CONCORD, N.C.— After Friday night’s dominating performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch is a full-fledged, bona fide member of the “Untouchables,” at least where the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is concerned.
Leading 130 of 134 laps after starting his Toyota on the pole for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, Busch claimed his third truck series triumph in as many starts this season and his fourth consecutive dating to last year’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The victory was Busch’s 38th in the series and his sixth at Charlotte.
“It was a fun race for us,” Busch said. “We certainly had a dominant piece. We were just really, really strong, especially on the long runs. I beat ‘em a little bit here or there, but it seemed like in traffic, I didn’t lose as much as most of the other guys.”
Matt Crafton ran second, giving Busch and the defending series champion their second straight 1-2 finish after last week’s run at Kansas Speedway.
Brad Keselowski came home third, followed by John Wes Townley, who posted his career-best result. Timothy Peters ran fifth after pitting for tires under the final caution.
After the race, Keselowski summed up Busch’s dominance succinctly.
“I think Kyle is probably in a class of his own,” Keselowski said. “It would have been a great race if Kyle wasn’t here.”
Keselowski got a quick second from Crafton.
“It’s damned frustrating to finish second to him two weeks in a row,” said Crafton, who extended his series lead to 11 points over Peters.
Busch had led 100 of the first 104 laps – the only exceptions coming when Joe Nemechek stayed out under the fifth caution – when Townley knocked Ryan Blaney’s Ford into the infield grass from a three-wide logjam in the tri-oval.
Townley careened into the outside wall, collecting the Toyota of Brian Ickler, to cause the seventh caution, a yellow-flag period that gave contending trucks behind Busch the chance to pit for new tires.
Keselowski, on new tires, advanced from 10th to seventh after a restart on Lap 114, but on that same lap, Ron Hornaday Jr. spun on the backstretch across the nose of Turner Scott Motorsports teammate Ben Kennedy, collecting the trucks of Mason Mingus and Jake Crum in the process.
“I had a good run, and I thought I cleared Ben, and I didn’t,” Hornaday explained, apologizing for the contact.
Keselowski climbed to third after the final restart with 13 laps left but couldn’t catch Crafton for second. The race ended under caution when Jeb Burton spun through the tri-oval grass after Busch had taken the white flag.
Notes: The victory was the sixth straight in the series for Toyota, dating to November 2013 and matching the manufacturer’s longest NCWTS streak. … Busch has won 38 times in 118 truck series starts, a remarkable winning percentage of 32.2. … Busch scored his 29th perfect driver rating in NASCAR’s top three national series combined.