Busch Takes the Fifth at Charlotte

Kyle Busch

Busch celebrates his fifth Truck Series win at CMS. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

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CONCORD, N.C. - Friday was only Kyle Busch’s seventh NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in the last 19 months, yet he had gone winless in those starts, an unusually long drought for one of the series’ most successful drivers.

Busch returned to Victory Lane, overcoming a pit road penalty to win the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Brendan Gaughan placed a season-best second and Max Gresham finished a career-high third.

Busch admitted it was “frustrating’’ not to have won last year when he was strong even in limited appearances. He finished second at Daytona this year. His race ended early because of an accident at Kansas in his only other truck series appearance before Friday.

Busch had to overcome a pit road penalty to score his first win of the season and 31st in his career. It also was his fifth Truck win at Charlotte.

Busch was penalized for removing equipment from his pit box on lap 84 of the 134-lap race when the fuel can remained connected to the truck as he exited his stall on a gas only stop.

“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to me,’’ Busch lamented on the radio.

He restarted 19th but was in the top 10 within 10 laps.

He admitted late cautions help put him in the right place to pounce. Those cautions were not so kind for others.

Johnny Sauter, who entered the race second in the points, crashed after he was hit by James Buescher. They made contact just after a restart and then the second contact ended Sauter’s race. He finished 28th. Sauter fell from second to sixth in the points.

Matt Crafton remained the points leader after his fourth-place finish. He holds a 22-point lead on Jeb Burton, who placed 13th. Ty Dillon, who finished fifth, climbed to third in the points.

Gaughan was frustrated with his runner-up finish but he admitted that wasn’t bad.

“It feels great to be mad as hell again,’’ Gaughan said. “For the last eight years, you look at Kevin Harvick get out of the race car pissed off he finished second. I remember sitting at home, going, “Dude, I’d give anything to get a second-place finish right now.’

“When you’re driving Chevorlets that are this good you can be mad. I had a truck that was gaining on Kyle Busch. If I’m a little more on my game, when he goes to take my air, I go to the bottom and I continue to gain on him and make a race out of it. That’s what I was mad about.

Gresham, who had never scored a top-10 finish in 20 previous career starts, placed third and said “this is really just a win for us.’’

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