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Busch wins fifth truck race at Charlotte
Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch won a Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a record-extending fifth time after he bounced back from a pit road mistake in Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200.
During a round of pit stops under caution on lap 84, Busch had the gas can still attached to his No. 51 Toyota when he was leaving his stall. NASCAR officials handed him a stop-and-go penalty for removing equipment from the stall. Busch fell back to 19th in the field for the restart on lap 88. He had led 66 laps before the infraction.
Busch passed Miguel Paludo and reassumed the lead just before the eighth and last caution came for a hard wreck involving Darrell Wallace Jr. Justin Lofton, who won his first career truck race at Charlotte one year ago, and Brad Keselowski were also involved in the wreck but continued on.
After the final restart with eight laps to go, Brendan Gaughan challenged Busch for the lead, but Busch held off Gaughan at the finish by 0.47 seconds for his fifth win in eight truck starts at Charlotte. His other victories here came in 2005 (his first career win in the series), '06, '10 and '11. He did not compete in last year's race here.
"I wish I could've led a few more laps tonight," said Busch, who led a total of 80 laps. "We never make things too easy, do we? It's certainly was an eventful night for us. It's cool, though, we had a great truck."
Busch claimed his 31st career truck victory but his first since Sept. 24, 2011 at Loudon, N.H. He has competed in just eight races in the series since his Loudon win.
Gaughan's second-place run marked his third consecutive top-five finish. He finished third on April 14 at Rockingham, N.C. and then fourth on April 20 at Kansas.
"I was catching (Busch), and he knew I was up there high (on the track)," Gaughan said. "He took the air off, and it killed my momentum. I started to gain on him again, but he was just too good."
Max Gresham's third-place finish marked his career-best in the series. Matt Crafton, the current points leader, crossed the line in fourth, while Ty Dillon completed the top-five.
Crafton also rebounded from adversity, falling one lap down after pitting under green just before a caution came and then dropping a lap behind again after he had to pit for a tire that went flat.
"With 20-something laps to go, I finally got that "lucky dog" (return to lead lap during caution) and then drove to fourth," Crafton said. "I'll take that for the night."
James Buescher, the defending truck champion, took the sixth spot, followed by Paludo, John Wes Townley, Ross Chastain and Lofton.
Crafton now holds a 22-point advantage over Jeb Burton, who moved up to second in the standings despite his 13th-place finish. Burton, the pole sitter, suffered a track bar issue on his truck late in the race.
Johnny Sauter fell from second to sixth in points (-37) after finishing 28th. Sauter got loose and crashed into the wall after Buescher bumped into him.
Sauter, who won the first two races this season (Daytona and Martinsville), held a 12-point lead over Crafton, his ThorSport Racing teammate, after Kansas, but Sauter's No. 98 team was hit with heavy penalties from NASCAR for an unapproved fuel cell discovered in his truck during opening-day inspection there. Sauter and team owner Mike Curb were both docked 25 points. Crew chief Joe Shear was suspended for four races, fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
05/17 23:54:02 ET
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