Podcast #70 — Harvick gives Busch the old Bump and Run

Recap: Foxwoods Casino Resort 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway

  • Kevin Harvick gets the victory
  • Bump and Run on Kyle Busch
    • Did he do it too soon? Was it the right move?
  • Third good race out of four weeks.
  • Almost had the Big 3 finish 1,2,3.
    • Aric Almirola spoils it with a third-place finish

Recap: Eldora Dirt Derby from Eldora Speedway

  • Chase Briscoe tops Grant Enfinger for the win at the line.
  • Another excellent race at Eldora.
  • Tony Stewart wants and Xfinity or Cup race.
    • What do we think?

News Items:

Do We Care?

  • 1. It has now been a year since a Hendrick team won a Cup race.
  • 2. NBC’s booth got to wear casual clothes for Sunday’s broadcast after fans overwhelmingly voted for them to wear jeans and NASCAR T-shirts
  • 3. Win stickers

Preview: Gander Outdoors 400 from Pocono Raceway

  • Picks
    • Eric: Ryan Blaney
    • James: Chase Elliott

Dark Horse

    • James: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
    • Eric: Daniel Suarez
  • Shoutouts if any
    • Plug the fantasy league
    • Plug Patreon

Close show

  • Where can we be found on social media?
  • James @jameskuch on Twitter
  • Eric @Eric8199 on Twitter
  • The SuperSpeedway @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook @ TheSuperSpeedway

For more of the podcast:

  • Website address: www.thesuperspeedway.com
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud
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Briscoe takes narrow victory over Enfinger as both bang doors to the line

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Chase Briscoe celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2018 Eldora Dirt Derby. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

ROSSBURG, Ohio — In the end it looked like it would Logan Seavey’s race to win, but a couple late cautions took the race to overtime with Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger lined up side-by-side for the final restart. The two battled back and forth for the final two laps, banging doors off turn four and Briscoe was able to get the edge over Enfinger by just 0.038 seconds.

It was Briscoe’s second career Camping World Truck Series victory and his first at Eldora in a one-off race.

“I think Grant was probably the guy we were racing all night long,” Briscoe said. “I knew Grant would be the one guy who made sure he didn’t spin his tires. … I knew he was going to be really hard.”

Briscoe said he kept it clean and didn’t make contact until the frontstretch.

“We were inches apart without touching for a lap and 7/8ths,” he said. “I knew if I didn’t go all the way to the top, I probably wasn’t going to win.”

He said he had to go for it at the end.

“It wouldn’t have been right for me or Grant if I had lifted and raced him differently. I hate that we tore up two trucks. Especially since before that I don’t think the 27 had a scratch on it.”

“It was the most determined I’ve ever been behind the wheel those last eight laps or so,” he said.

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Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger race side-by-side through turn three on the final lap of the 2018 Eldora Dirt Derby. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

Enfinger said despite the loss, he respects Briscoe and he wasn’t upset with the way he raced.

“He used me up on exit,” Briscoe said. I would have done the exact same thing. It’s good hard racing. I love racing with Chase.”

Enfinger said he wasn’t sure he could have done anything differently.

“I feel like I nailed the restart,” Enfinger said. “I don’t know what I could have done different. It was just a heck of a race.”

He said the fact that his ThorSport truck was strong made the night easier.

“I had a really good truck,” he said. “All I had to do was drive.”

Stewart Friesen was one of the favorites heading into the weekend, but a spin early in the race put him in the back of the field. He was able to battle back and stayed out at the end of stage two, but was only able to muster a third-place finish. He said his team struggled throughout the race weekend.

“The ThorSport guys … were super good both days here,” he said. “We were just kind of playing catch up. I think we had worse than a third-place truck so we probably got away with something there.”

He said his team’s alliance with GMS Racing this year has left him more chances to get a victory and a spot in the playoffs.

“I’m really excited to get to Pocono,” he said. “I did some Chevy sim stuff the other day. I’m really excited for Michigan. Bristol I could take or leave.”

