Kyle Busch Gets Huge Push From Aric Almirola for Mountain Dew 250 Win

Horn FanSenior Writer INovember 2, 2009

Kyle Busch, with a huge push from teammate Aric Almirola, won the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway for his sixth win of the season and the first one-two finish for owner Billy Ballew.

It looked like Todd Bodine was a quarter-mile away from picking up the win, when Busch, with the aid of Almirola, jumped out and made the winning pass.

It was Busch's 15th career win in trucks, it came on Billy Ballew Motorsports combined 300th career team start, and it was his fourth win in his last four starts.

Colin Braun in the No. 6 Con-Way Freight Ford starts on the pole and it's his fourth pole award of the season.

Terry Cook in the No. 25 Cajun Industries/Harris Trucking Toyota starts from the outside pole position.

A interesting note on Cook, he's racing in a truck chassis called "The Freak." It's been racing since 2001, picked up three wins at Daytona, raced under multiple manufactures and poised to propel Cook to another solid finish.

Max Papis in the No. 9 Geico Toyota starts third, Jason White in the No. 23 Gunbroker.com Dodge starts fourth, and Almirola in the No. 15 Graceway Pharmaceuticals/AKawareness.com Toyota starts fifth.

The title contenders, Matt Crafton in the No. 88 Tide/Menard's Chevrolet starts seventh and Ron Hornaday Jr. in the No. 33 Copart Chevrolet starts 13th.

The Set-Up Show's Halloween theme, Batman, was very tame compared to last year and the only scary thing was Batman.

Be sure to read Janelle Jalbert's article: 281313-rules-changes-announced-for-2010-in-nascar-camping-world-truck-series, for all the changes Krista Voda talked about in the Set-Up.

In other news, Memphis Motorsports Park has closed, the 2010 race has been moved to Nashville on April 2 and gives the track two races now.

For the second race in a row, Mother Nature, with a morning full of rain, delayed the race start some 40 minutes.

At race time, it was 54 degrees, and overcast. 36 trucks started the race and the pit window is 30 to 35 laps.

On the Lap One start, Braun took the green, gets the lead by a truck length on Cook in second. Further back in the field, they were three and four wide back through the field.

Coming back to the stripe, Braun would lead lap one, but they were five wide coming through the tri-oval.

On Lap Two, One of the ladies in the race, Jennifer Jo Cobb in the No. 50 Boys Racing Dodge lost her engine, but she got out of the racing groove below the yellow line and made it back to pit road with no caution.

By Lap Four, Hornaday started 13th, but was running fifth by getting to the bottom picking up all those positions.

On Lap Five, the top-10 trucks are nose to tail on the bottom, running next to the yellow line and Skinner in 11th is the first truck in the outside groove.

The first caution came out on Lap Seven, for T.J. Bell in the No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota,which lost a right front tire, due to a brake caliber failing and leaving debris on the track.

Under caution the top five was; Braun leading, Almirola second, Bodine third, Tayler Malsam in the No. 81 One-Eighty Toyota fourth and Hornaday fifth.

On Lap Eight, everyone pits, making the first of two stops, and some teams are making just fuel stops.

Mike Wallace in the No. 48 Rockingham Speedway/Polar Bear 150 Chevrolet leads, with his daughter Chrissy Wallace in the No. 08 Fuel-Doctor.com Chevrolet second, but both would pit a lap later.

Both Cook and Busch on the first stop had the hoods up using wrenches to raise the trucks' splitters from hitting on the track.

After pit stops, the top five was; Chris Jones in the No. 41 Mike Berg Trucking Dodge leads, Sean Murphy in the No. 21 Rime Garden Inn & Suites Dodge second, Braun third, Almirola fourth, and Bodine fifth.

On the Lap 11 restart, Jones gets off to a good start, creates a gap between himself and Braun in second, and gets freight trained by the field with Braun leading the way.

Braun leading, Almirola second, Bodine third, and Hornaday fourth have pulled away by three-truck length on the rest of the field on Lap 12.

