BRISTOL — Kevin Harvick extended his winning streak in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Wednesday night, while rival Kyle Busch’s winning streak at Bristol Motor Speedway came to a crashing halt.
Harvick won a third consecutive Truck Series race and the 12th of his career, leading the final 103 laps of the O’Reilly 200,
“Three in a row, that’s pretty cool,” said Harvick, driver of t he No. 2 Chevrolet. “Our truck was a little tight on the restarts, but the pit crew won this race for us tonight with a smoking pit stop. They picked up four spots for us, and that was key with the way track position was.”
Busch, who came in Wednesday’s race with five consecutive victories in NASCAR’s three national touring series on the high-banked short track and three straight at Bristol in the Truck Series, finished 30th after making contact with polesitter Elliott Sadler midway through the race.
Fuming after the incident, Busch pointed fingers squarely at the Harvick camp.
“Just look where his paycheck comes from,” Busch said as a reference to Sadler driving for Harvick in the Nationwide Series.
Harvick retorted that Sadler was actually driving for truck owner Joe Dennette in Wednesday’s race.
“That just shows how smart Kyle Busch is,” Harvick said. “Elliott wasn’t even driving for us tonight. We can get as dirty as Kyle Busch wants. If he doesn’t want to race like that, he can go somewhere else. He’s just a big crybaby and you can’t fix that.”
Busch and Sadler rubbed fenders earlier in the race before contact on lap 99 left Busch’s No. 18 Toyota with significant damage. Busch, who retaliated two laps later by spinning out Sadler, went to the pits for repairs and did not return to the track.
“I pulled a slide job on him earlier tonight and he hit me three times,” Busch said. “I tried to slide by him again and get to the top (of the track) and he dumped me anyway and wrecked us.”
Sadler blamed the incident on a lack of communication between Busch and a member of his own race team.
“He came up the track and I was already there,” Sadler said. “It was more between he and his spotter. He just wrecked himself tonight.”
Behind Harvick, Johnny Sauter finished second in a Chevrolet. Rounding out the top five were: Todd Bodine in a Toyota, James Buescher in a Chevrolet and Timothy Peters in a Toyota.
With his finish, Sauter extended his lead in the Truck Series standings to seven points over second-place Buescher. Peters ranks third, 15 points behind the leader.
Earlier in the evening, Sprint Cup star Ryan Newman successfully defended his title in a 150-lap race for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series. After making the winning pass on lap 128, Newman beat runner-up Justin Bonsignore by a 1.826-second margin.