In what has been one of the most dramatic and exciting seasons in Camping World Truck Series history, it could only have ended like it did in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with rough racing and sparks flying pulling a curtain on the 2012 season.
Cale Gale led just one lap during Friday night’s year ending spectacular, but it was the right one, the last one. Gale was side by side with Kyle Busch, who had dominated the closing laps of Friday night’s race, as they came out of turn two headed for the checkered flag.
Busch pulled ahead by a nose the following corner, but Gale drove into turn four and took the advantage. As the fair headed for the start finish line there was contact between the two. Gale pushed Busch up into the wall and secured the win, the first Truck Series win of his career, by just
“I can tell you right now, coming off of four, that’s not my driving style,” Gale told SPEED inVictory Lane. “It’s my first chance to taste NASCAR victory, and I know its Kyle Busch, but I don’t get opportunities like this very often. I’ve had a great opportunity this year; don’t know what’s in store for me next year, but I had to take it while I could.”
Busch said afterwards that he simply felt like he “got drove in the fence” by Gale. It would have been Busch’s first win in his own Truck in 2012.
Joey Coulter finished third in the Ford EcoBoost 200, followed by the Brazilian duo of Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Miguel Paludo.
The spotlight shined brightest, though, on 13th place finisher James Buescher winning his first Camping World Truck Series championship.
“Everybody on this team did a fantastic job,” Buescher said of his championship winning Turner Motorsports team. “W had a shot at it last year, but we came into this year swinging and did a lot of work over the offseason. It definitely paid off. This is definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever done in racing.”
It was a bitter disappointment for Ty Dillon, who in the closing laps made his way up to second and sat just one point away from taking the points lead away from Buescher. With just two laps to go, third place Kyle Larson dove to the inside of Dillon, causing both of them to be sent into the wall. The incident also collected Ryan Blaney.
Larson later tweeted: “Watched the replay of the wreck. Feel really bad for Ty Dillon. I definitely would never wreck someone on purpose. I just drove over my head.”
He continued by tweeting: “Also would never do that to help a teammate out. Can’t really express how bad I feel about it all.
His second message was in response to a comment made by Dillon’s truck owner and grandfather, Richard Childress, who said “A Turner truck took us out. I figured he would.”
“I’m not blaming (Larson) for what happened,” 20 year old Dillon said after Friday night’s title loss. “It’s just a racing move. Probably could have been avoided with patience from both sides.”
After the incident, which brought out the red flag ahead of a green-white-checkered finish, Dillon finished 25th and ended the year fourth in points.
“We just missed that championship by a little bit, but I’m all right with everything that played out. We were going for it. We almost had it. We were trying to hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth and almost did it. But it’s all right. We’ll be back next year, fighting harder than ever.”
Timothy Peters finished eighth Friday night and finished second in points, six points out of the lead.
With that, an intense 2012 Camping World Truck Series season came to an end. We can only hope, with rumors that the series is headed to the famed dirt track of Eldora and will is scheduled to make a trip over the border inCanada, that 2013 will prove to be just as thrilling.
Thanks to NASCAR on SPEED, NASCAR.com, and Racing Reference for the statistics, quotes and information used in this piece. Photo credit to Yahoo.