Seavey was only able to hang on for an eighth-place finish.

“This is a really cool experience for me,” he said. “It was really, really fun. The trucks are so hard to drive. I figured they’d work on it before the race and they didn’t. I figured that would play in my favor.”

There were nine cautions for 41 laps. There were seven lead changes among five drivers. Briscoe led the most laps with 54, with Seavey leading the second-most with 53. Ben Rhodes had a strong run early leading 44 laps before having to pit for an issue, putting him down a few laps. Friesen and Enfinger both led one lap each. The time of the race was one hour, 39 minutes and 30 seconds.

Rhodes won the first stage and Briscoe won the second.

The Camping World Truck Series next heads to Pocono Raceway July 28.

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Rhodes captures pole, will lead heat one to the green at Eldora

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Ben Rhodes turns a lap during practice Tuesday at Eldora Speedway. Rhodes captured the pole Wednesday for Wednesday night’s Eldora Dirt Derby. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

ROSSBURG, Ohio — Ben Rhodes turned the fastest lap in qualifying Wednesday afternoon to capture the pole for Wednesday night’s Eldora Dirt Derby Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway.

Rhodes turned a lap of 20.737 to capture the pole. However, winning the pole at Eldora does not mean that Rhodes will start on the pole for tonight’s Dirt Derby. He will lead the first heat race to the green, and his finishing position in that race will determine his starting position.

Logan Seavey, Tyler Dippel, Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen will all lead their respective heats to the green flag.

Lineups for the heat races are below. Races start at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. A last-chance is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. to determine the final starting spots for the field. The 150-lap main event will begin at 9 p.m. ET.

Heat 1:

41 – Ben Rhodes

99 – Sheldon Creed

22 – Austin Self

8 – John Hunter Nemechek

80 – Justin Shipley

02 – Austin Hill

33 – Braden Mitchell

0 – Ray Ciccarelli

 

Heat 2:

51 – Logan Seavey

4 – Todd Gilliland

16 – Brett Moffitt

25 – Dalton Sargeant

38 – Max McLaughlin

12 – Ty Dillon

97 – Ray Otto Jr.

20 – Tanner Thorson

 

Heat 3:

17 – Tyler Dippel

54 – Chris Windom

18 – Noah Gragson

27 – Chase Briscoe

63 – Kyle Strickler

6 – Norm Benning

49 – Wendell Chavous

10 – Jennifer Jo Cobb

 

Heat 4:

98 – Grant Enfinger

88 – Matt Crafton

74 – Trevor Collins

83 – Nick Hoffman

2 – Cody Coughlin

24 – Justin Haley

21 – Johnny Sauter

50 – Mike Harmon

 

Heat 5:

52 – Stewart Friesen

3 – Ryan Newman

13 – Myatt Snider

45 – Justin Fontaine

15 – JR Heffner

34 – Jeffrey Abbey

03 – John Provenzano

Friesen leads final Truck Series practice at Eldora

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ROSSBURG, Ohio — Stewart Friesen is certainly one of the favorites to win the sixth-annual Eldora Dirt Derby Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway Wednesday night, and he solidified himself as a contender by turning the fastest lap in final practice Tuesday night at the half-mile Ohio dirt track.

Friesen turned a lap of 20.893 for an average speed of 86.153 mph to lead the field in final practice. He was second-fastest in the first practice Tuesday, running a lap of 19.693 for an average speed of 91.403 mph. Myatt Snider led the first practice session with a time of 19.661.

The Camping World Truck Series will next be on the track Wednesday for qualifying, with single-truck qualifying kicking off at 4:35 p.m. ET. Each truck will get two timed laps.

The only dirt race in the top three NASCAR series has a unique format, as qualifying only determines the lineup for the five heat races Wednesday night. The heats will begin at 7 p.m. A last chance race to determine the final qualifiers is scheduled for 8:40 p.m., with the 150-lap main event Eldora Dirt Derby beginning at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night. The race will consist of three stages, 40 laps, 50 laps and 60 laps, for a total of 75 miles. There will be breaks between each stage where trucks will be allowed to pit and retain their positions. Unlike the rest of the season, caution laps during the stage breaks do not count.

