HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Cale Gale saw a chance and James Buescher saw a championship.
On the final lap of the two-lap overtime, Gale got side-by-side with leader Kyle Busch and slammed into Busch’s truck – leaving both to cross the finish line fender-to-fender.
Gale won the photo finish by 0.014 seconds to claim the victory in Friday night’s Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The win is his first in the NASCAR Truck Series in 32 career starts.
“I can’t believe I’m standing here,” Gale said in Victory Lane. “Coming off of (Turn) 4, that’s not my driving style but it was my first chance at a NASCAR victory.
“I know it was Kyle Busch but I don’t get opportunities like this very often. I had a great opportunity this year. I don’t know what’s in store for me next year.
“I had to take it while I could.”
Busch didn’t mince words about the final lap. When asked what happened, he replied, “I got drove into the fence.”
James Buescher, who entered the season finale with an 11-point lead over Timothy Peters, finished 13th – good enough to clinch the series championship by six points over Peters, who finished eighth in the race.
Buescher, 22, finished the season with four victories – the most of any driver – and 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes in 22 races.
“It was close. Ty (Dillon) was giving us a run for it,” Buescher said. “I just about went in the fence myself but I held it together and everything came our way.
“It’s been a long season. This truck has won us four races this season and now it’s won us a championship. We had a shot at it last year and we came into this season swinging.”
Ty Dillon, who entered the race 12 points behind Buescher, appeared ready to close in for a shot at the championship late in the race.
Dillon was running second when Kyle Larson dove inside him to attempt the pass. The two made contact and ended up a wreck which also collected Ryan Blaney.
“We tried to hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth,” Dillon said. “It didn’t work out.”
Joey Coulter finished third in the race, Nelson Piquet Jr. was fourth and Miguel Paludo was fifth.