CONCORD, N.C.— In a race that was dominated by Martin Truex, Jr., it was Austin Dillon who made it to victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 after pushing the limits in the gas tank.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I can’t believe it. I was just really focused on those last laps. My fiancé wrote in the car, ‘When you keep God in the first place, he will take you places you never imagined.’ And, I never imagined to be here at the 600 Victory Lane,” said Dillon. “Praise the Lord and all these guys who work so hard; and my pit crew is the best on pit road. I love it for them. We’re in the Chase. It’s awesome.”
This is Dillon’s first career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This is Dillon’s first race with crew chief, Justin Alexander, on top of the pit-box. This is his first victory in 133 races. Dillon becomes the 10th driver to score his first career victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
When many drivers were hitting pit road for tires and fuel, Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Joey Logano stayed out in an effort to conserve fuel and make it to the end. Johnson had the race in the bag, but ran out of fuel going down the backstretch on lap 398. Dillon was able to conserve enough fuel to score the victory. Dillon ran out of fuel right as the checkered flag fell. Dillon was able to make it back around for one victory spin.
After running towards the front for majority of the night, Kyle Busch finished in the second position. Busch was able to get out front in the opening stage of the race to score the one playoff and 10 championship points. Busch led 63 laps, but fell short of victory to finish second at Charlotte.
“This M&M’s Camry was awesome tonight. It was just super fast. I mean we had one of the fastest cars all night long and then the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) was probably the fastest car. There at the end, somehow we ran him down. You know he got a straightaway out on us, but there that last 100 laps we were able to get back to him and pass him so you know that was promising for us there at the end in order to get a second-place finish, but man just so so disappointed,” said Busch. “I don’t know. We ran our own race. We did what we needed to do and it wasn’t – it wasn’t the right game. We come up short and finish second.”
After dominating majority of the race, Truex Jr was unable to catch Dillon on fresh tires. On his final march to the lead, Truex used up his tires quickly and was unable to catch Ky. Busch and A. Dillon. Truex was able to finish in the third position after leading 233 of the 400 laps. With his performance tonight, Truex was able to snag the points lead from Kyle Larson.
“That stings a little bit, but can’t say enough about the guys on the team and everybody in Denver. Everybody on this Bass Pro Toyota did a heck of a job today. We just – we missed it a little bit on our last adjustment. I think if not for that we probably could’ve gotten the 3 (Austin Dillon), said Truex. “And then lapped traffic is just so tough here. There’s a few guys out there that you don’t ever know where they’re going to be when you get to the corner and it cost you so much time trying to pass them, ultimately that’s what got us. It is what it is. Like I said, we’re proud of everybody at TRD, at Toyota, Bass Pro and all the partners. Just came up a little short tonight.”
Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick, Newman, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top-10.
The Coca-Cola 600 was stopped shortly after lap 143 due to a brief rain shower. The red flag lasted one hour, 36 minutes, and 59 seconds for track drying operation. The caution flew a total of nine times for 53 laps. There were 23 lead changes among 10 different drivers.
Truex assumed a five point lead over Larson. Keselowski sits in the third position 82 points behind Truex. Kevin Harvick sits fourth in points only 103 points behind Truex. Ky. Busch rounds out the top-five in points only 105 points behind Truex.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams is a trip to Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Driver For Autism. The race will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.
CONCORD, N.C— With the announcement of the suspended operations of Red Horse Racing, Kyle Busch was adamant on Friday that things need to change in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for it to be viable.
According to Busch, Kyle mentioned the it takes $3.2 million per season to run a fully competitive team in NCWTS, while advocating for reducing the costs.
“Our cost is 3.2. That's how much it takes to run a full operation of a truck team, and that number should be around 2, and how to get it lower, there's some engine talks I know and some body talks I know, but we're hitting it, but we're only hitting it about a half a million by doing that,” said Busch.
What is the biggest cost for teams? It is the people.
“Your biggest expense is your people, and that's where it all comes from. But as far as our model goes, it does work right now thanks to the support of Toyota, thanks to the support of the (Noah) Gragson with Switch, and the Myatt Snider’s and the Bubba Wallace's sponsors and Erik Jones' sponsors and the people like that that we've had over the course of the years that were able to make it all work.”
As Cup guys own teams in NCWTS, it is not about the money. There are many challenges for people like Busch and Brad Keselowski, who fields two teams in NCWTS.
