CRAFTSMAN TRUCK Michigan 200Final
Kvapil edges Busch to win Michigan 200Jun 16, 2007 - 10:01 PM By Bruce Martin PA-SportsTicker Contributing Editor
BROOKLYN, Michigan (Ticker) Kyle Busch just can't win this week.
Travis Kvapil passed Busch with one lap remaining to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Michigan 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
Earlier this week Busch lost his Nextel Cup ride at Hendrick Motorsports when the organization signed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to replace him at the end of the 2007 season.
On the track, Busch lost a fierce, side-by-side battle over the final seven laps when Kvapil finally made the pass for the win heading to the white flag.
One lap later, Kvapil had scored his first win since September 2004. The Ford F-150 driver's average speed was 135.369 miles per hour.
Kvapil finished 0.292 seconds ahead of Busch's second-place Chevrolet Silverado.
"I didn't want to go too soon," Kvapil said. "I knew I was a little better than Kyle, I just didn't want to get out there too soon. I knew I had a better draft than Kyle, I just had to pick the right time. All the drivers love to come to Michigan because you can race anywhere on this track. We had to search around and find that groove on the race track."
Busch was driving for team owner Billy Ballew in the NCTS race.
"I was too loose all day, couldn't get the rear of the truck behind me," Busch said. "It was a solid effort by these guys. Hopefully we can come back and try to get Chevrolet another win here. I was all over the track, tried the middle, the bottom and the top but could never find the right line where I wasn't too loose.
"We never could tighten it up. We made some radical adjustments and it would only work for about five laps before it started getting loose again. I was racing, man. That's all I had."
Busch said he took the high line in the closing laps because it tightened up his truck while Kvapil was getting loose using the low groove. But in the end, Kvapil was able to take the lead with 1-1/2 laps left.
Brendan Gaughan was third in a Chevrolet followed by Mike Skinner and Ted Musgrave, both in Toyota Tundras.
Gaughan's third-place was his first top-five finish of the season.
"I came here just looking for a good run," Gaughan said. "For Father's Day I didn't want to tear this truck up and give my dad another bill to fix the truck. In the end, I was able to pass them all back and Mike Skinner was on the bottom and it's fun to track with great race car drivers."
There were 13 lead changes among four drivers. Busch led four times for 38 laps. Mark Martin led four times for 35 before his Ford F-150 blew up on lap 47.
There were four caution flags for 16 laps. The final came for debris on lap 82.
With 17 laps to go, Busch took the green flag and tried to drive off from Kvapil with Gaughan trying to use the high line to get to the front.
But Busch's truck became very loose with seven laps to go and that allowed Kvapil to get underneath. The two trucks were side-by-side for half a lap before Busch pulled ahead on the backstretch.
Kvapil gave it another run in Turns 3 and 4 and once again, Busch was able to hold him off.
With five laps to go, Kvapil made another move with Busch's Chevrolet still wiggling from worn-out tires.
With two laps to go, Busch had Kvapil on his rear bumper, once again going side-by-side only this time Kvapil got the lead coming off the fourth turn.
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