Date: May 17, 2019
Event: N.C. Education Lottery 200 (Race 8 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Format: Three Segments; 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 8th / 1st (running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Kyle Busch and the No. 51 Cessna/Beechcraft team laid down another dominating performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the N.C. Education Lottery 200. In his fifth and final NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the season, the owner-driver earned his fifth win, going five-for-five on the season. The 51 team posted the fourth and 10th-fastest times in two practices respectively on Friday morning, and then Busch qualified his Tundra in the eighth position in one round of single-vehicle qualifying.
After a hot and sticky day of practice and qualifying, the sun set over the famed 1.5-mile oval, and Busch wasted no time making his way to the front of the field once the green flag fell. He took the lead on lap five, from teammate Todd Gilliland, but gave it up a few laps before the end of the first stage to hit pit road for a four tire stop. Busch would go on to lead five times for 102 of 134 laps, winning the second stage and overall race to earn his 205th career NASCAR National Series win and his 56th victory in 150 Gander Trucks races.
Stage One Recap:
- Qualifying for the event consisted of one round of single truck qualifying, and Busch earned the eighth starting position.
- Under caution on lap 25, crew chief Rudy Fugle opted to bring Busch down pit road for four tires and fuel. The 51 Cessna Tundra would restart in seventh.
- At the stage conclusion, Fugle kept Busch on the track.
Stage Two Recap:
- Busch began the second stage in fifth and retook the lead on lap 41.
- During the second stage, Busch reported that the handling of his Tundra was trending loose, and then would swing toward the tight side.
- Fugle called him to pit road following the end of the stage for four more Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel.
Stage Three Recap:
- The 34-year-old owner-driver began the final stage at the front of the field.
- Under caution on lap 87, Fugle called the 51 to pit road for another four tires and fuel.
- On the restart, Busch was in ninth, but marched relentlessly through the pack, retaking the lead in just six laps.
- After the final caution flag flew on lap 128, Busch held off a hard charging Ben Rhodes to pick up his eighth Gander Trucks win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and his 56th career Gander Trucks win, bringing his National Series win total to 205.
How would you describe the night?
“I mean our truck was really, really good. These guys did a great job preparing such a fast Tundra for me. I want to thank Cessna, Beechcraft, of course Toyota, TRD, Rowdy Manufacturing. It takes a whole group effort and Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and these guys are awesome at what they do and give me great pieces each and every time we come out here. We don’t unload – we have not ever this year, we haven’t unloaded great but we’ve really worked on our stuff and improved it through practice and even into the race. There at the end that last restart – I didn’t want to have that last restart there. I knew being on older tires was going to be a handful for me. It looked like it was for a couple of the other guys. I just didn’t get a very good restart, but then I was still able to hold them off thankfully.”
Five for five for you. Is that a personal achievement? Something you can brag about?
“Sure. All of those things. I wouldn’t say necessarily brag about it, but it’s something we set out to do a couple of years ago. We just haven’t been able to accomplish it, but with Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) here this year, we had some really fast Tundras and we tuned on them really well in order to get ourselves in position each time. Again, we had fast pit stops. Everything had to come together and everything had to align to be able to do what we did here this year with going five for five. It feels good. We won the last race I guess I was in last year too, so it’s six-in-a-row, right? It’d be nice to have more opportunities to run more races I guess. For me anyways. But probably not for anybody else. That’s why I’m only allowed five.”
N.C. Education Lottery 200 Recap:
- Kyle Busch won the race by 1.115 seconds followed by Brennan Poole, Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured seven cautions for 31 laps and 19 lead changes among nine drivers.
How Busch’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra, finished 11th
Gander Trucks Owner Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team leaves the eighth race of the season ranked first in the Truck Series Owner’s Championship Standings, 35 markers ahead of second-place.
Veteran driver Greg Biffle will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra when the Truck Series returns to action Friday, June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Live coverage of the Rattlesnake 400 begins at 9:00 p.m. EST on FS1.