Truck Chase Field Finalized as Kyle Busch Wins at Chicagolandby Kyle Pokrefky September 17, 2016
The regular season for the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season came to a close on Friday night with Kyle Busch taking home the checkered flag in the American Ethanol 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.
As Busch celebrated his 46th career win in the Truck Series, the grid for the series’s inaugural Chase was finalized following the conclusion of the 151-lap race.
William Byron, driver of the No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, will lead the eight-driver Chase into New Hampshire Motor Speedway as the top seed with Matt Crafton entering as the second seed.
John Hunter Nemechek and Johnny Sauter enter the Chase as the respective third and fourth seeds as Christopher Bell and Ben Kennedy enter as the last two Chase seeds that earned a berth through a win.
Daniel Hemric and Timothy Peters each earned their respective Chase berths – the last two – through their points positions following Chicagoland.
Although his day was marred with an early accident that relegated himself to a 30th-place finish, Byron said that he’s fully excited to enter New Hampshire as the top seed.
“I think tonight was a learning experience – just learning what not to do and get those things out of the way before the Chase,” Byron said. “We’ve had good races – some bad, tonight was a bad one, but we got that out of the way and I’m looking forward to next week at New Hampshire and shift the focus to that and trying to get the best finish we can to advance ourselves through each round.”
Byron’s team owner, Busch, dominated the night’s race, leading 95 of 151 laps en route to the victory.
The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion held off a flurry of attacks from winless series regulars such as Hemric, Cameron Hayley and Spencer Gallagher to seal the deal.
Respectively crossing the finish line in positions two-through-ten behind Busch were Hemric, Hayley, Bell, Sauter, Grant Enfinger, Gallagher, Peters, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick.
“It was a really good race for our truck,” Busch said of the win. “The first run was okay, definitely after the qualifying session on those tires they didn’t react the way I expected them to. Once we got those off on the second run, third run, every time we put tires on the truck felt really good and we were pretty fast out front.
“We weren’t as a good as we needed to be in traffic, but the guys on pit road did a great job to help us out with that… Overall, it felt great to get back in a truck and to win here again and have an opportunity to do that with my guys at KBM.”
Several big names found themselves involved in at least one of the race’s 10 caution periods at some point throughout the night.
Byron brought out the respective first and third cautions of the night on Laps 5 and 84 while a four-truck incident involved Crafton, Sauter, Kennedy and Ben Rhodes on Lap 113 for the fifth caution of the night.
Enfinger and Custer were involved in the sixth caution of the night on the frontstretch while Reddick and John Wes Townley brought out caution number nine on Lap 146 in Turn 2.
ThorSport Racing’s Rico Abreu brought out the final caution of the night following an overtime restart on Lap 150.
The Camping World Truck Series Chase will get underway next Saturday at New Hampshire with the UNOH 175.
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images