Kyle Busch fends off Heim for record-tying sixth Truck victory at Texas

With a bevy of young guns squaring off and pounding against him through a series of late-race restarts, Kyle Busch had enough horsepower to fend off all of the youngsters’ challengers, including protege Corey Heim on the final lap, to score a big NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory in the 250 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 12. 

The two-time Cup Series champion from Las Vegas, Nevada, led a race-high 112 of 167 scheduled laps in an event where he started in fourth place and swept both stage periods. After cycling his way back into the lead during an extensive caution period starting with 37 laps remaining that interrupted a late green-flag pit stop sequence and prior to a restart period with 26 laps remaining, Busch would then be challenged by a bevy of young challengers that included Heim, Nick Sanchez and Christian Eckes during two late-race restarts. Despite losing the lead to Eckes during the final restart with 10 laps remaining, Busch would reassume the top spot two laps later and then fend off a late charge from Heim to clinch his second Truck victory of the 2024 season and his record-tying sixth at Texas.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Friday, Nick Sanchez notched his first Truck pole position of the 2024 season after posting a pole-winning lap at 184.811 mph in 29.219 seconds. Joining him on the front row was Christian Eckes, who clocked in the second-fastest qualifying lap at 184.363 mph in 29.290 seconds. 

Prior to the event, Tyler Ankrum and Tanner Gray dropped to the rear of the field in backup trucks after both wrecked their respective primary trucks separately during the event’s practice session earlier in the day. Rajah Caruth, Bret Holmes and Memphis Villarreal also dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments made to their respective entries. 

When the green flag waved and the race started, Nick Sanchez and Christian Eckes battled for the lead through the first two turns and the backstretch until Sanchez managed to muscle his No. 2 Gainbridge Chevrolet Silverado RST ahead on the inside lane through Turns 3 and 4, where he would lead the first lap. 

Just past the first lap, the event’s first caution flew after rookie Thad Moffitt, who was running outside of the top 20, went up the track through Turns 1 and 2. Despite avoiding the outside wall, Moffitt then tried to steer his truck to the left to regain his momentum, where he just missed hitting Kris Wright before he collided with Tyler Ankrum. Memphis Villarreal was also involved as Moffitt’s damaged truck spun back across the track in the backstretch, thus knocking Ankrum, Moffitt and Villarreal out of the competition. 

As the event restarted under green on the eighth lap, Sanchez and Eckes battled dead even for the lead through the first two turns as the field fanned out entering the backstretch. Through the following two turns and back to the frontstretch, Sanchez again muscled ahead to retain the lead from Eckes while Stewart Friesen and Kyle Busch battled for third in front of Daniel Dye, Grant Enfinger and rookie Layne Riggs. 

Three laps later, the caution returned after Rajah Caruth, who barely dodged the event’s multi-truck incident on the first lap, spun his No. 71 Chevrolet Silverado RST through Turn 2, but he was able to keep his truck from hitting the outside wall as he proceeded without any damage. During the caution period, a handful of competitors including Caruth and Bayley Currey pitted while the rest led by Sanchez remained on the track. 

During the following restart on Lap 16, Eckes received a strong push from Busch on the outside lane to assume the lead just past the frontstretch and he would retain the top spot through the backstretch and during the proceeding lap while Busch proceeded to battle Sanchez for the runner-up spot. With Sanchez and Busch battling for the runner-up spot in front of Friesen and Zane Smith, Eckes retained the lead in his No. 19 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST just past the Lap 20 mark. 

Through the first 25 scheduled laps, Eckes was leading over Sanchez followed by Busch, Zane Smith and Daniel Dyle while Friesen, Layne Riggs, Enfinger, Corey Heim and Taylor Gray were running in the top 10. Behind, Dean Thompson occupied 11th place in front of Matt Crafton, Chase Purdy, Johnny Sauter and Ty Majeski while Jake Garcia, Stefan Parsons, Ben Rhodes, Connor Jones and Lawless Alan were racing in the top 20 ahead of Bret Holmes, Matt Mills, Bayley Currey, Ty Dillon and Tanner Gray. 