The lower groove still the place to be, but with trucks further back being three and four wide the upper groove will come into play.

The second caution comes out on Lap 14, for Robert Richardson Jr in the No. 71 Mahindra Tractors/Draco Springs Chevrolet blew up crossing the stripe, leaving fluid and oil all over the track.

Chad McCumbee in the No. 07 tiwi Chevrolet, followed by Dennis Setzer No. 8 Malcolmson Construction Chevrolet did a excellent job not to wreck, driving through it as they were right behind him when it happened.

On Lap 15, the pits open with just a few takers, two that stop Busch got just fuel, then Ricky Carmichael in the No. 4 Monster Energy Drink Chevrolet made two stops for tires and fuel.

On Lap 16, the top five under caution was; Braun leads, Almirola second, Bodine third, Horn fourth and Starr fifth.

Brandon Knupp in the No. 47 FT 11 Degreaser Chevrolet was the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner under this caution.

On the Lap 18 restart, Braun takes the green with Almirola right on his bumper, and doesn't leave a gap on the start.

Nothing really exciting has happened race wise, there just logging laps and the lead packs just hunging the yellow line on the bottom.

Alimrola on Lap 19, let his crew know he was overheating and his oil pressure dropped and they'll put tape on the grill on their next stop. Just take it easy for now.

Busch was running in a 11th in the outside groove, leading them to the front fast on Lap 20.

Two laps later you had them three wide, with Braun up front leading, but Busch is in the center groove and Johnny Sauter in the No. 13 FunSand/Rodney Adkins/Curb Records is battling to pass him up in the high groove by the wall leading that groove.

Then on Lap 23, Sauter would drop back down to the center groove when he can't pass Busch and started to fall back losing positions.

On Lap 25, Braun leads the lower groove, has Skinner in the No. 5 PC Miler Navigator in the higher groove side by side with him,and Braun would be the leader by the nose at the stripe.

Sauter on Lap 26, looked like he may have been overheating, pulls out of the high groove and falls back to the tail end of the field.

On Lap 27, Crafton loses a right rear tire, he would get out of the outside line, slow down and make it to pit road safely.

Meanwhile, Skinner would momentarily take the lead, but Braun would battle back to be leading at the stripe.

On Lap 28, Braun and Skinner are side by side for the lead, while Crafton gets off pit road on the tail end, just changed right sides, and at the stripe Braun led by a nose.

On Lap 29, Crafton would get passed going a lap down, most of the lap Braun and Skinner were side by side and coming to the stripe, Skinner leads by a nose.

White on Lap 30, loses a engine, gets out of the groove below the yellow line and limps back to pit road. Results in no caution.

On Lap 32, Skinner with a push from Busch would pass Braun for first and second respectively and they would drop down to the bottom groove.

A lap later, the best racing was Todd Bodine in the No. 30 Copart Toyota, with Hornaday pushing him; they draft by Braun in third using the high groove and take third and fourth, respectively.

On Lap 34, Bodine with drafting help from Hornaday in the outside groove, challenge Skinner for the lead on the bottom. At the stripe, Skinner led by a nose.

On Lap 36, Skinner and Bodine are side by side for much of the lap, and coming back to the stripe, Bodine leads by 1/40 of a second.

On Lap 37, Hornaday, who's been tucked behind Bodine pushing him, would lose the cover to the cowl opening as it's been opening and closing the last few laps.

It resulted in the third caution coming out on Lap 39 for that cover that was laying in the racing groove and run over by Brian Scott in the No. 16 Albertson's Toyota.

Steve Park in the No. 02 Koma Unwind Chevrolet was the Aaron's Lucky Dog Award winner under this caution.

On Lap 40, everyone comes to pit road making one or two stops. NASCAR lets Hornaday's crew chief Rick Ren know that they don't have to fix the cover, if they do it has to be a functional and not just covered over.

Bodine would spin out leaving pit road, he left his pit too fast on his new tires and spun in some of the moisture still on pit road.

On Lap 41, Hornaday on his second stop, he stalls it leaving after getting fuel, his crew gets him going with ether and a push.