Below are the top 10 fastest trucks in final practice, with a full rundown of final practice speeds below.

 

  1. Stewart Friesen #52 — 20.983
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9218

 

  1. Sheldon Creed #99 — 20.961
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9162

 

  1. Chase Briscoe #27 — 20.983
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9279

 

  1. Myatt Snider #13 — 20.989
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9108

 

  1. Todd Gilliland #4 — 20.997
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9184

 

  1. Logan Seavey #51 — 21.005
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-8979

 

  1. Johnny Sauter #21 — 21.026
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9052

 

  1. Matt Crafton #88 — 21.073
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-8884

 

  1. Tyler Dippel #17 — 21.143
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9046

 

  1. Justin Shipley #80 — 21.157
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-8758

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Podcast #69: Truex Wins Kentucky in Dominating Fashion

Recap: Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

    • Truex dominates at Kentucky

 

  • AUDIO (1:44): Truex still humble about winning
  • AUDIO (0:33): Cole Pearn says there’s no issue having the top three guys dominating.

 

  • How was the race overall?
  • Notable stories from the race?
    • Denny Hamlin doesn’t get to qualify due to tech issues
    • Kyle Larson has to go to the back because of missing driver intros
    • Larson has fastest car but issues with trackbar

Breaking News: Teams are using different colors to trick the laser scanners for pre-race tech

Do We Care?

Xfinity: Alsco 300

  • Christopher Bell spins in qualifying and comes back to win the race.
    • Kyle Busch was there but mostly a nonfactor all night
    • Xfinity regular won.

CWTS: Buckle Up in Your Truck 225

    • Best race of the weekend
    • Ben Rhodes wins on his home track
      • It was his second-career victory

 

  • AUDIO (0:51): Eric asks if it was sweeter to win on his home track.

 

News Items:

Preview: Foxwoods 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

  • Picks
    • James: Kurt Busch
    • Eric: Martin Truex Jr.
    • Dark Horse
    • Eric: Matt Kenseth
    • James: William Byron
  • Shoutouts if any
    • Plug the fantasy league
    • Plug Patreon

Close show

  • Where can we be found on social media?
  • James @jameskuch on Twitter
  • Eric @Eric8199 on Twitter
  • The SuperSpeedway @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook @ TheSuperSpeedway

For more of the podcast:

  • Website address: www.thesuperspeedway.com
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud

Truex becomes first back-to-back Kentucky winner in dominant performance

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart

Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway on July 14, 2018 in Sparta, Kentucky. Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

SPARTA, Ky. — The name of the race may have been the Quaker State 400, but it might as well have been named the Martin Truex Jr. 400, as Truex earned New Jersey native swept the weekend at Kentucky Speedway, becoming the first back-to-back Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner in the track’s history.

Truex kicked off the weekend qualifying on the pole Friday for Saturday night’s race. He won both stages Saturday night, leading a race-high 174 laps to earn his 19th-career Cup victory, backing up his win in 2017 at the 1.5-mile track.

“I enjoy every single one of these wins like it’s my first because you never know when it’s going to end,” Truex said. “My team’s so badass I can’t even explain it. It’s amazing.”

Truex’s name has been included in the Big Three this season, included with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Both of them have five wins this season. Saturday night’s win makes it four for Truex.

“It’s pretty amazing to be a part of this group,” Truex said, comparing it to watching guys like Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace battle when he was a kid watching NASCAR.

“To think I’m one of those guys this year, and last year too, it’s amazing for me,” he said.

The three have combined for 14 wins out of 19 this season.

“Is it good for the sport?” Truex asked. “I don’t know. I really don’t care. My job is to go win races. My job is to win championships.”

He said what people don’t realize is how hard it truly is to win a race.

