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CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Busch “didn’t have the truck to beat tonight” but he managed to find a little extra after the last restart and passed Clint Bowyer with six laps to go and pulled away for the win. The race was marred by 10 cautions, which tied the track record for caution laps in a Truck race. There were also 10 lead changes in the race among seven different drivers. Bowyer led the most laps in the race and finished second ahead of Cole Whitt, who took over the points lead with his third-place finish. James Buescher crossed the line in fourth place while Ron Hornaday rounded out the top five.
Johnny Sauter ended up sixth in the race and payed a visit to Hornaday on pit road after the race to voice his displeasure with some of Hornaday’s tactics. Austin Dillon brought his RCR truck home in seventh place in front of Parker Kligerman. Finishing off the top 10 were Justin Marks and Brad Sweet.
This is Busch’s 28th victory in 91 Camping World Truck Series starts. The win moves Busch into a tie for second on the all-time win list in the Truck Series with Mike Skinner and Jack Sprague. He is still 19 wins behind Hornaday. It also marked his 97th win in the national touring series of NASCAR, which ties him for third all-time with Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip. This is also his fourth win in seven races at Charlotte.
Busch’s victory had special meaning for him because the Kyle Busch foundation had Zahra Baker’s name on the side of his truck. Baker is a young girl from Hickory, N.C. who was killed in 2010. Busch’s foundation works with kids who are in living situations that are not ideal and not of their own doing. With all of the attention to Baker’s death in the area Busch and his wife Samantha thought it would be a fitting tribute to her after all she went through. Busch felt like Baker rode along with him and helped him find the little bit extra he needed at the end of the race because his truck was not as good as Bowyer’s.
Bowyer figured out when it was too late what Busch had working for him. “We were too loose. He ran me down there at the end and when he passed me I figured out why. He was way tighter than we were. They obviously made an adjustment when he spun there and tightened him up a lot.”
Bowyer and Busch both echoed the sentiments of a majority of the drivers in the race who felt the tire was lacking in overall grip. “I don’t know what the deal was with the tire. This tire was down a ton on grip.” Bowyer said. “The Cup tire has a lot more grip. It is asking a lot for these kids in this series to learn with this tire but, you learn from your mistakes and we all had the same tire.”
Busch noticed the same thing in his truck. “Tonight was especially hard to pass. When you got close to another truck you just lost the truck and had to search everywhere to find a way to get past the other truck. When I got in the truck for practice I thought it was going to be a long day, but when I got in the Cup car it had a ton more grip. Goodyear missed it with this tire tonight.”
Whitt was pleased with his night and felt he learned a lot from his first test on a true intermediate circuit. “Points lead is pretty amazing for our team. This was really the first true test on a mile-and-a-half track for me. We went to Homestead but this place is so different. The corners are so long and sweeping and you race it completely different.
“When you get around other trucks it takes the air off of your truck and you have to get used to that. We got behind in the pits on strategy and we moved up to that top groove and we were the first ones up there and that made a big difference because of the clean air up there.”
Whitt is the first rookie to lead the series points and is also the youngest driver to ever lead the series points.
Whitt does feel as though a win is coming in the future. “I feel like we could win at any time. When Kyle and Clint show up it makes it tougher but I feel like we can win any time we show up at the race track.”
Busch’s crew chief Eric Phillips had a long day trying to make the truck work for him. “Struggled all day to get the truck Kyle wanted. The tires threw us for a loop and we were loose all day. We made the adjustments when he spun that finally got him tight and that helped us win.”
Busch was asked about his win total in relation to some of the bigger names in the sport “You look at the names that you’re chasing. Earnhardt had like 10 Nationwide wins and the rest Cup (actually it was 21 and 76) and Darrell had like 13 and 84. So you look at that and you say wow. Then you look at Richard Petty who had 200 wins and you say wower.”
Finally Busch was asked about the possibility of Kimi Raikkonen running a Nationwide car next week. “There is a Nationwide car in our shop. I don’t own it but there is a Nationwide car in our shop and it is not a Joe Gibbs car. If Kimi makes the transition to Nationwide next week and they are on the Cup tire he’ll be able to handle a little better.”
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