Ten laps later, Eckes retained the lead by four-tenths of a second over a hard-charging Busch while third-place Sanchez trailed by eight-tenths of a second. Behind, Zane Smith and Dye were running fourth and fifth, respectively, while Friesen trailed in sixth by five seconds along with Riggs, Enfinger, Heim and Taylor Gray. 

When the first stage period concluded on Lap 40, Kyle Busch, who assumed the lead from Eckes two laps earlier, proceeded to capture his fourth Truck stage victory of the 2024 season. Eckes settled in second ahead of Sanchez, Zane Smith and Friesen while Dye, Riggs, Enfinger, Heim and Taylor Gray were scored in the top 10. 

Under the stage break, the entire field led by Busch pitted for service. Following the pit stops, Busch retained the lead after he exited first followed by Eckes, Sanchez, Taylor Gray, Heim and Matt Mills. 

The second stage period started on Lap 46 as Busch and Eckes occupied the front row. At the start, Busch, who restarted on the inside lane, retained the lead while Heim overtook Eckes to claim the runner-up spot amid a brief three-wide battle that also involved Sanchez. As a series of battles within the field ensued, where even four-wide action occurred, Heim started to challenge Busch for the lead, where he would draw his No. 11 Safelite Toyota Tundra TRD Pro dead even against Busch’s No. 7 Realtree Chevrolet Silverado RST nearing the Lap 50 mark, before Busch retained the top spot ahead of Heim as Sanchez tried to join the battle. 

At the Lap 55 mark, Busch was leading by six-tenths of a second over Heim followed by Sanchez, Eckes and Taylor Gray while Zane Smith, Dye, Enfinger, Riggs and Matt Crafton followed suit in the top 10. Busch would proceed to extend his advantage to more than a second over Heim and by more than two seconds over Sanchez by Lap 60 while Eckes and Taylor Gray continued to run in the top five. 

By Lap 70, Busch continued to extend his advantage as he was leading by more than two seconds over Heim while third-place Sanchez also trailed by more than two seconds. Behind, Eckes continued to run in fourth place as he trailed the lead by three seconds while Taylor Gray occupied fifth place as he trailed the lead in his No. 17 JBL Toyota Tundra TRD Pro by nearly five seconds. As Zane Smith, Riggs, Dye, Enfinger and Sauter occupied the top-10 spots on the track, Busch would stabilize his advantage to two seconds by Lap 75 while Sanchez and Eckes overtook Heim for second and third. 

When the second stage period concluded on Lap 80, Busch captured his second consecutive Truck stage victory of the night and the fifth of his part-time campaign after stabilizing his lead to more than two seconds. Sanchez and Eckes followed suit in second and third, respectively, along with Heim and Taylor Gray while Riggs, Zane Smith, Dye, Enfinger and Sauter were scored in the top 10. 

During the stage break, the lead lap field led by Busch returned to pit road for service. Following the pit stops, Busch retained the lead after exiting pit road first while Taylor Gray, Eckes, Sanchez and Heim followed suit in the top five. 

With 81 laps remaining, the final stage period commenced under green as Busch and Taylor Gray occupied the front row. At the start, Busch and Gray battled dead even for the lead in front of Eckes and Sanchez before Busch muscled ahead from the inside lane through the first two lanes. With Busch leading, Eckes would follow suit in second place before Heim would assume the spot shortly after. Eckes would then return the favor with 80 laps remaining as he would reclaim the runner-up spot while Sanchez was in fourth ahead of Taylor Gray, who dropped to fifth in front of Enfinger, Riggs and Ty Majeski. 

With 75 laps remaining, Busch was leading ahead of a tight battle for the runner-up spot between Heim and Eckes while Taylor Gray followed suit in fourth place ahead of Sanchez, Enfinger, Riggs, Zane Smith, Dye and Majeski. Busch would extend his advantage to nearly a second over both Heim and Eckes with less than 70 laps remaining while Sanchez and Taylor Gray trailed by a second in the top five. 

Down to the final 50 laps of the event, Busch, who was mired in lapped traffic, stabilized his advantage to more than a second over Eckes while Sanchez, Heim and Taylor Gray trailed by within four seconds in the top five on the track. A lap later, Johnny Sauter pitted his Niece Motorsports entry under green. Chase Purdy would pit his Spire Motorsports entry a few laps later along with Daniel Dye before Sanchez pitted with 46 laps remaining along with Grant Enfinger.  