“We have 70 people on our team,” he said. “I don’t know, I’m just guessing, picking a number. One of those people screws up and we’re not winning that weekend.”

Truex’s Crew Chief Cole Pearn said with rule changes this season, the Furniture Row team has been working to catch back up and stay in the same category as Harvick and Kyle Busch.

“I think for us, we’ve just been trying to push forward, trying to catch the guys who have been a little bit better than us,” Pearn said. “We’ve just been continuing to gain on it. The rule changes this year have forced us to work on it, find a balance we’re happy with.”

He said with NASCAR making teams more even with rule changes, they have also made teams able to stand apart, but he doesn’t see it as a problem.

“Everybody screams they want parity and we’ve got closer parity and in that fact we’ve got more disparity I guess,” he said.

After battling up front early, Ryan Blaney was able to battle to a second-place finish behind Truex.

“We made good gains all night,” Blaney said. “When we started the day off I thought we were OK. … We made the car a lot better through the night. I thought we were in a good spot on the last restart starting fourth. Martin came down on the bottom and we couldn’t quite get by him.”

Blaney said he was happy to have a strong performance to possibly get the season turned around.

“We needed a run like that after the last few weeks we had,” he said. “I think our company as a whole is making good gains.”

Blaney said with the way the team has performed throughout the year, he thinks they’re close to getting a victory.

“I think we’re on the verge of that,” he said. “It’s just a matter of keep on working hard and try to find little things here and there to put us in that category.”

Despite the positives, however, Blaney said there was still disappointment in finishing second.

“I’m bummed we didn’t win the race because we were so close to doing it.”

Brad Keselowski became one of Truex’s bigger challengers after a two-tire stop at the end of stage two and a good restart put him on the point. He held the lead for 37 laps before Truex was able to track him down and get by.

“As the race progressed, we couldn’t stay with him,” Keselowski said. “We’ve been good, not great this year. You’ve got to be great to win. This is the closest we’ve been to great on mile and a halfs.”

Keselowski said he can see the progression as the Penske cars continue to improve.

“We can see the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We’re just 20 yards away. It’s just a matter of getting there, not taking a step back, taking a step forward.”

Kurt Busch led the second-most laps after staying out in the first stage while the leaders short-pitted. A two-tire stop at the end of the first stage gave Busch the lead again, which he was able to hold for 10 laps before being passed by Truex. He would lead one more time late in the race.

“I really enjoyed the way Billy Scott called the race because our lap times were really strong on the super-long runs, and that’s why he left me out there in stage one,” Busch said. “We didn’t get points, but it put us in good position for stage two and then we were ahead of the game to make a call again. It just kept us ahead the whole night. Even though we didn’t have the fastest car, we led a lot of laps tonight and it was fun to have the Monster Energy Ford out front. We probably would have ended up seventh and we finished sixth. It was a good battle.”

Despite not leading any laps, one of the stronger cars during the race was Kyle Larson, who raced from the back of the field after missing driver intros. However, a trackbar issue late in the race cost him and Larson ended up in ninth place.

“It’s hard to say if I would have had anything to win,” said Larson, consistently the strongest Chevrolet driver this season. “I drove by the 78 and then right after that we had our trackbar issue there and went plowing tight. Then we had to crutch it with wedge there on the last run and it drove OK, just built being back really tight at the last 25 laps or so. So yeah, it’s hard to say if I would have won or not, but I would have at least liked to have had the shot.”

There were four cautions in the race for a total of 22 laps, and 14 lead changes among seven drivers. The time of the race was two hours, 39 minutes and 43 seconds. Next week the Cup teams travel to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Bell recovers from qualifying spin to win Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway

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Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway on July 13, 2018 in Sparta, Kentucky. Jerry Markland/Getty Images

SPARTA, Ky. — Christopher Bell had to go to the rear of the field to start the 2018 Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway after a spin during qualifying, but he was able to battle back to earn his third-career victory in the Xfinity Series.