“To really make it work and to drive your costs down, you have to have three teams, and even four teams makes it even better, but we're not to the point yet where we're ready to grow because we still need to develop our third team and make it a strong force to be reckoned with each and every week,” said Busch. “But once we get to four teams, people are mad at us because then we're too good, people can't beat us, whatever you want to say, so people are mad that we're overtaking the sport, which all we're trying to do is continue to help and build it, but there's a double‑edged sword in anything that I do anyways, so we just keep working on it, keep trying, and make it work as best we can for us."
With the 2018 schedule being released this week, people like Kevin Harvick have advocated that the NCWTS moves more to a “grassroots” schedule, something that the series was built on in its early inception.
"I would definitely enjoy that model of going back to those race tracks. Now again, how you accomplish that and how you get that done, that's for people a hell of a lot smarter than me to figure out, but I would certainly enjoy seeing the Truck Series go back to Tucson, or even around here, go to Motor Mile, go to some of these short tracks that you can put 10, 15, 20,000 people in the stands for an exciting truck race because in all honesty, that's the crowd count that you're getting at a mile‑and‑a‑half anyways, so pack the place, make it look good, and put on a good show for the fans and go back to some of the roots of short track racing that these drivers are coming up from, that the trucks came from, and Friday night shows, Saturday night shows, whatever it might be at some of these cool short tracks, and I think you'll put on a great show, you'll have the fans come out and support that. It's just how to make the model work. There's TV money involved, there's sanctioning agreements involved, there's all kind of too much behind‑the‑scenes BS that I'm not smart enough to figure out, but hopefully somebody can be smart enough to figure it out. Maybe this guy can figure that out,” said Busch.
The question was raised about if going to these smaller tracks would be a challenge and how would it work.
"Well, you just said it right there. If we make less money you're digging our grave, so the sanctioning agreements can't be for any less money, that's for sure. We actually need them to be for more. In order to cut our costs, we need to be able to make more money or compete for more money to race for more winnings. If you cut our winnings out, you might as well just say goodbye. You know, there's a problem in that fact right there, too. You know, it's just ‑‑ it's about trying to get the butts in the seats,” said Busch. “That's what matters most. If South Boston packed the place every single time and made money and NASCAR made money, the teams made money and all of us would still be going there, so there's obviously something that was missing, and I don't know what that was. But to figure that out and to be able to pack some of these short tracks and to put the trucks back on some of those standalone events, it's all about exciting moments, exciting racing, having some rooting and gouging, and it's probably worth having fights in the pits. That's what it all comes down to, and you know, we'll see if any of that happens."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also chimed in about the importance of the truck series and XFINITY series.
“Yeah, we moved our Truck team up to the Xfinity Series to make another team there. When I was in the series we went to South Boston and places like that and I miss watching those races. They were great races. I don’t know if the business model works to be able to go back and undo everything we’ve done, but I’d rather tune-in and watch them run the beach or the fairgrounds. Man! I’d love to go run a Xfinity race at the fairgrounds, in our cars. That would be at the top of my list if it was on the schedule,” said Earnhardt Jr. “I run Richmond and Bristol. That’s the only ones I’m running this year because that’s the only short track action you can find. But, the 1.5-miles just aren’t that fun. We run too many of them for it to be fun. We rarely run the short tracks. So, you try to get as much of that as you can. Not everybody is the same. This is just me talking. I don’t know if all the drivers like short tracks that much. But, I would certainly tune-in.”
Busch believes that the interest and sponsorship are just not there for the Trucks.
"I don't know what Brad's (Keselowski) scenario is. You'll have to ask him. I do believe that I have heard that he puts money in himself. I know that I put money in myself. You know, I wouldn't say that the model is working for us. I just think that we're content with the amount of money that we are spending,” said Busch. “That makes it worth our while. There just aren't any big sponsors. There aren't any Fortune 500 companies I think besides M&M's, Mars, with Pedigree now that's joining us with Todd Gilliland with Pedigree to be on our truck, and it's just not ‑‑ there's not enough people on TV, there's not enough people in the stands. The sponsorship just doesn't come. They just don't care, and that's the most frustrating part of it.”