Starting with 45 laps remaining, more names that included Heim, Majeski, Taylor Gray, Bayley Currey and Dean Thompson pitted under green while Busch, who was among multiple names who have yet to pit, continued to lead ahead of Eckes. Then with 40 laps remaining, Busch surrendered the lead to pit under green. By then, more names that included Crafton, Stefan Parsons, Ben Rhodes and Friesen pitted before Eckes, who assumed the lead, pitted a lap later.  

With 37 laps remaining, the caution flew after Layne Riggs, who pitted on Lap 110 under green due to a right-rear tire issue and was off the lead lap category, spun and slapped his No. 38 Infinity Communications Group Ford F-150 against the outside wall in Turn 2. By then, Zane Smith, who pulled off the track to pit road for service, opted to drive his No. 91 entry through pit road, past his pit stall and back onto the track without pitting as he retained the lead ahead of Busch, Heim, Taylor Gray, Eckes, Sanchez and Lawless Alan, all of whom were scored on the lead lap.  

During the caution period, Zane Smith surrendered the lead to pit while the rest of the field led by Busch remained on the track as Busch cycled back into the lead. In addition, the following drivers including Enfinger, Majeski, Friesen, Daniel Dye, Sauter, Dean Thompson, Crafton and Stefan Parsons took the wave around to cycle back onto the lead lap, thus placing 16 competitors on the lead lap. 

Following an extensive caution period, the race restarted under green with 26 laps remaining as Busch and Heim occupied the front row. At the start, Busch and Heim battled for the lead ahead of Eckes and Taylor Gray before Busch muscled ahead with the lead on the inside lane. Behind, Taylor Gray assumed the runner-up spot as he was battling Eckes to retain the spot while Heim was trying to fend off Sanchez and Zane Smith for fourth place. As Riggs endured another on-track incident while running in the rear of the field, the event remained under green flag conditions.  

Shortly after, the caution returned with 22 laps remaining after Kris Wright, who was piloting TRICON Garage’s No. 1 entry and mired a lap down, made contact with Mason Massey before he spun sideways in between Turns 1 and 2, where he would get hit by Stewart Friesen’s No. 52 Chili’s entry that caused Wright to collide back against the outside wall while Friesen spun sideways. 

Down to the final 17 laps of the event, the field restarted under green, where a three-wide action for the lead ensued between Eckes, Busch and Heim before Eckes and Busch both muscled ahead and battle for the lead themselves while Heim dropped to fourth behind teammate Taylor Gray. Amid the tight battles towards the front, the caution, however, quickly returned when Dean Thompson, who was running 12th, got loose and tapped Enfinger entering Turn 3, thus sending both spinning through the turn as Enfinger backed his truck against the wall and Matt Crafton hit Thompson while trying to avoid the incident while Sauter got loose as he just avoided the incident. At the moment of caution, Eckes was scored the leader ahead of Busch. 

During the following restart with 10 laps remaining, Eckes muscled away from the field with the lead as Busch, who struggled to launch on the outside lane, was left to battle Heim for the runner-up spot through the first two turns. Busch would fend off Heim for the runner-up spot through the backstretch before he ignited his battle with Eckes for the lead during the following two laps. Busch would then overtake Eckes for the lead through the frontstretch with eight laps remaining while Heim, who drafted Busch into the lead, followed suit. Eckes would then go wide entering the backstretch, which allowed Sanchez to assume third place. 

Down to the final five laps of the event, Busch was leading by three-tenths of a second over Heim, who kept Busch within his sights, while third-place Sanchez trailed the lead by half a second. As Eckes and Daniel Dye trailed in the top five, Heim started to close in on Busch for the lead. Despite narrowing the gap to within a tenth of a second on Heim’s side, Busch, who was trying to navigate his way around different lanes around the Texas circuit while trying to break Heim’s draft and pull away, retained the lead over Heim. 

