Kyle Busch capitalizes in final Truck Series start with a victory at Sonoma

Kyle Busch made the most of his final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start of the season by winning the inaugural DoorDash 250 at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, June 11, following a two-lap shootout to the finish.

The two-time Cup Series champion from Las Vegas, Nevada, led four times for a race-high 45 of 75 laps and was able to pull away from teammate Chandler Smith at the start of a two-lap shootout to the finish and beating Zane Smith by more than a second to record his first Truck Series victory of the 2022 season at Sonoma, California.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, Carson Hocevar, who was still recovering from his final lap accident at Gateway from a week ago, notched his first pole position after clocking in a fast lap at 91.135 mph in 78.609 seconds. During his pole-winning lap, however, Hocevar got loose and smacked the wall in Turn 10. The incident along with unapproved adjustments forced Hocevar to start the event at the rear of the field in a backup truck along with Stefan Parsons. With Hocevar dropping to the rear of the field, teammate Ross Chastain, who was making his 100th Truck Series career start, and Kyle Busch occupied the front row, with Chastain’s qualifying time occurring at 90.492 mph in 79.167 seconds while Busch’s was at 90.428 mph in 79.223 seconds.

When the green flag waved and the race started, Chastain rocketed with the lead follows by Kyle Busch as the field battled dead even through the first three turns and entering the return of the Chute corner through Turns 4 to 7. Through Turns 8 through 11 and when the field returned to the start/finish line, Chastain led the first lap while Ty Majeski challenged Busch for the runner-up spot ahead of Tyler Ankrum and Alex Bowman.

Through the first five laps of the event, Chastain was leading by nearly three seconds over Kyle Busch followed by Majeski, Bowman and Ankrum while John Hunter Nemechek, Stewart Friesen, Parker Kligerman and Matt DiBenedetto were in the top 10. Austin Dillon was in 11th followed by Zane Smith, Hailie Deegan, Christian Eckes and Derek Kraus while Ben Rhodes, Chandler Smith, Kaz Grala, Lawless Alan and Timmy Hill occupied the top 20.

On the following lap, Friesen spun after locking up his front tires and slipping sideways while battling Kligerman in the top 10 in Turn 7. The race, however, proceeded under green as Chastain continued to lead by two seconds over Kyle Busch. 

At the Lap 10 mark, Chastain remained as the leader by less than two seconds over Kyle Busch while Majeski, Bowman and Ankrum remained in the top five. Meanwhile, Carson Hocevar, who started at the rear of the field while battling a broken right tibia, was up in 23rd place as he had Daniel Suarez on standby to relieve him.

The following lap, Hocevar pitted and the driver swap occurred as Suarez hopped into the No. 42 Worldwide Express Chevrolet Silverado RST. By then, Stefan Parsons took his truck to the garage after he was trailing smoke. The switch, however, cost the No. 42 team two laps while Chastain retained the lead by one-and-a-half seconds over Busch.

Just past the Lap 15 mark, Chastain stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Kyle Busch followed by Majeski, Bowman and Ankrum while Nemechek, Enfinger, Kligerman, DiBenedetto and Zane Smith were in the top 10.

Shortly after, Friesen pitted his No. 52 Halmar Toyota Tundra TRD Pro followed by the leader Chastain as Kyle Busch moved into the lead. Harrison Burton also pitted. Then with the field approaching the final two laps of the first stage, Kyle Busch pitted his No. 51 Yahoo! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro along with Bowman while Majeski moved into the lead. 

When the first stage concluded on Lap 20, Majeski claimed his first stage victory of the season after fending off a last-lap challenge from Ankrum. Nemechek settled in third place followed by Enfinger, Kligerman, DiBenedetto, Derek Kraus, Zane Smith, Austin Dillon and Hailie Deegan. 

Under the stage break, a majority of the field led by Majeski pitted while the rest led by Chastain remained on the track. During the pit stops, Harrison Burton reported being down a cylinder despite continuing. Following the pit stops, Deegan was penalized for an equipment going over the wall early along with Kris Wright and DiBenedetto, both of whom were penalized for an uncontrolled tire violation. Tanner Gray was also penalized for equipment being thrown from his pit box while Todd Bodine was penalized for speeding on pit road. Meanwhile, Suarez cycled his way to be only a lap behind the leaders.

The second stage started on Lap 25 as Chastain and Kyle Busch occupied the front row. At the start, Chastain cleared Busch and the field from the outside lane to retain the lead entering the first two turns. Then in Turn 7, Enfinger, who was in the top 10, locked up his front tires, ran over the curb and spun in the middle of the field. With the field scrambling to avoid hitting Enfinger, the race proceeded under green as Enfinger continued without sustaining any damage. 

Back at the front, Kyle Busch moved into the lead after overtaking Chastain in Turn 11 while Bowman was in third place ahead of Ankrum and Friesen. During the following lap, the caution returned when Christian Eckes, who was the fastest during Friday’s practice session, made contact with Nemechek as he spun and hit the wall in Turn 8. The caution cycled Suarez to the lead lap.

