On a cloudy night, Kyle Busch breezed his way to the win in the inaugural EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway and collected his fourth win of the season.
Busch would win by a margin of .580 seconds over Todd Bodine. It was his 13 career win and he survived two late caution restarts for the win.
Matt Crafton in the No. 88 Menard's/Ideal Doors Chevrolet started on the pole. It was his first pole of the season and his second career pole.
Chad McCumbee in the No. 07 ASI Limited Chevrolet started in the outside pole position, with a truck that Ron Hornaday Jr. previously drove and prepared by Kevin Harvick Inc.
Todd Bodine in the No. 30 Ventrilo Toyota started third, Kyle Busch in the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts/Graceway Pharmacuticals Toyota started fourth, and Rick Crawford in the No. 14 Circle Bar Truck Corral/International Ford started fifth.
At race time it was 67 degrees. 36 trucks started the race with three teams going home, and the pit window was 55 to 60 laps.
From the drop of the green, you had three wide action all over the track and even a attempted four wide pass by Busch.
Crafton would take the green, heading into turn one with a bumper lead on McCumbee but on the back stretch they were side by side and Crafton would get the lead coming back to the stripe.
Meanwhile Bodine, Busch, and Crawford also were racing hard on Lap One, as they were all three side by side and Busch would end up taking third.
On Lap Two, Colin Braun in the No. 6 Con-Way Freight Ford and Brent Sherman in the No. 90 Great Clip Toyota made slight contact coming into turn one and Sherman lost it coming out of turn two spinning.
The first caution flag came out on Lap Three, for Sherman who after spinning, struggled to re-fire the truck. Sherman would be the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner under this caution.
Busch the lap prior to the caution, took second passing McCumbee and was all over Crafton the leaders bumper.
On the Lap Five restart, Crafton would take the green with Busch on his bumper. Busch would attempt a pass on the low-side but wasn't able to make it stick.
Over the next four laps, Crafton the leader and Busch in second would battle it out for the lead. At times they were side by side, even Busch would try low-side in one corner and try the high-side the next corner.
But Crafton would barely hang onto the lead, several laps just by a bumper.
On Lap 11, Busch finally would battle past Crafton on the low-side for the lead and would pull away.
The best racing on Lap 13, was Brian Scott in the No. 16 Albertson's Toyota battling with Crawford for seventh.
Coming back to the stripe Scott would take seventh. He was the fast truck on the track, starting in 12th and picking up five positions to seventh in 13 laps.
After 15 Laps, the top five was: Busch leads by a second, Crafton second, McCumbee third, Bodine fourth and Ron Hornaday Jr. in the No. 33 Turtle Wax Chevrolet was fifth.
The second caution flag came out for debris on Lap 21, as James Buescher in the No. 10 International Maxx Force Diesel Ford lost a tire and left the tread laying in the racing groove.
Buescher came to pit road for new tires. He went a lap down and would need Aaron's Lucky Dog to get back on the lead lap or he might have gotten the chance to race back on the lead lap.
On Lap 22, pit road opened with everyone pitting, making one or two stops for fuel, adjustments and tires.
While a few teams would make two stops for tires and fuel, most just took fuel only and as the race progressed these pit stops played a key role in the outcome of the race.
Norm Benning in the No. 57 NBR Chevrolet would get the Aaron's Luck Dog Award under this caution.
On the Lap 25 restart, Crafton took the green with Hornaday on his bumper, pulled away from Horn who tried to pass on the low-side but was partially blocked by Crafton slowing his momentum.
On Lap 26, Crafton was able to open up a bigger lead, due to Hornaday in second and McCumbee in third battling it out for those positions most of the lap.
But Horn would just hang onto the position coming out of turn four due to McCumbee getting loose.
On Lap 27, McCumbee in third would have Crawford in fourth side by side battling for the position and they would make slight contact, resulting in Crawford, who was up on the high-side, saving it as he got close to bouncing off of the wall and only lost a few positions.
By Lap 29, Busch, who restarted 15th after pit stops, made it back to seventh, soon passing Dennis Setzer in the No. 8 Malcolmson Construction Chevrolet for sixth.
The third caution flag came out on Lap 30 when Scott, who was battling hard in eighth, was trying for seventh against Setzer and also battling a loose truck.
He bounced his right rear off of the sliding into then clip the right front as he spun back into the grass and basically ended his night.
After Thursday's rain, the infield grass was slick resulting in Scott's serve attempts making donuts in the grass before he was able to get out.
Scott would head to the garage. His team was able to make repairs and have him back on track on Lap 62, but he was unable to drive the truck and ran just 10 laps before calling it a night.
He end the night in 28th place and dropped one position in the points to fifth.
Buescher was the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner under this caution.
On the Lap 36 restart, Crafton took the green with Hornaday on his bumper, he never got away from him and coming to the stripe Horn took the lead.
Busch was sixth on the restart, he made up three positions on the lap to be third crossing the stripe and did it with a amazing three-wide pass that only he could pull off.