“Man, it was extremely difficult,” Bell said. “Starting in the back there, I knew my car was going to handle a little bit different than what it would at the front and all throughout practice I knew that we were — my car was capable of racing for the win. But when we started in the back, man, it just drives so different back there and the guys kept getting good pit stops and we’d gain a spot here, gain a spot there, get a good restart and the next thing you know we’re up there racing at the front and it’s driving totally different.”

Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff said while Bell took responsibility for his qualifying spin, it wasn’t all on him.

“I just over-adjusted the car, honestly,” Ratcliff said. “The good thing about it is both of us wanted to sit on the pole. We weren’t going out there to run second.”

Bell was asked what he thought when other cars were able to battle with Kyle Busch, who is often unstoppable in the Xfinity Series.

“I guess it shows he’s human and race cars matter at some point,” Bell said. “Back whenever I was buried, I think it was the second stage, the 42 passed him and won. That caught me off guard and I’m sure it caught a lot of people off guard.”

Daniel Hemric had a strong car late, able to take the lead on lap 144 before Elliott Sadler hit the wall in turn two after contact with Matt Tifft to bring the caution flag out. On the restart, Hemric took the inside line putting Justin Allgaier on the outside and Allgaier was able to take the lead from him on the restart.

Hemric said despite finishing second, he was happy with the team’s performance.

“It was a lot of fun from my perspective, especially having a shot at the end,” he said. “I thought the racing was really good considering the repave.”

Hemric said there were some things he could have done better to maybe have a better chance at the win, such as giving Allgaier the outside on the restart.

“Seems like the story of my life here lately,” he said. “Shoulda, woulda, coulda.”

After taking the lead on the lap 152 restart, Bell was able to get under Allgaier on lap 184 to take the lead away. Allgaier fell back several spots, but was able to battle back to finish fourth behind Kyle Busch.

“It was fun to have a shot there at the end,” Allgaier said, adding that he was struggling early on. “Our guys did a great job. They made great pit calls. I had awesome pit stops.”

Cole Custer closed out the top five after leading the opening 14 laps and staying near the front throughout the event. He said it was all the short runs at the end of the race that did him in.

“It was tough,” he said. “We had a lot of cautions there and we weren’t very good firing off, so that kind of hurt us. I’m happy we got our car a lot better throughout the weekend, our Haas Automation Mustang, but we just need to figure out how to get it a little bit better so we can compete for the win. We’re really fast at the end of a run, but we can’t compete at the start of a run, so we’ll go back and figure it out.”

Bell said while two wins this season is good, it’s not enough.

“Two wins is not a successful year for us,” he said. “We need to continue to win.”

He said he needs to do a little better to be able to contend for the championship this season.

“The guy beside me is doing his job,” he said of Ratcliff. “Everyone is doing their job. I need to execute my job a little better. For the most part we start the race every single weekend with a shot to win. That’s everything you can ask for as a race car driver.”

After going green through the first two stages, the race took on a different feel in the final stage, with two cautions right out the gate with spins from Blake Jones and Brandon Jones. In the end there were seven cautions for 32 laps.

Busch took the green and white checkered to win the first stage, while John Hunter Nemechek grabbed the lead from him late in stage 2 to win that stage. There were eight lead changes among seven drivers. The time of the race was two hours, 16 minutes and 29 seconds.

The Xfinity Series will next take to the track July 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Truex, Jones capture front row for Quaker State 400

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Martin Truex Jr. makes a lap during practice Friday at Kentucky Speedway. He would go on to win the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

SPARTA, Ky. — Martin Truex Jr. won the pole Friday evening for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. It was Truex’s 19th pole of his career.

Truex turned a lap of 188.890 mph in the final round of qualifying to capture the pole. He said after qualifying that it was a full team effort.

“I think it’s my team, man,” he said. “They’re incredible. We had a really good day today in practice.”

Truex said he was only 11th in the first round of qualifying, and the team made changes to make it faster as the rounds went on.

“I had to adjust my driving style. They had to adjust the car to suit that,” he said. “It’s all of us working the right way together and having that communication and trust. That’s what makes you able to do what we did today.”

