Saturday’s Pocono Mountains 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., was the first Truck Series race of 2015 for Kyle Busch, but if the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular had any truck rust, he didn’t show it. Instead he dominated the race en route to victory lane. He led 53 laps in a race that was scheduled for a 60-lap distance but was extended to 69 laps by three green-white-checker attempts.
“This is really, really cool,” Busch said. “This Toyota Tundra was awesome today.”
Fellow Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick finished second, while Truck Series regular Tyler Reddick finished third. With the third-place finish, Reddick moved into the series championship points lead after previous leader Matt Crafton and championship contender Erik Jones encountered problems. After Pocono, Reddick sits 11 points ahead of Crafton and 16 ahead of Jones.
Jones, Busch’s teammate, ran second to his truck owner for much of the race until he was involved in a multi-truck crash that brought out the fourth caution of the race on the first green-white-checker restart.
On the final restart of the race, Cameron Hayley lined up next to Busch on the front row, but as Busch pulled away with the lead to the win, Hayley fell into Harvick’s clutches. After losing spots to Harvick and Reddick in the final two laps, Hayley finished fourth, a career-best. Austin Dillon finished fifth.
“I just want to thank everybody on our Haas Automation team for hanging in there all weekend,” Harvick said. “It was a tough weekend.”
The Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks of Jones and Busch started the race on the front row. While Busch slipped back a couple of positions at the start of the race, Jones led the way, followed by Crafton and Brad Keselowski. Busch quickly got back up to second before the first yellow flag waved on lap four because of an incident between Crafton and Keselowski.
Busch moved into the lead on the restart. Jones also lost second to Harvick, but he eventually got back by to retake the second spot to run right behind his boss for much of the remainder of the race.
“We didn’t have the speed we really needed to compete with the 4 (Jones) and the 51 (Busch),” Reddick said.
Busch gave up the lead to begin a cycle of green-flag pit stops around lap 30. Johnny Sauter, though, stayed out and led laps before finally heading to pit road eight laps later. Sauter was able to delay his green-flag stop after pitting during the first caution of the race.
When Sauter made his green-flag stop, Busch was back up front, with Jones in second. Harvick was a distant third, more than six seconds behind the KBM teammates.
Most of the scheduled distance of the race ran caution-free. After the first yellow flag in the first 10 laps, the caution flag didn’t wave again until just over 10 laps remaining in the 60-lap planned distance. In all, the yellow flag waved five times.
Sauter finished sixth, Timothy Peters was seventh, Matt Tifft eighth, Daniel Hemric ninth and Jones rounded out the top-10.