Kyle Busch would put on a clinic at Charlotte Motor Speedway as he dominated the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, leading all but four of the 134 laps. It marks Busch’s 38th career victory and his third victory in three starts this season. For Busch, it also marks his fourth victory in his last four starts dating back to Homestead-Miami Speedway in November of 2013.
Busch started on pole and led there, only failing to lead four laps when Joe Nemechek stayed out under caution.
“With all that debris, you’re never sure if you’ll avoid running over something,” Busch commented. “Can’t say enough for these guys in the effort that they put in. It was a fun race for us. We were really strong, especially on the long runs; it seems guys would fall off.”
For Kyle Busch Motorsports, they have now won five of the last six races, with Toyota winning six consecutive races in a row.
Matt Crafton ran second all night to claim his third top 10 finish of the year as he leads the point standings, 11 points ahead of Timothy Peters.
“I’m going to have to whoop him,” Crafton said afterwards. “I’m getting tired of it but my guys did a great job tonight. We had enough fuel to get the track position back and I thought I could run with him but it got real tight. But like I said, it was a great race.”
Brad Keselowski would finish third for his second top 10 in five starts at Charlotte. Keselowski got four tires late and weaved his way through traffic, running out of time at the end.
“We tried to snooker Kyle but we need to find some more speed,” Keselowski commented. “We’re working on it and getting better.”
John Wes Townley and Timothy Peters rounded out the top five, followed by Johnny Sauter, Austin Dillon, Ben Kennedy, German Quiroga and Justin Lofton.
The race featured many incidents throughout as a bunch of drivers left the track upset and disappointed with their efforts. Justin Jennings was the first driver out of the event as he spun and hit the wall after a tire went flat at lap 19.
On lap 28, Jake Crum and Ryan Ellis would get together. Crum didn’t take lightly to the incident, spinning Ellis into the wall with 48 laps to go.
Ron Hornaday didn’t have a smooth night as he went spinning at lap 73, with the field luckily avoiding his No. 30 Rheem Chevrolet. Hornaday would start to work his way back up through the field, when he’d move down in front of Ben Kennedy, not being clear and result in another crash, this time collecting Mason Mingus and Crum.
“I feel bad for these Turner-Scott guys as they keep giving me good trucks and I keep screwing it up,” Hornaday said. “Come back through there and had a good run on Ben, thought that I’d cleared him and hadn’t.”
Restarts didn’t play nice tonight as Scott Riggs tried to move up and Tayler Malsam was there, resulting in Riggs sliding sideways and getting into Darrell Wallace Jr. Wallace would be a little shook up, but otherwise okay.
“I’m good now. It’s unfortunate,” Wallace commented. “We had some troubles with our battery. It looks like Riggs didn’t know we were three-wide, came up and squeezed them. I made the call to pit to change the battery and now I got to live with that call. We had a rough night at Kansas and then a rough night here.”
Blaney didn’t get a good draw either as Townley came down on him, resulting in Blaney going for a trip into the grass and then across the track and into Brian Ickler and the wall with 30 laps to go.
“We had a run on the 5 (Townley) and I was inside the 5 and he just pushed me in the dirt,” Blaney said. “We were side-by-side for a long time and he just turned dead left so not sure what he was thinking there. Felt like I had a truck to catch the 51 and the 88 and shit happens.”
Perhaps the worst luck of the night goes to Jeb Burton as he had a good run going inside the top-five when he’d wreck on the last lap after he and German Quiroga got together as they raced for position around the lap truck of Norm Benning.