After qualifying on Thursday night, Harvick expounded even more on the initial comments he made on his radio show "Happy Hours" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“I can’t walk anywhere and not have somebody talk to me about the Truck Series schedule. I think it’s something that a lot of people want to say and haven’t said, but I think it’s definitely time to look at the grassroots sides of things and I think the Truck Series is a grassroots division. If you could just for example take it somewhere like Nashville Speedway and pair it up with the All-American 400 and put the All-American 400 in Nashville back on the map with a Truck Series race with some SAFER barriers, get the city of Nashville involved and that’s just one race. I think it would be very interesting and I feel like that regionally is a big touring race. You go up to Oxford, Maine, but getting the TV to these cars and these local racers and these people and the enthusiasm that it brings to a local market, that’s what the Truck Series does," said Harvick. "When you look at Eldora and you look at the road race in Canada, you look at these one-off events and every one of them are well attended, every one of them are exciting and well attended. We need events and I think it’s a great way to reinvest from the bottom up in different facilities and you could sit here and name a bunch of them, and what better way to show them you care than by putting soft walls up at the race track somehow and some way to get the cities involved and the race track and work on getting those sanctioning fees down and get them to places where they can knock the fenders off of each other and put on a great show, much like they do at Eldora. I mean, it’s got 20-some thousand people there every time we show up and everybody loves watching on a Wednesday night.”
When asked how it works, Harvick quickly went on how TV funds most everything in today's world.
TV money is still how everyone survives. That’s the reason a lot of these race tracks take these Truck races now because the TV money went up, so there’s a reason that they want to keep them. But there are ways to make all of this work. Everybody doesn’t need to have their hand out, they need to be thinking from the bottom up and how do we make this better?," said Harvick. "You look at some of these historic, just really great short tracks across the country. I’m not saying we need to take them from Daytona or Phoenix or some of these other places, but there are some places that they don’t need to be going and I think it would be interesting to revive the Copper Classic and start the season with the Trucks out there and see the sprint cars show back up and TV is gonna be there to cover it, so now you can film all these races and put these guys on TV. All of a sudden there’s TV there and they can get better sponsorship, so there’s a lot of things that you could do and, like you say, it has to be something that everybody buys into that is worried about making money.”
What can be done? That is something NASCAR and teams are looking to fix.
CONCORD, N.C-- After a daring move to go three-wide on the start of the final 10 lap shootout, Kyle Busch went victorious in the Monster Energy All Star Race. Busch was able to sweep the weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway by winning tonight and the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 last night.
“It’s the All-Star race for one and for two, we’ve never won at Charlotte in a Cup car so we finally achieved that goal tonight and won the All-Star race and won a million bucks, so there’s reason to celebrate and to celebrate big. I can’t say enough about this team, everybody on this M&M’s Camry, this M&M’s Caramel Camry this week. First race, first win for those guys. Being a whole new product and being on the shelves here in May, it’s a whole new launch and a whole new program and it’s here to stay, so everybody pick up your caramel,” said Busch. “Can’t say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief). You have Adam Stevens and these guys in the pit box and you can rely on them all day long. I had to do that tonight. You know we weren’t quite the fastest car, but we made the right changes when it mattered most. We made the right moves when it mattered most and we got the most out of our night tonight and got here to victory lane. Feel so relieved, alluded, proud and excited all in the same time.”
This was Busch’s 12th attempt to score an All-Star victory, and his first victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
After dominating the first two stages, Kyle Larson was able to finish in the second position after losing some track position in the third stage by going to the “option” tires.
“My pit crew has been awesome all year and I don’t want to take anything away from them. We came down pit road the leader and three people passed us, that was pretty much the difference there. But, in ten laps, track position is huge. We just didn’t have it there at the end,” said Larson. “We had the best car out there, for sure. In traffic I thought it was really good. I thought we had it most of the race but that’s how racing goes. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But I think we had a really fast car today. We’ll go onto the 600, that’s a long race, and try it again.”
Being a silent contender for most of the night, Jimmie Johnson was able to win the third stage and finish third overall in the All-Star race.
“When you’re the second place car, you can’t jump the leader. But everybody in the second, third, and fourth row is going to jump and do what they can to roll-up on the situation. So, I was really hopeful of old tires and being on the bottom. They’d be able to hold that lane back, especially Kyle (Busch) and how good he is on race starts. And it just didn’t happen. He got in there. I had a decent start. They weren’t able to push me and get me going. And I had a couple of shots at him,” said Johnson. “He wasn’t handling too well at the start of the run, but I just drove too hard. I could see a million dollars out the windshield and I just drove this Lowe’s Chevy way too hard in the corner a couple of times and gave up some ground. We learned a little bit tonight and we’ll come back next week and have some more fun.”
