After only capturing a single NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory in 2023, Kyle Busch has officially returned to form, capturing the victory in Friday’s Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Making the first of his five scheduled starts this season and the first with new sponsor Zariz Transport, Busch started from the pole position in the No. 51 Chevrolet Silverado, and had to overcome some unique adversity in the race’s opening laps.
As a result of a delayed flight, Busch’s pit crew – as well as several others utilizing pit crews from NASCAR Cup Series teams – hadn’t arrived at the start of the race, and didn’t make their way onto pit road until the middle of the first stage.
Despite an excruciatingly slow stop, and having to return to pit road with a loose wheel, the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion was able to recover quite quickly, returning to the lead at lap 40.
Differing strategies throughout the course of Friday’s 134-lap contest would scatter the fastest trucks all throughout the pack, forcing them to make quick work of slower trucks, and at some points, come off-sequence of the rest of the field.
Leading a race-high 84 laps, Busch continued to showcase how quick his Kyle Busch Motorsports entry was, passing trucks like they were standing still, and growing a commanding lead over the competition after the final set of green-flag pit stops.
Zane Smith, the defending champion of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the winner at Daytona, finished second, five seconds behind the No. 51 Chevrolet Camaro. Ben Rhodes finished just behind him in third place.
Corey Heim, driving for the newly-rebranded TRICON Garage, finished in fourth place, while Ty Majeski rebounded from a late-race speeding penalty to finish inside the top five.
Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Chase Purdy, Grant Enfinger, and Jake Garcia – making his first start of the season for McAnally-Hilgeman Racing – completed the top-10.
Matt Crafton, 11th, was the final truck on the lead lap, as Busch put down a blistering pace throughout the final stage of the event.
Crafton’s teammate, Hailie Deegan, was looking to turn her season around after a crash at Daytona but was involved in another accident with John Hunter Nemechek on the backstretch during the second stage, relegating her to 33rd.
Next for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is Atlanta Motor Speedway, where the field will take on the semi-new superspeedway configuration for the second time. Corey Heim was last year’s winner, albeit in a Kyle Busch Motorsports entry.
Busch will return to the No. 51 Chevrolet Silverado in the fourth race of the season at Circuit of The Americas.