SPARTA — With less than half of Friday night's Built Ford Tough 225 race remaining, it appeared Todd Bodine was going to suffer through another typical hard-luck evening for him at Kentucky Speedway.
In five previous races at the Sparta track, Bodine had an average finish of only 13.2. And following a spin through the grass on Lap 81, that number didn't figure to get much better.
Instead of succumbing to his usual struggles at Kentucky, however, Bodine and his No. 30 Toyota team simply fell back on what has become the norm for them this season.
The current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader gave another demonstration why he holds his current commanding lead, rallying from a midrace spin and stretching his fuel window to its limits to capture the 150-mile test over Johnny Sauter for his fourth victory of the season.
Cup Series star Kyle Busch — who was aiming for his fifth straight win in a NASCAR event, regardless of series — finished seventh despite leading a race-high 73 laps. Busch qualified fourth but started at the rear of the 36-car field because of unapproved changes to his truck.
For all of Bodine's noted prowess on 11/2-mile tracks, Kentucky had been a source of angst for the former series champion as he was winless at the tri-oval and had finished 11th, 27th and 16th in his last three trips there.
When Bodine got loose coming out of Turn 4 while battling Busch on the inside for the lead with 69 laps remaining, it seemed the latter would be the one primed to do the Victory Lane hat dance.
Thanks to some quick pit- road work to repair a panel and a stop for fuel only on Lap 92 that somehow lasted over the final 58 laps, Bodine was able to work his way up to fifth with 24 laps to go and took the lead for good when leader Austin Dillon came in for two tires and fuel with 13 laps to go.
"That's the way the trucks are, someone comes down next to your quarter panel you get loose," Bodine said of his spin. "We got a great run on Kyle, he ran me tight through Turn 3 and 4, and it finally just came around on me.
"But our misfortune turned into our fortune because that's what gave us the little extra fuel to get to the end. We just kept pedaling and pedaling, and the last 10 laps I was running half throttle. But we had a great truck."
Though Bodine was eight seconds in front of Sauter with nine laps to go, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. figured the No. 30 truck was slated to run out of gas with about a lap and a half left.
Busch, who had pitted with 24 laps to go, had charged his way back into the top 10 and was lurking should the teams in front of him start suddenly finding themselves on "E."
Instead, even with his conservative tactics on the throttle, Bodine still had a 71/2-second lead as he rattled off the final two laps.
"I think that proves we're not points racing," Hillman said. "If we were point racing we would have come in for a splash of gas and finished seventh or eighth. I'm just so proud of these guys."
Bodine, who qualified 14th and earned his 21st career truck win, had words with Busch after Bodine thanked his rival for "driving dirty" in Victory Lane.
Busch was not approached for comment after the race.
"I used to have the highest respect for Kyle, but I'm losing it now," Bodine said.
Bodine extended his lead in the standings to 261 over third-place finisher Aric Almirola with seven races remaining.
"You can't relax, anything can happen," Bodine said of the championship race. "But this team does a great job in the shop, a great job in the pits and that's what makes up a championship team."