On Lap 37, Busch would pass Crafton for second, be all over Horns bumper for the lead but wasn't able to make a pass since both were on the low-side.
On Lap 38, Hornaday would get loose having Busch all over his bumper, drifting up to the high-side and losing the lead to Busch on the low-side.
After 44 Laps, the top five was: Busch leading by .501 seconds, Hornaday second, Crafton third, Crawford fourth and McCumbee fifth.
By Lap 50, Busch was flying around the track and widened his lead to 1.510 seconds over Hornaday in second and the rest of the field was three seconds back or worse.
On Lap 51, the best racing was T.J. bell in the No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota in 12th, David Starr in the No. 24 Zachry/Careerbuilders.com/Harris Trucking Toyota in 13th and Ricky Carmichael in the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet in 14th heat it up battling it out for those positions with some great three-wide action.
By Lap 55, Busch lead grew to 1.581 seconds on Hornaday in second and the rest of the field close to four seconds back.
On Lap 56, Jason White in the No. 23 GunBroker.com Dodge in fifth and Bodine in sixth showed the best racing on the track.
White, with his older tires, was able to stay ahead of Bodine with fresher tires.
Also Sauter running in ninth was the fast truck on the track during this lap, nine seconds back of Busch, the leader.
For the next four laps, White (fifth) and Bodine (sixth) would battle it out for those positions, at times side by side and finally at Lap 60 coming back to the stripe Bodine would take fifth.
On Lap 61, Crafton would let his crew know that he was having a vibration in the front end of his Silverado and tried to hang onto it till they would pit.
Braun would also pass White for sixth, He has a fast truck and started reeling in Bodine in fifth.
After 65 Laps, the top five was: Busch leading by two seconds, Hornaday second, Crafton third, McCumbee fourth and Bodine in fifth.
By Lap 71, Busch stretched his lead out further to 2.6 seconds over Hornaday in second and Crafton, due to the vibration, dropped back to eighth.
On Lap 72, Crafton would start the cycle of green flag pit stops to get tires. He came back in for fuel and adjustments, which put him a lap down.
On Lap 75, Busch continued to lead, but White would come to pit road for tires, and he'd be back in for fuel. Then McCumbee also pitted just for fuel, but his crew did check the tires while fueling.
On Lap 77, Hornaday came to pit road, for tires and would have to stop for fuel in a couple of laps.
On Lap 78, Busch continued to lead but Carmichael came to pit road for tires and Skinner also stopped for fuel only.
On Lap 79, Crafton made another fuel stop.
On Lap 80, Busch the leader came to pit road for fuel only and since he pitted for tires on Lap 24 there was no need for further adjustments.
On Lap 81, Hornaday came in for his fuel stop, just missing Busch leaving.
On Lap 83, as green flag pit stops continue, Braun pitted for fuel only, then Bell, Starr and Skinner were on pit road getting tires.
On Lap 84, Bodine was leading, though he still needed to make his pit stop, and Terry Cook in the No. 25 Cajun Industries/Harris trucking Toyota pitted for fuel only.
On Lap 85, Bodine came to pit road for fuel at the same time as Almirola and Timothy Peters in the No. 17 Strutmasters.com Toyota assumed the lead.
After 87 laps the top five was: Peters leading, Setzer second, Tayler Malsam in the No. 81 One-Eighty Toyota third, Ryan Sieg in the No. 39 S&W services/ RWS South Inc. Chevrolet fourth and Buesch fifth.
On Lap 92, the green flag pit stops cycled through, with Busch resuming the lead with only 10 trucks remaining on the lead lap.
Points leader Hornaday was running 13th and Crafton second, 16th in the points.
The fourth caution flag came out on Lap 97, for Ricky Carmichael getting loose and spinning into the infield grass.
Terry Cook was the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner under this caution.
On Lap 98, all 10 of the trucks still in the lead lap all pit made the first of two stops, sure a few will make just one stop and gamble.
On Lap 99, Hornaday would come to pit road to get fuel. A lap later he would come back in for tires.
Bodine stays out, not making a second stop and leading the race. Both Malsam and Setzer also stay out having made just one stop.
On the Lap 101 restart, Bodine took the green with McCumbee in front of him at the tail end of the lead lap and got a couple of truck lengths lead on Peters.
On Lap 102, Malsam fourth, Braun fifth, and Sauter sixth were side by side in three-wide action battling for those positions.
When Busch in seventh, almost made it four wide, but wisely backed out before causing anyone to wreck, a very smart move by him.
By Lap 106, Bodine had a 1.9 second lead on Peters in second. Hornaday was in 16th, a lap down, and had a fast truck as he started to reel in Crafton for 15th.
After 109 Laps, the top five was: Bodine leading, Peters second, Busch third, Braun fourth and Setzer fifth.
On Lap 110, McCumbee in 12th and Skinner in 13th are battling it out on the track to be the first truck a lap down should the caution come out for the Aaron's lucky Dog.
As the battle between McCumbee and Skinner continued on Lap 112, it looked like the two lap-down trucks were catching the leader Bodine.
