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.
After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.
Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.
Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.
Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.
Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.
After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.
The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.
Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.
It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.
Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.
Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.
Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.
Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.
Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
Max Anstie – E
Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
Haiden Deegan – E
Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
Mitchell Oldenburg – W
Michael Mosiman – E
Jeremy Martin – E
Tom Vialle – E
Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
Chance Hymas – E
Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
Max Vohland – W
Cullin Park – E
Chris Blose – E
Derek Kelley – W
Enzo Lopes – W
Pierce Brown – W
* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.