He said he liked his chances at Kentucky. He won his first Kentucky race last season. But he said his team has been running well everywhere it goes.

“I feel like we’re running in the top five every single race,” Truex said. “That’s been encouraging. I feel like we could go anywhere and win right now and that’s what it takes.”

Truex’s teammate last season, Erik Jones, backed up his first-career win at Daytona last weekend with a second-place qualifying position at Kentucky this weekend. He said he’s being careful not to get too caught up in the success.

“At this point, you have to stay pretty level-headed,” he said. “We have a pretty fast car, and that’s encouraging for sure. We have 267 more laps left before we have to start worrying about (winning two weeks in a row).”

However, he said he believes he could have the car to do it this weekend, and he has high expectations.

“They’re pretty high,” he said. “We want to run pretty well in these next races before the playoffs. We’ve definitely got a lot of momentum in our corner right now coming into Kentucky.”

Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five qualifiers.

Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

UPDATED: Kyle Busch still upset with Stenhouse after Daytona wreck, Stenhouse responds

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Kyle Busch speaks during media availability Friday at Kentucky Speedway. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

UPDATED with comments from Ricky Stenhouse Jr.:

SPARTA, Ky. — Kyle Busch told reporters Friday during media availability at Kentucky Speedway that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. did not reach out after contact last week at Daytona that took out Busch and William Byron among others in one of several big wrecks at the superspeedway.

“I am disappointed that he did not,” Busch said.

Stenhouse clipped the left rear corner of Busch’s car on lap 66 of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway last Saturday night, turning Busch, who was running second, into leader William Byron and triggering a seven-car wreck that ended the nights of both Byron and Busch. It was the second crash that Stenhouse was involved in, as contact from Stenhouse also triggered a 26-car wreck on lap 55. Brad Keselowski, who was also involved in the crash, blamed that wreck on a bad block from Byron. As Keselowski lifted, Stenhouse pushed him from behind going into turn three to trigger the crash.

Busch said based on the two crashes, Stenhouse should have been contacting several drivers to apologize.

“He wiped out half the field,” Busch said. “I’m pretty sure there’d be a pretty busy Monday for him. But there wasn’t. So apparently he just doesn’t care.”

Asked if he will race Stenhouse differently as a result, Busch said he wasn’t thinking about it.

“I can’t worry about people that far back in the field,” he quipped.

Busch said he is of the mindset that if a driver feels bad for contact they make in the race, they should contact whoever they hit and apologize.

“If you don’t care, then don’t reach out,” Busch said. “If you did it purposefully, then don’t reach out. But if you actually have some remorse and you’re apologetic or you need to be, then I tend to reach out.”

“When I make mistakes or when I do things that I feel hindered other drivers, then I always reach out and just say something like, ‘Hey man, I hate I got into you. I’m sorry.’ Whatever, it’s not going to change the fact but at least you took that step. That’s my mindset. Other drivers have different mindsets.”

Stenhouse originally declined comment, but after his qualifying run he leaned in Busch’s car and talked to him. Stenhouse was asked afterward by NBC during its coverage of qualifying if he had a change of heart.

“Not really a change of heart,” Stenhouse told NBC. “I just told him why I didn’t reach out. I felt like he ran his mouth enough on his radio and then after the race that I didn’t really have anything to say to him. I honestly feel like I normally do reach out to people when I make mistakes, and I clearly made a mistake. But with him running his mouth I just felt like I didn’t really need to call him.”

Stenhouse said he told Busch to choose his battles wisely, because while he’s not running up front now, he could be down the road, or Busch would need to lap him.

“‘You will have to deal with sometime whether you’re lapping me or we get our cars better and we’re running up front racing with you,’” Stenhouse said. “I told him if he wanted to keep running his mouth, he could come over and do it around me and I’d stop it for him.”

When asked whether the issue was over, Stenhouse said it was.