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Busch remained as the leader by a tenth of a second over a hard-charging Heim. Following the first two turns, Heim then closed in on Busch’s rear bumper with momentum and made a brief move on the inside lane before Busch blocked and stalled his momentum. While Heim kept Busch close within his sights and within a tenth of a second, he could not generate another charge to Busch as Busch was able to cycle back to the frontstretch and beat Heim to claim the checkered flag by a tenth of a second. 

With the victory, Busch notched his 66th career win in the Craftsman Truck Series, his sixth in the Lone Star state, which ties him with Todd Bodine for the most series victories at Texas, and his second of the 2024 season, with his first occurring at Atlanta Motor Speedway in late February. He also recorded his second series victory driving for Spire Motorsports and his fourth with veteran crew chief Brian Pattie. 

Tonight’s victory at Texas makes Busch two-for-four in this year’s Truck Series season, where he previously finished 15th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and second at Bristol Motor Speedway in March to coincide with his Atlanta victory. He is scheduled to make his fifth and final Truck start of the 2024 season at Darlington Raceway on May 10. 

“Great team, everybody here at Spire [Motorsports],” Busch said on FS1. “[I] Appreciate [crew chief] Brian Pattie and everybody that was able to work so hard to prepare us a really fast Realtree Silverado. There’s cooler [wins], but [the competition] definitely kept me honest, I’ll give them that. Corey [Heim] kept us honest right there. He started to find that top [lane] over there and to get some momentum over there. I tried it with three [laps] to go. I chattered really bad, so my front just wasn’t working over there. I needed more laps on my tires to be able to get up there to make that work, but he made it. [He] Got to my rear bumper getting into [Turn] 3 and I just kind of was like, ‘I don’t know which way to go.’ So I ran the middle [lane] and darted bottom and then, he slipped up top. So, I guess we had enough of a gap after that.” 

Heim, who won at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, in late March, settled in the runner-up spot for the second time and for his fifth top-three result through seven events on the 2024 schedule. The result also marks his second time finishing in second place on the track behind his former team owner, Kyle Busch.

“I did all I could there, trying to take [Busch] through in the last restart and got the caution, unfortunately, and then just trying to build a run on him,” Heim said. “He’s just too good. He does a really good job. Really happy with our run tonight. To finish second is a good day for us and we’ll build on it and get better.” 

Sanchez, the pole winner, came home in third place while Eckes and Zane Smith finished in the top five. Daniel Dye, Taylor Gray, Tanner Gray, Stefan Parsons and Ty Majeski ended up in the top 10 on the track. 

There were seven lead changes for four different leaders. The race featured seven cautions for 40 laps. In addition, 17 of 34 starters finished on the lead lap. 

Following the seventh event of the 2024 Craftsman Truck Series season, Christian Eckes continues to lead the regular-season standings by two points over Corey Heim, 12 over Ty Majeski, 27 over Nick Sanchez and 38 over Taylor Gray. 


1. Kyle Busch, 112 laps led, Stages 1 & 2 winner 

2. Corey Heim 

3. Nick Sanchez, 16 laps led 

4. Christian Eckes, 31 laps led 

5. Zane Smith, eight laps led 

6. Daniel Dye 

7. Taylor Gray 

8. Tanner Gray 

9. Stefan Parsons 

10. Ty Majeski 

11. Lawless Alan 

12. Rajah Caruth 

13. Stewart Friesen 

14. Bayley Currey 

15. Matt Crafton 

16. Dean Thompson 

17. Johnny Sauter 

18. Connor Jones, one lap down 

19. Jake Garcia, one lap down 

20. Mason Massey, one lap down 

21. Timmy Hill, one lap down 

22. Bret Holmes, one lap down 

23. Ty Dillon, one lap down 

24. Ben Rhodes, two laps down 

25. Chase Purdy, two laps down 

26. Matt Mills, two laps down 

27. Spencer Boyd, five laps down 

28. Keith McGee, eight laps down 

29. Grant Enfinger – OUT, Accident 

30. Kris Wright – OUT, Accident 

31. Layne Riggs – OUT, Accident 

32. Thad Moffitt – OUT, Accident 

33. Memphis Villarreal – OUT, Accident 

34. Tyler Ankrum – OUT, Accident 

Next on the 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule is the Heart of America 200 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. The event is scheduled for May 4 and airs at 8 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


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