CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Busch never tires of winning, even though he does it more often than anyone else.
Busch led 90 of 134 laps in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and completed a dominating victory in the event, sweeping both early stages of the race and taking the checkered flag .986 seconds ahead of runner-up Johnny Sauter.
The win was Busch’s seventh in 11 starts at the 1.5-mile track, his second of the season in three starts and the 48th of his career. No other driver in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history has won more races at a single track.
After diverging pit strategies under the fifth caution on Lap 71 scrambled the running order near the end of the second stage, Busch took control of the race with a breathtaking pass on the backstretch on Lap 78, splitting the middle between Sauter and eventual sixth-place finisher Matt Crafton.
“It was fun,” said Busch, who collected his 173rd NASCAR national touring series win. “We had a really fast Cessna Tundra tonight. It was a challenge there in the middle part of the race. It was confusing for a while there, but we got through it.
“There near the end of that stage, we shot through the middle there. I thought the middle was going to close up and I was going to have to push Sauter, but Crafton left me a lane and I was able to blow through there.”
Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Christopher Bell ran third, overcoming early trouble to stay within striking distance of Sauter, the series leader. Bell started from the pole but cut a left rear tire three laps into the race and went a lap down.
Regaining the lead lap as the “lucky dog” for a restart on Lap 65, Bell worked his way to the front. He was running second when a caution for Matt Mills’ spin on Lap 128 brought out the ninth and final caution and set up a three-lap run to the finish.
Sauter, who extended his series lead to 15 points over Bell, got the better of the young Toyota driver on the restart and rolled home in second.
“I struggled on restarts, man,” Bell said afterwards. “I’m pretty bummed that I ran third with a second-place truck.”
Ryan Truex charged into fourth place after the final restart and posted his best finish since last year’s season opener at Daytona. It was his first top five in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on an open-motor track.
Timothy Peters ran fifth, followed by Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Noah Gragson and Parker Kligerman.
Notes: Justin Haley’s No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet entry failed the height requirements in post-race inspection following his 17th-place finish in Friday’s race. That infraction carries with it a loss of 10 points in the driver and owner standings and a one-race suspension for the team’s crew chief, per the rulebook.
Contributing: Staff report