Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

Kyle Busch takes Daytona trucks race

DAYTONA BEACH — Kyle Busch made a little history at a pretty big track.

Busch used a perfectly timed pass to win Friday night's NASCAR truck series opener, becoming the first driver to win an ARCA race, a trucks race, a Nationwide Series race and a Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch edged Timothy Peters in the final few feet to provide one of the closest finishes in series history.

Peters led coming out of the final turn in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 and did all he could to block Busch, nearly forcing him into the outside wall. But Busch didn't blink and drove by Peters just before the finish.

It was Busch's 36th series victory and first at Daytona.

"Well, it sounds awesome," said Busch, acknowledging he'd rather win the Daytona 500. "This has been eluding me. I finally got one."

Johnny Sauter was third followed by Ryan Truex, Ron Hornaday and Ryan Blaney.

This finish was the series' closest in 15 years at Daytona.

On Lap 74 of 100, "the big one" struck. A major wreck, so common in restrictor-plate races, involved 17 trucks and took 10 out of contention. No driver was hurt.

Rain delayed the start for about an hour.

Rookie on top: Dylan Kwasniewski won the pole for his Nationwide series debut — the first rookie since Rusty Wallace in 1985 to win the pole at Daytona — by following Turner Scott Motorsports teammates Danica Patrick and Kyle Larson through traffic.

Kwasniewski, 18, ran a lap at 192.078 mph in the rain-shortened qualifying. Larson was second with a lap at 192.074, and Patrick was third as Turner Scott's cars went 1-2-3 for today's DRIVE4COPD 300.

"Danica did a fantastic job of leading us through the pack and getting us clean through there," Kwasniewski said.

The session was the first for NASCAR's new multicar, knockout-style qualifying format.

Safety first: An incident Wednesday in Cup practice — when a car stayed on the track after it flipped up into a wall barrier — reinforced track president Joie Chitwood's belief that everything is in place for fans to have a safe experience.

Improvements were made after Larson's car went flying during a Nationwide race last year and car parts went scattered into the stands, injuring a handful of fans.

"The fence did exactly what it was supposed to," Chitwood said. "There was a kink in one of the cables. We got out there and repaired it, actually quicker than we thought we would. We want to do everything possible to keep our fans safe, and I think we've shown our commitment to do that."

Hall nominees: Former Cup champions Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte are among first-year nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Drivers Buddy Baker and Wendell Scott and team owners Robert Yates, Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress also were nominated by a 22-person committee.

Drivers no longer have to be retired to get elected; they are now eligible if they have competed for 30 or more years or turned 55. Labonte, 57, is racing in Sunday's Daytona 500

NHRA: John Force led Funny Car qualifying at the CarQuest Nationals in Phoenix with a run of 3.990 seconds at 317.79 mph. Doug Kalitta (3.735 seconds, 327.74 mph) led Top Fuel and Chris McGaha (6.530, 210.64) topped Pro Stock after two of four attempts.

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