Not even a pit road penalty could completely stop Kyle Busch’s dominating performance and prevent his eventual win in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night.
“We don’t ever make anything too easy,” Busch said in victory lane. “We had our work cut out for us coming back to the front.”
Busch wound up leading 80 laps in the 134-lap race to claim his fifth Truck Series win in eight races at Charlotte.
Brendan Gaughan finished second.
“He took the air off and killed my momentum,” Gaughan stated as the reason for his inability to catch and pass Busch for the win in the closing laps.
Max Gresham finished third, bettering a previous career-best series finish of 11th. Matt Crafton finished fourth after going a lap down when a caution came out soon after he made a green-flag pit stop and then going a lap down, again, later in the race for an unscheduled pit stop when he suffered a tire issue. Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five.
Jeb Burton started on the pole for the third time in five races, but lost the lead to Dillon at the start. Busch took the lead and began his race of dominance on lap four.
Gaughan took the lead by staying out while others pitted during the first caution of the race that came out on lap 17. Busch lost a few more spots when the race returned to green, but worked his way back up to second by the time the next caution came out just a few laps later.
Busch moved back into the top-spot by lap 40. On lap 52, having stayed out during the lap 17 caution, Gaughan headed down pit road for a green-flag pit stop. Meanwhile, Busch continued to lead and built up a cushion of more than five seconds by the halfway point of the race.
Busch got off pit road first after taking fuel only during a caution that came out on lap 83, but had to return to pit road to serve a penalty for pulling out of his pit stall with his fuel can still attached. While serving the penalty, Busch took on four fresh tires and restarted the race in the 19th position.
Meanwhile, Gresham and Miguel Paludo restarted the race in the top-two spots after staying out. When the race returned to green, Gresham dropped back, but Paludo was able to remain up front. Keselowski then moved into the second spot, behind Paludo.
After the race restarted from a caution that came out on lap 104, Busch quickly moved into second. He then took the lead from Paludo on a restart that followed the seventh caution of the race with about 20 laps to go.
“You just go where they ain’t,” Busch said of his ability to get back to the front, explaining the strategy as something he learned by watching the late Dale Earnhardt.
Another caution came out soon after, and on that restart, Gaughan moved into the second spot. But he was unable to catch Busch.
James Buescher finished sixth, Paludo was seventh, John Wes townley eighth, Ross Chastain ninth and Justin Lofton 10th.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR