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Busch Outduels Bowyer for Truck Series Win

by Pete McCole
Saturday, May 21, 2011

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Kyle Busch wins another one
Getty Images for NASCAR

Kyle Busch survived a wild, wreck-filled race on a wing and a prayer - and with an angel on his shoulder.

Busch overcame tire problems and an early spin to rally and beat out Clint Bowyer to claim his 28thNASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Busch passed Bowyer with seven laps to go and held off Bowyer’s no. 2 Kevin Harvick-owned Chevrolet over the final laps to beat Bowyer by .317 seconds at the line.

But according to Busch, it was more than just him and his crew that helped him win the race.

“We didn’t have the truck to beat tonight, Clint Bowyer did,” said Busch. “Somehow I found some more out of it and I’m going to say that I had some help tonight. I didn’t have the truck to win tonight and I think I had an angel riding with me.”

Busch’s no. 18 NOS Energy Toyota Tundra carried decals honoring Zahra Baker, a 10-year-old disabled girl from Hickory, N.C. who was found brutally murdered last year. Zahra’s father and stepmother have been charged with her death and are awaiting trial.

“I can’t say enough about Zahra Baker and her troubling story and what all she went through as a little girl,” said Busch. “Unfortunately, her life was cut very, very short and we put her on the side of the truck tonight in order to give her some remembrance and some vindication maybe. 

“I had an angel riding with me there on that last run.  If you believe in that stuff, if you trust in that stuff and you have faith in it -- it can come back and repay you.  It means the world to me tonight.”

It was Busch’s second straight Charlotte truck series victory and his third consecutive win. He’s finished in the top five in all six of his truck series starts this season.

Cole Whitt finished third, followed by James Buescher and Ron Hornaday, Jr.

In race that saw a record-tying 10 caution flags, Saturday’s event turned into a wreck-fest with quarter of the field bowing out early.

Two-time series champion Todd Bodine got the cautions started early in the event, pounding the inside backstretch wall on lap nine. Former champion Ron Hornaday, and pole sitter Timothy Peters also ran into trouble.

Busch got his share of the action on lap 53, breaking loose on his own in turn four to bring out the fourth caution flag. Busch suffered minor damage and was able to come to pit road, get fresh tires and make adjustments to his truck that proved to be key.

“We spun out and we only lost a few spots, we came to pit road and Eric (Phillips, crew chief) made a bunch of changes,” said Busch. “I don’t know what he did….got me something that was definitely a lot better.”

Busch was one of several drivers who placed the blame on the wreck-fest squarely on the tires Goodyear brought to the track for the truck series, calling the tires “horrible”.

“Goodyear just brought the wrong tire for the trucks to race on,” said Busch. “Tonight it was especially hard to pass, hopefully next year we can talk Goodyear into bringing a better tire here for us so we can out on a better race. Goodyear does a great job for us, but tonight just wasn’t it.”

Up front, Bowyer held the lead through 46 of the final 53 laps, but struggled with an ill-handling truck and was easy pickings once Busch started reeling him in.

After Busch passed for the lead, Bowyer managed to stay within a truck-length, but lost too much ground on the final lap to challenge for the win.

“We were too loose,” said Bowyer. “I knew going through practice that we were going to have our hands full. The tire was definitely down on grip, and that makes this place even more difficult to get around. We just…lost.”

Rookie Cole Whitt scored his second straight top-five finish in his first career Charlotte Motor Speedway start, and in doing so took over the points lead by one point over Johnny Sauter, becoming the first rookie in series history to lead the point standings.

Sauter, Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Justin Marks and Brad Sweet rounded out the top 10, while former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen finished 15th in his NASCAR debut.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 6 18 Kyle Busch Toyota NOS Energy Charged Citrus 0 134 Running
2 2 2 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Ollie's Bargain Outlet 0 134 Running
3 11 60 Cole Whitt * Chevrolet Red Bull / Fuel Doctor 42/1 134 Running
4 5 31 James Buescher Chevrolet Exide Batteries 41/1 134 Running
5 15 33 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet Utz Snacks 40/1 134 Running
6 7 13 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet SafeAuto Insurance Co. / Curb Records 39/1 134 Running
7 3 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / NWTF 37/0 134 Running
8 10 29 Parker Kligerman * Dodge Penske Truck Rental 36/0 134 Running
9 25 66 Justin Marks Chevrolet GoPro 35/0 134 Running
10 4 32 Brad Sweet Chevrolet Great Clips 34/0 134 Running
11 21 5 Travis Kvapil Toyota International Trucks / Monaco RV 33/0 134 Running
12 17 4 Ricky Carmichael Chevrolet Monster Energy 32/0 134 Running
13 28 77 Justin Lofton Toyota Lofton Cattle 31/0 134 Running
14 16 23 Jason White Chevrolet GunBroker.com 30/0 134 Running
15 31 15 Kimi Raikkonen Toyota Perky Jerky 29/0 134 Running
16 23 22 Joey Coulter * Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing / Darrell Gwynn Foundation 28/0 134 Running
17 26 92 Clay Rogers Chevrolet fleetHQ.com / BTS Tire & Wheel Distributors 27/0 134 Running
18 22 84 Chris Fontaine Chevrolet Glenden Enterprises 26/0 134 Running
19 35 99 Bryan Silas Ford CollegeComplete.com 0 134 Running
20 24 20 Johanna Long * Toyota Panhandle Grading and Paving 24/0 134 Running
21 8 8 Nelson Piquet Jr. * Chevrolet Bozzano-Jontex 23/0 134 Running
22 29 46 Craig Goess * Toyota Greenville Toyota of N.C. 22/0 133 Running
23 32 93 Shane Sieg Chevrolet S&W Services 21/0 129 Running
24 18 39 Ryan Sieg Chevrolet S&W Services 20/0 128 Running
25 13 9 Max Papis Toyota GEICO 19/0 125 Running
26 14 88 Matt Crafton Chevrolet Mullican Great Lakes Chevrolet / Menards 18/0 109 Running
27 9 30 Todd Bodine Toyota Germain.com 17/0 107 Running
28 20 81 David Starr Toyota Zachry 16/0 106 Accident
29 33 102 Jamie Dick Chevrolet Viva Auto Group 15/0 95 Accident
30 27 62 Brendan Gaughan Toyota South Point Hotel & Casino 14/0 75 Accident
31 30 50 T.J. Bell Chevrolet Liberty Tire Recycling / Pinnacle Rubber Mulch 13/0 69 Accident
32 1 17 Timothy Peters Toyota Red Horse Racing 13/1 62 Accident
33 36 28 Wes Burton Chevrolet FDNY Racing 11/0 43 Accident
34 19 07 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Wear Your Gear 0 40 Axle
35 12 7 Miguel Paludo * Toyota Stemco / Duroline 9/0 25 Engine
36 34 138 Mike Garvey Chevrolet S&W Services 8/0 4 Transmission

* Denotes Rookie

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