Kyle Busch entered Friday night's NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway with wins in the ARCA Racing Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but had been unable to collect a win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. As the field took the white flag in the 2014 season-opening event, it appeared that Busch was going to have to settle for his fourth runner-up finish in the Truck Series at the 2.5-mile tri-oval, but the talented wheelman made a miraculous pass on the outside lane coming down the frontstretch and nudged fellow Toyota competitor Timothy Peters by .016-seconds at the stripe to pick up the victory. With the win, the Las Vegas native became the first driver to win in four different series at the "World Center of Racing."
"All in all, can't say enough about everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), this whole team," Busch said after earning the first win in the newest generation of trucks. "Everyone from ToyotaCare and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) -- building this truck and helping us and doing all the research and development with us. This is the first win for the new truck, so it's pretty exciting to see Toyota back in victory lane again here in Daytona, but also for KBM. This now makes it to where I've won four. I've won the ARCA race here. I've won the Truck race here. I've won the Nationwide and Cup -- that's the one (Truck Series) that was eluding me. I was trying to get a Truck win here and finally got one."
Busch started from the seventh position and by lap five had advanced into the top five. He was able to gain one more position before the competition caution slowed the field on lap 20. After a two-tire and fuel stop, the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra returned to the track scored in the third spot for the lap-24 restart. Tucked in the inside lane during the next green-flag run, Busch remained third until the second caution of the night occurred on lap 51.
Crew chief Eric Phillips once again summoned his driver down pit road for another set of right side tires and a full tank of fuel. Busch returned to the track scored in the second spot, but when leader Ben Kennedy failed to maintain minimum speed and had to surrender several spots per NASCAR rules, Busch grabbed the lead for the first time in the 100-lap event.
Busch and Timothy Peters would race side-by-side after the ensuing restart, exchanging the lead four times before Peters merged into the inside lane ahead of the No. 51 Tundra on lap 63, and would remain out front for the next 14 circuits. KBM's owner-driver tucked into the second position, where he remained until a 16-truck fracas slowed the field for the third time.
This time Phillips ordered up a fuel-only stop, putting his boss out front for the lap-87 restart. Busch remained on point until lap 85, when once again a Peters-led outside lane went charging by. Peters remained out front until the field came off Turn 4 for the final time, when "Rowdy" made a last ditch effort for the win and darted to the outside lane coming down the frontstretch.
Peters moved up the track to try and block the momentum of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra, but Busch would not be denied his first Truck Series victory at Daytona. The win was Busch's 36th career victory in NASCAR's third division and the eighth straight for a Tundra at the "World Center of Racing." The victory was the 28th of Phillips' Truck Series career, moving him into a tie with Rick Ren for most in series history by a crew chief.
"I didn't know that I had enough to get it done," Busch said. "Timothy (Peters) was really fast -- he could make that outside lane go. He got up to the lead there and then pulled down in front of me and the outside was still trying to get going with the 32 (Ryan Truex), but Timothy was so fast leading the top that he could get to the lead and then he was so fast leading the bottom that he could pretty much keep those guys at bay behind us. Coming out of (turn) four I just thought, 'Hey, I'm by myself and the 98 (Johnny Sauter) is far enough back and I think if my truck is faster than his truck then I think I can suck up on him a little bit, pull out and then see if I couldn't get alongside of him enough to pull him back with the side draft.' Kind of do like an old school sling shot. It didn't really look like one, it just kind of looked like a slow motion sling shot at real speed, but it happened and got alongside of him and drug him back -- and then him and the 98 had to get nose-to-tail and we already had the momentum."