Meanwhile Crafton running in 14th, tryied to get away from Hornaday in 15th, who continued to reel in Crafton.
With both being a lap down, for the points Crafton wanted to keep Horn on the same lap and the best way to do that was to keep him behind.
On Lap 117, McCumbee would be on the low-side with Skinner on the high-side trying to pass him. McCumbee moved up to block Skinner, resulting in Skinner bouncing off of McCumbee's rear end.
McCumbee would lose a piece of bumper that got stuck in Skinner grill.
On Lap 120, Bodine had a five-second lead on Peters who Busch would pass shortly.
The fifth caution flag came out on Lap 122, for debris on the track from the piece of McCumbee's bumper.
McCumbee would be the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner under this caution.
After 123 Laps, the top five under caution was: Bodine leading, Busch second, Peters third, Braun fourth and Sauter fifth.
On the Lap 125 restart, Bodine would take the green but would just stay in front of Busch, who was on his bumper and unable to make a pass on the low-side.
On Lap 126, Busch would first try the low-side, then the high-side to pass Bodine, but was unable to make the pass stick.
The sixth caution came out on Lap 127, for Bell spinning after contact with Skinner after running side-by-side racing.
Skinner was the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner under this caution. Both Bell and Skinner would come to pit road for service from their crews.
On the Lap 131 restart, Bodine took the green with Busch on his bumper and he couldn't get away from him. Busch would power by on the low-side, taking the lead coming back to the stripe.
Peters would get third, passing Braun for the position.
By Lap 135, Busch's lead extended by 0.409 seconds on Bodine in second. Braun would also re-pass Peters for third.
On Lap 136, the best racing was Peters and Crawford battling for fourth.
The seventh caution flag came out on Lap 137, for Malsam and Starr who made contact resulting in both wrecking and collecting Skinner and R. Sieg in the aftermath of the collision.
Hornaday got the Aaron's Lucky Dog award that caution. He got lucky getting it, since once they get to 10 laps-to-go they stop awarding them.
After 141 Laps, the top five under caution was: Busch leading, Bodine second, Braun third, Peters fourth and Crawford fifth.
Hornaday would restart 13th, picking up positions and making up some points on Crafton.
On the Lap 143 restart, Busch took the green had a great restart putting three truck lengths on Bodine going into turn one.
Bodine would close the gap going into turn three, but never caught up to Busch to challenge for the lead.
On Lap 144, Busch led by four truck lengths on Bodine in second. The best racing was Compton 11th, Skinner 12th and Hornaday 13th battling for those positions.
On Lap 145, Busch continued to pull away, and Bodine and Braun would battle for second.
On Lap 146, the best racing was McCumbee who made a three-wide pass against Sauter and Peters for fifth.
On Lap 147, Sauter returned the favor doing a three-wide pass of his own re-passing McCumbee and Peters for fifth.
On Lap 148, Busch still led by .257 seconds over Bodine in second. Hornaday took 11th, passing both Compton and Skinner.
Busch would take the white flag, just having to make it back around for the checkers. He had a .580 second lead coming out of turn four on Bodine, got the checkers and took the inaugural win.
Busch led 79 laps today, bowed for the fans, got the checkers, did a few burnouts in celebration on his way to victory lane.
He thanked Wauters, his crew, Billy Ballow, all his sponsors and got a kiss from Samantha.
It's his 13th career win in 64 races. He's two-for-two since getting Richie Wauters back as his crew chief and it all came down to the pit stop they made on Lap 24.
While most took just fuel, Busch made two stops for tires, then fuel and adjustment. He now has won in all three of NASCAR's elite top series at five tracks now.
Todd Bodine finished second. He led 39 laps today, ran 63 laps on one fuel stop, and it was his best finish in two months.
Colin Braun finished third. He ran a great race, and as the race went along he steadily progressed to his fifth top five of the season and he earned it.
Rick Crawford finished fourth, earning a hard fought top five finish, collected his third top five finish of the season and it was nice to see him run such a great race.
Johnny Sauter finished fifth, was the Raybestos Rookie of the race, collected his second top five of the season and it was a hard fought battle for this finish.
Six thru 10th were: Dennis Setzer, Chad McCumbee, Aric Almirola, Timothy Peters and Terry Cook.
Ron Hornaday Jr. finished 11th on the lead lap. He led two laps tonight and picked up nine points on Matt Crafton.
The points now have Hornaday leading by 220 on Crafton in second and 316 points over Skinner in third.
The next race is Sept. 5, the Lucas Oil 200 at Iowa Speedway on Speed at 9:15PM the Set-Up Show and 9:45PM Race Time (Saturday).
And no Rowdy Busch at Iowa, as the Nationwide race at Atlanta starts at 6:30PM and the Trucks start at 9:45PM.
The source for this article was my race notes, any mistakes were my own, only used truckseries.com's lap summary as a resource and thanks AIC for fueling this while I typed it out.
Photo Credit: sports.yahoo.com