When the race proceeded under green on Lap 30, Kyle Busch pulled ahead of Chastain and the field to lead through the first two turns and entering Turns 3 and 3A. Through the 11-turn circuit and back to the start/finish line, Busch remained the leader despite having Chastain close behind in his rearview mirror. Behind, Ankrum was in third ahead of Bowman and Majeski while Friesen and Ben Rhodes battled for sixth place. Kligerman was in eighth while Kraus and Nemechek were in the top 10.

By Lap 35, Kyle Busch continued to lead by nearly two seconds over Chastain followed by Ankrum, Bowman and Majeski while Friesen, Rhodes, Chandler Smith and Kraus were in the top 10. Not long after, Kraus surrendered his spot in 10th place to pit as Zane Smith moved into the top 10. 

Two laps later, Matt Crafton spun his No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra TRD Pro in Turn 8 after getting hit by Todd Bodine, who locked up his front tires prior to entering the corner.

Through Lap 40 and with the event surpassing its halfway mark, Kyle Busch stabilized his advantage to more than three seconds over Chastain, who had Ankrum pressuring him for the runner-up spot while Bowman and Majeski were scored in the top five.

Two laps later, a handful of competitors led by Zane Smith pitted under green while Kyle Busch continued to lead. Another lap later, however, Busch surrendered the lead to pit followed by Ankrum, Bowman, Chastain, Majeski and Kligerman while Ben Rhodes moved into the lead.

When the second stage concluded on Lap 45, Rhodes claimed his eighth stage victory of the season. Chandler Smith settled in second followed by Chase Purdy, Kaz Grala, Austin Dillon, Suarez, Timmy Hill, Dean Thompson, Deegan and Bodine.

Under the stage break, some led by Rhodes pitted while the rest led by Kyle Busch remained on the track.

With 26 laps remaining, the final stage started as Kyle Busch and Chastain occupied the front row. At the start, Kyle Busch fended off Chastain to lead through the first two turns while the field scrambled and jostled for positions entering Turns 3, 4 and 7. Back to the start/finish line, Busch was leading by a tenth of a second over Chastain while Majeski, Bowman, Friesen, Kligerman, Zane Smith, Nemechek, Tanner Gray and DiBenedetto were in the top 10.

Five laps later, Bodine spun his No. 62 Camping World Toyota Tundra TRD Pro in front of Dean Thompsons entering Turn 3. The race, however, continued under green as Kyle Busch remained the leader by less than a second over Chastain.

Down to the final 20 laps of the event, Kyle Busch stabilized his advantage to nearly a second over Chastain while Majeski, Bowman and Kligerman were in the top five. Way behind the leaders, Crafton pitted as smoke was lightly billowing out of his No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, an issue that started through the esses and was enough to have his truck pushed behind the wall.

With 15 laps remaining, Kyle Busch was leading by less than two seconds over Chastain. Behind, Bowman was in third place, trailing by more than three seconds, while Majeski and Kligerman were in the top five. Just then, the caution flew when DiBenedetto, who was making a move beneath Friesen for 10th place entering Turn 11, ran into the tire barrier and into Friesen with both spinning in the turn as a tire barrier was knocked on its side.

During the caution period, nearly the entire field led by Kyle Busch pitted as Busch exited first followed by Chastain, Majeski, Bowman, Chandler Smith and Nemechek. Back on the track, however, Rhodes, who did not pit, remained on the track and assumed the lead along with Kraus and Chase Purdy, both of whom did not pit. Following the pit stops, Bowman was penalized for equipment interference.

Down to the final 11 laps of the event, the race restarted under green. At the start, Rhodes took off with the lead through the first two turns while Kyle Busch battled and overtook Kraus for the runner-up spot while on fresh tires. As the field jostled for positions, Rhodes locked up his front tires and Kraus got turned and spun in Turn 7 as Kyle Busch reassumed the lead. 

Then during the following lap, the caution returned when Deegan blew a right-rear tire, slipped sideways and smacked the wall entering Turn 1, thus sustaining significant right-side and rear-end damage to her No. 1 Monster Energy Ford F-150.

With seven laps remaining, the race proceeded under green. At the start, Kyle Busch rocketed with the lead as teammate Chandler Smith moved his No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra TRD Pro into the runner-up spot through the first two turns. Through Turns 3 and 3A, Rhodes went off the course and reported a flat tire as the field continued to jostle for positions under green. 

Two laps later, Kyle Busch was leading by six-tenths of a second over teammate Chandler Smith. Behind, Zane Smith overtook Majeski to move into third while Chastain was in fifth ahead of Kligerman and Suarez. Shortly after, the caution flew for a heavy wreck entering Turn 1 that started when Friesen got Josh Bilicki sideways as Bilicki clipped the inside wall before he smacked the outside wall hard along with Friesen. In the process, Bowman and Lawless Alan sustained damage to their respective trucks after getting into Bilicki. The incident was enough for the event to be drawn into a red flag period for nearly 13 minutes.

