Last week, Travis Kvapil was on his way to victory until Todd Bodine moved him out of the way in the final laps. This week, Kvapil got his redemption. The 2003 champion held off a hard charging Brendan Gaughn and passed leader, Kyle Busch coming to the white flag to score his sixth career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory in the Michigan 200.
Early on, Mark Martin was the class of the field. Martin, who qualified on the outside of the front row, at one point had a 2 second lead over the field. He led for 35 laps and appeared to be untouchable. But the engine under the hood of his #21 truck was not. With 60 laps to go, Martin's engine expired, placing the fastest truck on the track in the garage. He finished 33rd.
"Mark was the class of the field today,'' said Kyle Busch. "He was gone. Nobody could touch that thing. But thankfully we could make a race out of it when his motor went.''
From this point on, it was anybody's race. The battle for the lead was fierce, at some points going 3 and 4 wide. Kyle Busch was around the front of the pack all race long and found his way to the lead with 30 laps to go. Aided by a couple of late race cautions, Busch was able to hold the lead. After the caution came out with 10 to go for Jack Sprague's blown tire, Busch restarted with the lead over Brendan Gaughn and Travis Kvapil. Kvapil powered his way past Gaughn on the low side of the track and set his sights on a struggling Kyle Busch.
"I was all over the place, the middle, the bottom, the top,'' Busch said. "I just could never find a place that would let me get a good run off the corner. Our truck was good enough, solid enough to win the race, but just not quite good enough to get where I needed to be off the corner.''
While Busch tried to find a line his truck liked, Kvapil was able to close right up on his back bumper with 4 to go. Kvapil bided his time and got a great run coming off of turn 4, coming to 2 to go. He put the nose of the #6 K&N Filters F-150 underneath the #51 Chevy in turn 1 and completed the pass at the beginning of the backstretch. Busch was no match for Kvapil as he took the white flag, the checkered flag and the win.
"I knew I was a little better than Kyle, but I just didn't want to get out there too soon," said Kvapil. "It feels like it's been forever. There were big shoes to fill after Mark Martin left this team.''
It was Kvapil's first win since returning to the truck series this year and his second career win at Michigan. He did it with chassis 43, the same chassis Mark Martin used in 3 of his victories last year with Roush-Fenway Racing.
Kyle Busch was able to hold on to second place. Brendan Gaughn and points leader, Mike Skinner were side by side at the line. Gaughn edged Skinner out for 3rd.
Following race number 10, Skinner still holds the points lead over Hornaday and Bodine. With his win today, Kvapil moves up two spots to 4th.