beach rally

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Alex Zanardi entered the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 5, 1998 as the race’s defending champion and the series’ defending champion.

But the Italian didn’t seem a serious contender for much of the 105-lap event. Zanardi started 11th position and lost a lap early when he was involved in a multicar spin in the hairpin.

Alex Zanardi celebrates after winning the 1998 Grand Prix of Long Beach. Photo: Getty Images

But the race was still young, and despite emerging from the incident in 18th place, Zanardi slowly progressed through the field while battling radio problems that made communication difficult with his team.

With five laps remaining, Zanardi passed Dario Franchitti on the backstretch for second place and then focused in on leader Bryan Herta.

With two laps remaining, Zanardi made his move, making a daring pass on the inside of Herta in the Queen’s Hairpin (which no longer exists as the track layout was changed the following year).

The move was reminiscent of Zanardi’s famous last-lap move on the inside of Laguna Seca’s famed Corkscrew in 1996, which deprived Herta of his first CART victory.

Franchitti passed Herta as well, and Zanardi went on to clinch his first victory of the season.

“On a day when everything went wrong, we came back and won,” Zanardi said following the race. “I can’t explain it. It wasn’t until I saw Bryan ahead of me that I ever thought I had a shot at winning. It was amazing. I have no words to describe it.”

Following Long Beach, Zanadri won six more times in 1998 en route to his second and final CART championship.

Also on this date:

1992: Bobby Rahal led from start to finish to win the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The win was the first of four victories for Rahal during his championship season.

2009: Ryan Briscoe won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first of three victories for the Aussie in 2009. The race was also the first IndyCar Series on Versus, which was rebranded as NBC Sports Network in 2012.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994