When the red flag lifted and the race restarted for a two-lap shootout, Kyle Busch cleared the field and retained the lead while teammate Chandler Smith fended off Zane Smith to retain second place. Through Turn 7, Zane Smith move his No. 38 CMR Ford F-150 into the runner-up spot ahead of Chandler Smith while Busch continued to lead.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Kyle Busch was leading by more than a second over Zane Smith and more than two seconds over teammate Chandler Smith as the field jostled for positions. Behind, Dean Thompson spun, but the race remained under green flag conditions. With Zane Smith unable to mount a challenge for the final time through the 11-turn circuit, Kyle Busch navigated his way back to the finish line for his first checkered flag of the season.

With the victory, Kyle Busch, who is a two-time Cup winner at Sonoma, notched his 62nd career win in the Camping World Truck Series and his first victory on a road course circuit in the Truck Series. The victory also extended Busch’s current winning streak in the Truck Series to 10 consecutive seasons with this season marking his 17th Truck season with at least one victory.

“I appreciate Yahoo! and everybody that has made this partnership possible with Toyota and [Toyota Racing Development],” Busch said on FS1. “This Tundra TRD Pro was awesome today. I’m really proud to drive it. We had a struggle at Charlotte a couple weeks ago, but today was really good. Awesome adjustments by [crew chief] Mardy [Lindley] and all the guys here to get us in position to be able to win today. Yesterday was ugly. I wasn’t sure about it. I didn’t feel good about the truck, but they worked on it all night long and we made some brake changes. We made some chassis changes and these guys never stop. As hard as it might seem sometimes, I know the efforts there. Super effort here. Ready to go celebrate.” 

Zane Smith settled in second place for his sixth top-five result of the season followed by Ty Majeski, who notched his fifth top-five result of the 2022 season. Chastain came home in fourth place while Chandler Smith fell back to fifth place.

“[The day] didn’t start out too good,” Zane Smith said. “Took a huge swing at our MRC Ford Performance F-150. Luckily, it went the right way. It’s really hard to do in a racing situation, so props to my team, but I hate finishing second. Especially to [Kyle Busch]. I feel like just racing with [Chandler Smith], he got out too far out front and I think that last lap was the fastest lap of the race for me. I just wished I was a little closer so I had a shot at him.”

Suarez earned a strong sixth-place effort while subbing for the injured Carson Hocevar while Kligerman, Nemechek, Ankrum and DiBenedetto finished in the top 10. Jack Wood was the highest-finishing rookie competitor in 16th place.

“[Today] was busy, man,” Suarez said. “It was very busy. I was hoping to go one lap down, but when we went two laps down, I was like, ‘Man, it’s gonna be a long recovery’. I was hoping to recover quicker on that, but the truck had speed. I was hoping for long runs so I can be able to make some ground, but overall, the team did a very good job. Very thankful I was able to help. We were able to get some stage points in stage number 2 and then finish in the top six. That was a pretty decent day. I wished we could have won. The truck was capable of winning the race, but we just ran out of time.”

There were 10 lead changes for five different leaders. The race featured six cautions for 17 laps. A total of 26 of 36 starters finished on the lead lap.

With four races remaining of the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season stretch, Ben Rhodes leads the regular-season standings by five points over Chandler Smith, 12 over Zane Smith, 14 over John Hunter Nemechek. 45 over Ty Majeski and 47 over Stewart Friesen.

Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes, John Hunter Nemechek, Chandler Smith and Stewart Friesen are tentatively locked into the 2022 Truck Playoffs based on winning at least once throughout the season while Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton are above the top-10 cutline based on points. Tanner Gray trails the top-10 cutline by 33 points, Matt DiBenedetto trails by 36, Derek Kraus trails by 39, Tyler Ankrum trails by 50 and Chase Purdy trails by 91.

Results.

1. Kyle Busch, 45 laps led

2. Zane Smith

3. Ty Majeski, four laps led, Stage 1 winner

4. Ross Chastain, 19 laps led

5. Chandler Smith

6. Carson Hocevar (*subbed by Daniel Suarez)

7. Parker Kligerman

8. John Hunter Nemechek

9. Tyler Ankrum

10. Matt DiBenedetto

11. Grant Enfinger, one lap led

12. Harrison Burton

13. Tanner Gray

14. Kaz Grala

15. Chase Purdy

16. Jack Wood

17. Austin Dillon

18. Ben Rhodes, six laps led, Stage 2 winner

19. Colby Howard

20. Todd Bodine

21. Blaine Perkins

22. Brad Perez

23. Spencer Boyd

24. Dean Thompson

25. Lawless Alan

26. Kris Wright

27. Derek Kraus, one lap down

28. Timmy Hill, two laps down

29. Alex Bowman – OUT, Accident

30. Josh Bilicki – OUT, Accident

31. Stewart Friesen – OUT, Accident

32. Hailie Deegan – OUT, Accident

33.  Jade Buford – OUT, Transmission

34. Matt Crafton – OUT, Transmission

35. Christian Eckes – OUT, Accident

36. Stefan Parsons – OUT, Oil cooler

Next on the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule is Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway for the second annual running of the Clean Harbor 150. The event is scheduled to occur on Saturday, June 18, at 9 p.m. ET on FS1.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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