Kyle Busch put on a virtual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing clinic at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night, leading 130 laps of the 134 that made up the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 on his way to his sixth-career truck win at Charlotte and his third win in four races this year. As for the race Busch didn’t win — he didn’t enter.
“This Hiring Our Heroes Toyota Care Toyota Tundra was awesome tonight,” Busch said. “I just can’t say enough about all these guys. I just can’t say enough about all these guys — everyone at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports, everyone at TRD (Toyota Racing Development), Monster Energy and Joe Gibbs Racing engines — this thing was stout under the hood today. It showed in qualifying, and it showed in the race.”
The one other driver to lead the race, Joe Nemechek, led four laps under caution after staying out while others pitted with just under 50 laps to go. Busch retook the lead soon after the race restarted, and Nemechek wound up finishing 11th.
Matt Crafton finished second and Brad Keselowski was third. Crafton ran second to Busch for the final third of the race.
“We started the night off — we were definitely off — really tight,” Crafton said. “The place didn’t free up quite as much as it usually does from what I’ve seen. We just kept making small adjustments — small adjustments to make it better. We made it quite a bit better for the short run. I could run with Kyle. I ran about five back from him for five, six, seven laps; then I got tight just like I was all night. I think if we had one more adjustment, I don’t think he would have been able to drive away from us like he did at the end right there.”
The race was attrition filled, with nine cautions, seven of those coming in the second half of the race. The race ended under yellow when Jeb Burton and German Quiroga made contact on the final lap as they tried to get through lapped traffic.
A couple of the late-race cautions resulted in trucks getting airborne. Ryan Blaney got air after being crowed off the track by John Wes Townley on lap 104. On the next caution, at lap 114, Ron Hornaday’s truck was lifted off the ground from behind.
Townley was able to continue on to a fourth-place finish, a career best, while Timothy Peters finished fifth. Johnny Sauter was sixth, Austin Dillon seventh, Ben Kennedy eighth, Quiroga ninth and Justin Lofton rounded out the top-10.