Both Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundras started the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway in the top five. Brian Scott qualified third in the #18 Shore Lodge Toyota with a speed of 96.068 mph (19.711 seconds), while Denny Hamlin qualified the #51 Toyota in fifth with a fast lap of 95.815 mph (19.763 seconds). Timothy Peters won the pole position for the Camping World Truck Series event with a speed of 96.411 mph (19.641 seconds).
Hamlin would go to the rear of the field to start the race due to conflicts between Sprint Cup practice and the Truck Series’ drivers meeting, but felt confident enough in his KBM machine to take the 31-place penalty and started 36th on the field. That confidence was justified on track, as Hamlin ran some of the fastest laps of the race during the 200-lap event, and put himself in the runner-up spot when the final caution flag flew on Lap 188. A bump-and-run move on Matt Crafton in the final segment put Hamlin in the lead, and from there he built up a nearly 2-second lead to take the win, KBM’s first of the 2012 season in the Truck Series.
“Yeah, I love this place and, man, that’s short track racing at its finest,” said Hamlin post-race on the KBM website. “I gave the 88 (Crafton) extra room on the outside. I went to the second lane and didn’t want to crowd him into (turn) one and tried to pass him on the outside and he shoved up into me and pushed me into the third groove. I just got back to him, so I didn’t wreck him or anything like that – you’re going have contact at Martinsville. I would expect the same thing from anyone else. I tell you’ve I lost a bunch that way and just proud of this whole effort. I have to thank everyone from Toyota for putting this deal together – they didn’t really have much of a sponsor for it – thanks for having me back. Just got to thank everyone who is a part of this program because I don’t get to race these races that often, so I’ve got to take advantage of them when I do.”
Hamlin’s win, his second-straight for KBM in the fall Martinsville race, makes him the 14th different driver to win in the Truck Series this season, tying the record set in 1998 and 2005.
Scott, in his first Martinsville start since 2009, finished 10th in the race, earning his second-straight top 10 finish in four starts for KBM this season.
The Camping World Truck Series returns to the track next Friday, November 2nd at Texas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch will be behind the wheel of the #18 Tundra, while German Quiroga mans the #51 truck. Busch will also be racing the #54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, November 3rd. Stay up-to-date with KBM at www.kylebuschmotorsports.com.
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