OBSERVATIONS: Vankor 350 at Texas Motor Speedway

When Kyle Busch takes to his No. 51 Toyota Tundra at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a couple months, there’s one thing that you should know – he is probably going to reach victory lane.

Throughout the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series season, a driver earning points in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is allowed to run a total of five truck events. Busch has currently ran four of those, and won each of them in convincing fashion. His latest came on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway as  he paced 97 of the 147 laps en route to victory lane. 

Despite his fourth consecutive series victory, the speed from the guys in Kyle Busch Motorsports shop was lacking according to their boss.

“I don’t know, we just lacked a little bit of overall speed tonight,” Busch said. “We just didn’t quite have exactly what we wanted. Kind of worked on it all in practice. I thought we were pretty good, but just not enough. Those guys were just able to keep up with us way too much throughout the night, I thought. It’s a better race that way when they’re able to keep up, so that means we’ve got to go to work and work harder in order to get ourselves a little faster.”

Unlike previous events where it seemed the veteran would cruise to victory lane, he was actually passed for the lead with Brett Moffitt going around the outside on Lap 99. Unfortunately, contact in the late stages with Grant Enfinger after getting loose resulted in a flat tire, ending his chances of victory.

Stewart Friesen also showed promise towards scoring the victory, as he was able to close the gap between himself and Busch as the laps began to wound down with 25 to go. While he got to the No. 51’s tailgate, he was unable to complete the pass, fading back with a tight truck to a second-place finish. It was stated last year, and the same goes once again in 2019 – it’s only a matter of time before the No. 52 Chevrolet is in victory lane.

Overall, the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series proved once again why they are the most exciting to watch on the intermediate tracks. Drivers battled side-by-side throughout the event, using the big hole punched in the air by the trucks to work the draft around each other. Although the first stage was a little rough with a couple back-to-back incidents, things ran smoothly from there on with a couple thrilling three-wide moments and saves from various drivers as they slid up the track.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series package was supposed to resemble that of the drafting nature with the reduced horsepower and high spoiler. That was evident once again in qualifying with drivers not wanting to be the first to go out on-track and be in line behind others. While it hasn’t played as big of a role through the first three intermediate events this year, perhaps Texas Motor Speedway’s layout with fresh pavement and the traction compound in the second groove is the right method for some excitement.


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By Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.