Scott uses some pit strategy, just taking right side tires on his first stop and gets fuel on his second stop.

On the Lap 43 restart, Scott takes the green with Busch on his bumper and gets a great start, leaving no gap.

The lapped truck of Crafton gets in front of the leaders and is back on the tail end of the lead lap.

A lap later, Scott with drafting help from Busch re-passes Crafton, putting him a lap down again.

Scott would still lead, with Busch second on his bumper and Skinner third is right their on Busch bumper. Bodine would try the high side, but gets hung out to dry, loses the draft. 

After 47 laps, the top five was; Scott leads, Busch second, Skinner third, Braun fourth and Starr fifth.

Hornaday was running back in 19th, has his teammate Carmichael behind him and has plenty of time to get back up front.

On Lap 48, Scott and Almirola are side by side most of the lap, and at the stripe, Almirola leads.

On Lap 49, Almirola and Scott are again side by side battling for the lead and at the stripe, Scott leads by a nose.

Almirola would regain the lead on the high side, he has Crafton in front of him back on the lead lap at the tail end of the field on Lap 50.

On Lap 51, Almirola would drop to the bottom groove in front of Scott in second.

Sauter (13th) would get forced below the yellow line by Mario Gosselin in the No. 12 MyMonkeyTire.com, running in 12th after contact and have no issues over it.

Gosselin tried to use the center to squeeze passed J.R. Fitzpatrick in the No. 29 Equipment Express Chevrolet with Sauter next to him.

After 55 laps, the top five was; Almirola leading, Scott second, Busch third, Skinner fourth and Braun fifth.

On Lap 58, Almirola still has Crafton in front of him; they are running three grooves battling to catch the low line.

On Lap 61, Mike Wallace had a front fender coming loose, then his right-side of the hood got loose crinkled up and he'd come to pit road, ending his day.

Hornaday was still running at the back of the pack in 23rd on Lap 63, and his truck doesn't seem to be as good before he lost the cover over one of his cowl openings.

Meanwhile, Crafton was still right there tail end of the lead lap right in front of the leader Almirola, who has Cook are side by side battling for the lead, and Cook leads by a nose at the stripe.

On Lap 65, Cook is side by side battling for the lead. When the fourth caution comes out, for Braun spinning and collecting Malsam who crashes into the inside wall.

The field got bottled up. Braun gets into Skinner, then it was McCumbee that gets into Braun spinning him. Which caused the slowing Malsam to get spun by Carmichael.

Crafton was the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner under this caution.

On Lap 66, everyone pits making one or two stops. Scott on his first stop gets two left side tires and several others take just fuel.

Cook and Papis would make contact leaving pit road, Cook has a fender rub as result and will have to make a extra stop to fix it.

Then on Lap 67, the second stops happen. It was a interesting pit stop cycle, with the teams using pit strategy, and making just fuel stops. While other teams take two or four tires on the first stop, and fuel on the second.

NASCAR would let Scott know that he was speeding on pit road, and will have to go to the end of the longest line.

Under caution, the top five was; Bodine leading, Starr in the No. 24 Zachry Toyota is second, Skinner third, Busch fourth and Almirola fifth.

Hornaday made a great stop, comes in ninth, prior to the caution he was at the back but made up 14 positions.

On the Lap 69 restart, Bodine takes the green, doesn't cause a gap and leads with Starr on his bumper running down on the yellow line.

The fifth caution comes out on Lap 72, for Gosselin spinning after contact with Papis, and he does a great job keeping it out of the racing groove.

It happened right in front of Hornaday, that could have been a bad deal for him. Park was the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner for the second time today.

On the Lap 75 restart,  Bodine takes the green, he gets a great start on the bottom with Starr on his bumper and doesn't leave a gap on the start.

The sixth caution comes out on Lap 79, for Park, whose engine expired, leaving fluids all over the track.

Norm Benning in the No. 57 MotorsportsDecals.com Chevrolet was the Aaron's Lucky Dog Award winner under this caution.

