Updated March 4, 2023 - 9:36 am
There were many reasons why Kyle Busch wanted to keep his NASCAR Truck Series program going when he was in the middle of switching Cup Series teams and manufacturers toward the end of last season.
Running second was not one of them.
The two-time Cup Series champion and native Las Vegan recaptured the lead at the halfway juncture of Friday night’s Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 and cruised to another Truck Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Busch started from the pole before a loose wheel on his No. 51 Chevrolet during his first pit stop sent him to the back of the field. But he quickly drove back to the front en route to finishing 4.9 seconds ahead of second-place Zane Smith’s Ford.
It was the 63rd Truck Series win of Busch’s illustrious career and his fourth in seven starts on his hometown oval. It also got his busy weekend — in which he’ll also drive in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 Cup Series main event — off to a flying start.
“It’s a lot of fun just to race in the Truck Series, an honor to come out with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports), my own team, and just kind of work on our stuff,” said Busch, who led 84 of the 134 laps. “Another great memory in Vegas, but a whole new group and still winning, so it’s fun.”
Ben Rhodes finished third in a Ford, followed by Corey Heim in a Toyota and Ty Majeski in a Ford.
Elliott to miss 400
Fan favorite and 2020 Cup Series champion Chase Elliott was injured while snowboarding in Colorado on Friday and will sit out Sunday’s Pennzoil 400. Xfinity Series regular Josh Berry will replace him behind the wheel of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Team owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement that Elliott would undergo surgery Friday night on his left leg.
“Chase’s health is our primary concern,” Hendrick said. “He’s spoken with several members of our team and is understandably disappointed to miss time in the car.”
The Las Vegas race will be the first the son of former NASCAR star Bill Elliott has missed since making his Cup Series debut in 2016. He had made 218 consecutive starts beginning with that year’s Daytona 500.
Rookie on Xfinity pole
Chandler Smith turned a lap of 183.119 mph in his Kaulig Racing Chevrolet to earn the pole position for Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 Xfinity Series race.
It will be the 20-year-old Chandler’s first pole start in six career Xfinity races. Veteran Justin Allgaier will start outside on the front row with Cole Custer, Brett Moffitt, Josh Berry and Parker Kligerman rounding out the top six qualifiers.
Las Vegans Riley Herbst and Kyle Busch will roll off 10th and 11th, respectively.