Kyle Busch and the Dollar General Racing team overcame battery charging issues early in the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway to post a hard-fought fourth-place finish. Despite making two stops on pit road under caution to address the charging issue, the team was able remain on the lead lap. After restarting from the 23rd position on lap 70, Busch maneuvered his way back into the top 10 just three laps later. After a round of green-flag pit stops cycled through, the No. 18 Tundra was scored in the fourth position with just over 20 laps remaining. The 147-lap event ended up proceeding caution free for the final 77 laps and the talented wheelman ran out of time in his quest to catch the top-three trucks.
“Unfortunately had a battery or alternator or something going wrong,” said Busch who has registered top-five finishes in both of his Truck Series starts in 2012. “The guys fought hard, we fought hard and just tried to get back towards the front. Just didn’t have enough. These truck races — when do you ever see a truck race go to the end caution free except tonight? Can’t say enough about Dollar General and all these guys — appreciate their support and what they’ve given us this year. I’ve got one more chance to get them in victory lane coming up at Homestead. The Toyota ran strong and we’ll go get them next time.”
Busch, who started the event from the third position, was running in the runner-up spot when the first caution of the race occurred on lap 30. Crew chief Eric Phillips summoned his driver to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to loosen the handling on the Dollar General Tundra. As the No. 18 entered its pit stall, the brakes locked up and the truck slid over the front boundary line. The over-the-wall crew quickly pushed the truck back inside the pit box before executing the stop, but in the process lost seven positions when the service was completed.
The Las Vegas native took the lap-35 restart from the ninth position, but within five laps had returned to the top five. Busch was running in the fourth position when his teammate, German Quiroga, brought out the second and final caution of the event when his engine expired on lap 64. As the field slowed, the team owner-driver communicated to crew chief Eric Phillips that the volt meter on the Dollar General Toyota was low and suggested a battery change under caution.
The Dollar General Tundra came down pit road where the over-the-wall crew replaced the battery and checked the wiring underneath the hood in addition to their normal four-tire stop. Once back on the track, Busch communicated that the issue still persisted and returned to pit road the following lap. While several crew members checked the connections on the battery from the left rear fender opening, one crew member dangled inside the passenger window opening checking the wiring to the ignition box inside the Toyota. As the field was taking the one-to-go signal, the Dollar General Tundra re-fired and exited pit road just in time to remain on the lead lap.
Busch caught the tail end of the field just as they were taking the green flag on lap 70. Three laps later he returned to the top 10 and set his sights on the top-five trucks as he communicated that his Toyota was “really good.” The two-time Texas Truck Series winner had maneuvered his way into the seventh position when he was called to pit road for the final time under green-flag conditions on lap 114.
Once on pit road, the Dollar General Tundra got four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and a track bar adjustment. When green-flag stops cycled through on lap 122, Busch was scored in the fourth position, but he was over six seconds behind the leader with just 25 laps remaining. Busch was able to gain time on the top-three trucks in the closing laps, but had to settle for a hard-fought fourth-place finish.
Johnny Sauter completed the 2012 Texas Motor Speedway sweep, finishing 2.199 seconds ahead of Parker Kligerman. Pole sitter Nelson Piquet Jr. came home in the third spot, followed by Busch in fourth. Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five finishers.
German Quiroga, Busch’s teammate, was relegated to a 28th-place finish after his engine expired near the halfway mark of the race.
There were two caution periods for eight laps. Nine different drivers led, exchanging the lead 10 times. Ten drivers failed to finish the 147-lap race.
The No. 18 Tundra, which recorded its seventh consecutive top-10 finish, remained seventh in the Owner’s point standings with two races remaining.
Brian Scott will make his fifth and final Truck Series start this season behind the wheel of the Dollar General Tundra when NASCAR’s third division returns to action Friday, Nov. 9. for the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. The race begins at 8 p.m. ET, with SPEED’s live coverage commencing with the NCWTS Setup Show at 7:30 p.m. ET.