It was the second caution in the row, that a crew member from James Buescher in the No. 10 International Maxx Force Diesel Ford has been in Hornaday's pit talking strategy with Rick Ren. 

Hornaday's running in eighth and Buescher ninth on the track, they'll work together on the restart and that's the neat deal with Talladega. The driver alliances happen regardless of manufacturer.

On the Lap 84 restart, Bodine takes the green, gets a great start on Starr and creates a gap but Starr in second can't capitalize on it.

On Lap 85, Bodine still leads with Starr on his bumper and the top 12 trucks are single file just following the leader.

On Lap 87, Bodine still leads but the outside line has worked it's way to eighth, Busch with Almirola following him jump to the top.

On Lap 88, Busch with Almirola pushing him take the lead as both pass Bodine dropping him to third.

Busch with Almirola locked on his bumper pushing him are one to two and Bodine still right there in third following them on Lap 90. 

The seventh caution comes out on Lap 92, for the big one as in the closing laps the drivers were fighting for spots and involved 11 trucks. Contact between Starr, Sauter, and Skinner initiated the mess.

It involved the following drivers; McCumbee, Carmichael, Skinner, Papis, Buescher, Sauter, Crawford, Scott, Peters, Fitzpatrick and Hornaday.

The trucks ran under the yellow till Lap 95, no red flag and till the mess was cleaned up. It's going to be the first green/white/checkers finish for the trucks.

Of those wrecked trucks, Peters, Sauter, Buescher and Fitzpatrick were able to continue and finished on the lead lap.

Hornaday had looked like he was going to sneak through the wreck on the bottom, but at the last second Scott came down and collected him.

He had right front damage to the truck, around the tire and tore up everything in right front. But being in the points race, they lost two laps in the pits getting him repaired, and Hornaday would finish 17th. 

Under caution, the top five was; Busch leads, Almirola second, Starr third, Bodine fourth and Crafton fifth.

On the Lap 96 restart, Busch takes the green flag, on a green/white/checkers finish, gets a good start with Almirola on his bumper.

Coming into turn three, Bodine third and Crafton fourth jump to the high groove, they pass Busch and Almirola coming to the strip Bodine takes the white flag on Lap 97.

On the final lap, Bodine and Crafton were side by side most of the lap, with a quarter mile to the finish and his fifth win.

Braun who was behind Crafton tries for the pass, as Busch with Almirola pushing him passes Bodine coming to the checkers.

They get a one-two finish in Billy Ballew Motorpsorts 300th start in the series and there first one. It was a four-wide finish to the checkers, Crafton fell back to 10th.

Busch now has the No. 51 truck, a 100 points out for the owner title with three to go and picked up 67 points on Hornaday's No. 33.

Aric Almirola finished second, ran a really great race, led twice for 15 laps and pushed Busch to the win.

Todd Bodine finished third, led four times for 24 laps and was a quarter mile away from getting his fifth consecutive superspeedway.

Terry Cook finished fourth, ran a really good race, "the Freak" chassis comes through for another top five finish and he led one lap.

David Starr finished fifth, got as high as second and ran a really good race today.

Sixth through 10th were; Mario Gosselin, Stacy Compton, Dennis Setzer, Justin Hobgood and Matt Crafton.

Chrissy Wallace ran a very exciting race today, finishing 13th on the lead lap, and showed she belongs in the series. It's really a shame that she can't find a sponsor.  

It was another exciting finish, that was four wide and with the pass for the win coming with a quarter mile left to the checkers.

The points now have Hornaday leading by 202 points over Crafton in second and 327 points over Skinner in third.

With Hornaday having problems, the points lead could have been 167 points, but Crafton tried for the win and got hung out to dry draft wise. Costing him 35 points, and he only picked up 25 points.

The next race is Nov. 6: the Lone Star 350K at Texas Motor Speedway at 8:30PM the Set-Up Show and 9:00PM Race Time (Friday).

Authors note: This race recap is based solely on my race notes any mistakes are my own.

Photo Credit: racingone.com


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