Kyle Busch picks up fifth truck win of season

LOUDON, N.H. (AP) - Kyle Busch kept looking in his mirror, expecting to see Kevin Harvick on his bumper ready to challenge for the lead.

One problem: Harvick couldn't get one of his best employees to get out of the way.

Busch managed to stretch his fuel over the final 60 laps and took advantage of a communication breakdown between Harvick and Ron Hornaday to pick up his fifth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the season and third in his last three starts.

Not bad day for a truck Busch admits wasn't the best on the 1.058-mile oval at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"I was going to be all right with a second or third, that's the truck that we had," Busch said. "But you've got to let things play out sometimes and today we did."

Things turned Busch's way after Harvick and Hornaday kept wrangling over second place. The two spent most of the final 50-plus laps racing side-by-side, with Hornaday seemingly unwilling to let his boss slip by.

At one point Harvick shouted at his spotter and crew chief over the radio and later gave Hornaday a not-so friendly tap on the bumper as a warning.

Hornaday, in the middle of a title race, still wouldn't let Harvick pass, rebuffing him at every opportunity.

A visibly steamed Harvick walked over to Hornaday's truck on pit road after the race, leaned inside and gave Hornaday, who was looking for his third straight win at New Hampshire, an earful.

"I felt like one of the two trucks should have won the race," Harvick said. "I felt like we were in a little bit better shape ... just some things internally we probably need to work on there."

Harvick thought the plan was simple. He wanted to pass Hornaday on the outside, not wanting to chance getting loose and wrecking them both if he tried to pass on the inside.

Yet Hornaday wouldn't budge, a fact Harvick blamed on the inability of the spotter and crew chief to relay the plans to Hornaday.

Hornaday wasn't sure what exactly the problem was and didn't appear to be too worried about ticking off his employer.

"It was a good day until after the race I guess," he said.

Hornaday led 101 laps and was able to stretch his lead over Matt Crafton to 217 points with six races remaining.

"I just ran as hard as I could," Hornaday said. "I was racing I guess, I don't know."

It wasn't good enough to overcome Busch, who has now won a Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck race at New Hampshire.

This one wasn't easy. At one point Busch worried that debris on the front of the truck was causing the engine to overheat. The piece of plastic finally fell away, but a wobbly right front tire and fuel worries left things very much in doubt.

Crew chief Richie Wauters estimated Busch was probably five laps short on fuel, but a late caution and the infighting between Hornaday and Harvick allowed Busch to pull away.

"I kept waiting to get run over at the restart," Busch said.

He didn't, and instead continued his mastery of the truck series. The 24-year-old has five wins and 10 Top 10 finishes in 11 starts this year.

Though he did eventually run out of gas, but not until he was on his way to Victory Lane.

"The kid is amazing," Wauters said.

The inability of Harvick and Hornaday to make a late run for the lead surprised Busch. He figured Harvick had the best truck at the end of the race, but he wasn't complaining when Harvick and Hornaday spent the last laps racing each other instead of trying to chase him down.

"It left the door open for me to win the race," Busch said. "I don't care. We were up front enough that we were able to do that and take advantage of that. I'm glad we didn't have to race Harvick because I felt he had the better tires and the better truck."

The fireworks between Hornaday and Crafton that highlighted last week's race at Gateway never materialized. Crafton finished fourth was never a factor, though he did have a brief run-in with Harvick, who gave Crafton a little tap early in the race.

Pole-sitter Mike Skinner faded to eighth after a quick start.

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