“Yeah, I mean, I’m fine,” he said. “But if he wants to keep running his mouth, he can come over and do it to me.”

Ben Rhodes earns second-career victory at his home track

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up in Your Truck 225

Ben Rhodes, driver of the #41 The Carolina Nut Co. Ford, celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway on July 12, 2018 in Sparta, Kentucky. Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

SPARTA, Ky. — It was a great homecoming Thursday night for Ben Rhodes at Kentucky Speedway, as Rhodes used pit strategy to get ahead of Stewart Friesen and held him off to win his second-career Camping World Truck Series race.

Friesen took the lead on lap 88 and led until green flag pit stops during the final stage. But Friesen took two tires on the final stop and Rhodes took fuel only, allowing him to leapfrog and cycle through in the lead ahead of Friesen. Friesen tried to battle back in the final run, getting close but not able to make the move, giving Rhodes, a Kentucky native, the win on his home track.

“I still don’t have any words,” Rhodes said when he got out of the truck in victory lane. “This is amazing. Dreams come true. This has been such a long time coming. These guys deserve this so much.”

Rhodes said the team has been strong all season, but hasn’t been able to show it with its results.

“This is exactly what we needed,” Rhodes said.

The win was Rhodes’ first in 2018, and his first top-10 finish at Kentucky Speedway.

Rhodes said it was extra special to win at his home track.

“This is sweeter than my first win,” he said. “This isn’t Daytona. It hasn’t been around since well before I was born. … It doesn’t have the history that Daytona does. But it has the history for me.”

He said he drives by the track all the time, including when he drives to ThorSport Racing, which is based in Ohio.  

The race got off to a slow start, as John Hunter Nemechek and Tyler Matthews got together in turn two, causing Matthews to hit the wall and spin, bringing out the caution on lap one. It was the only caution the entire race that wasn’t due to the conclusion of a stage.

Parker Kligerman also got into the wall late in the race after leading twice for 12 laps, forcing him to retire with damage, but no caution was thrown for the contact.

There were three cautions in the race for 14 laps. Noah Gragson dominated the early part of the race, leading three times for 62 laps. But a loose wheel and a slow pit stop relegated him deep in the field after winning the second stage. He was only able to battle to an eighth-place finish. Rhodes led four times for 38 laps, while Friesen led twice for 37 laps.

Matt Crafton came home third, Brandon Jones fourth and Nemechek rounded out the top five.

Rhodes’ Crew Chief Eddie Troconis said he feels with the win, his team is Championship 4 ready.

“One hundred percent yes,” Troconis said. “We haven’t dominated like the 21 and 16. We have run with them every race. Unfortunate things have happened.”

Troconis said he feels his team should have at least three wins at this point this season. The win will change the way the team handles the next five races before the playoffs.

“It’s definitely a game-changer,” he said. “We’re definitely a championship contender. I’m looking forward to Homestead the whole way.”

The trucks next head to Eldora Speedway where they will battle it out on the only NASCAR dirt race of the year next Wednesday night. Friesen, a dirt veteran, is one of the favorites going into Eldora, but he said after the race that nothing was certain. Last year Friesen dominated the race only to give up the win to Crafton late.

“Cautiously optimistic,” Friesen said about his thoughts going into Eldora. “I have a little bit of an advantage there. Matt’s (Crafton) is good there. There’s some good kids coming in.”

He said his team was going to bring everything it had though.

“We’ve had it circled on the calendar all year,” he said. “I know we’ve built the best piece we can for it. We’re not just bringing whatever’s on the shelf.”

Rhodes said his win this weekend takes the pressure off Wednesday night. “I can go have fun, enjoy it,” Rhodes said. “There’s no pressure on me this time.”

He said he hasn’t had a chance to prepare for the race by running dirt races like his teammate, Crafton, and others have done.

“THe last time I raced on dirt was a year ago,” Rhodes said. “We’ve got a lot of dirt ringers in the field, and Matt Crafton’s become one.”

“Everybody wants to win Eldora,” he said.