Drivers will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday to begin preparations for the Coca-Cola 600, the sports longest race. FOX and Performance Racing Network will have the coverage on May 28th beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST.
CONCORD, N.C. — Surviving a late race restart with three laps to go, Kyle Busch was able to dominate the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 from Charlotte Motor Speedway to score his second victory of 2017. Busch swept all three stages during the event to score his seventh career victory in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition. Busch led 90 laps, the most among any drivers. This is his 48th career victory in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition.
“These guys pour their hearts and souls into these trucks and what we do (at KBM). It’s awesome to get back-to-back wins and get back to Victory Lane again,” Busch said in Victory Lane. “This is a true testament to everybody at Kyle Busch Motorsports. We’re all working as a cohesive group and the guys are doing a great job. It was challenging there in the middle section of the race – I didn’t know what was going on half the time. I’m proud of the whole team effort.”
After leading 22 laps, Johnny Sauter stayed towards the front of the field for majority of the race to score a second place finish, his best career finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It was a good night for us. This has been a place that I have typically struggled with in the past. We brought a different truck back. This is ‘Old Faithful’, a truck we had success last fall and this year. Our Chevy was phenomenal in that second stage. I called for an adjustment and I should’ve got more on that final pit stop. I felt like the track was going to go free like it always does, but it really didn’t do that for me. I needed more front grip. We executed the last restart pretty well to get a second place finish out of it,” said Sauter post-race.
After starting on the pole, Bell had a tire going down just three laps into the event. Bell went one lap down after hitting pit road, but was able to rally to finish third at Charlotte.
“I think we had a flat right rear – or left rear when we fired off. It was really really loose the first couple laps and then finally went down off of (turn) four there. All these guys on this SiriusXM Tundra did a great job of getting me back out there. I had a second-place truck. Ran third with it. That’s what’s frustrating. Glad my boss won, that’s cool. We’ll be back and stronger than ever at Dover,” said Bell post race.
Ryan Truex, Timothy Peters, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Noah Gragson, and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top-10 in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.
There were 10 different lead changes among eight different drivers. The caution flew nine times for 38 laps. The time of race was one hour, 49 minutes, and 32 seconds. Average speed for the race was 110.103 mph.
At track inspection is clear. The No. 24 truck of Justin Hayley failed heights in post-race inspection. Five trucks will be taken to the R&D Center including the 19, 45, 4, 24, and 16. Any penalties will be announced next week.
Sauter still holds the point lead over Bell by 15 points. Crafton is third only 51 points behind Sauter, Chase Briscoe is fourth only 71 points behind, and Rhodes rounds out the top-five only 72 points away from the leader.
Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is the Bar Harbor 200 Presented by Sea Watch International from Dover International Speedway on June Second at 5:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.
TALLADEGA, Al.— Although he had a strong third place run going, Kyle Busch was critical of his teammates and their help during the GEICO 500.
When it comes to restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing form a pact to draft together in an effort to work their way to the front for a potential victory at Talladega.
Busch was able to show the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing, but his teammates were nowhere to be found to help him score the potential victory after leading the race when the white flag fell.
“Everybody was all kind of mixed up – there was a Ford, there was a Chevy – so it was just all over the place. Certainly myself and the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin), we all worked really well together today and it was fun to have comradery today with teammates, but they weren’t there for us at the end,” Busch explained post-race.
Busch led a race high go 48 laps. Had the final caution not fell, sending the race into overtime, due to an accident involving Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, and Chris Buescher on the backstretch, Busch would have been the victor in the GEICO 500. But due to the drafting help Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. received from Jamie McMurray, Busch lost the lead to finish in the third position.
“When they have too big of a run and you can’t do anything about it,” Busch explained. “Stenhouse got a really good run and a good push and got by us there and then it was just about retaliation to get back on him and I just never had enough help from behind and just never got together.”
Busch was able to get the jump on restarts in the closing stages of the race, and explained how he was able to get the advantage.
“Maybe it was everybody sleeping,” he answered. “ I don't know. But it certainly was working, and that was sort of my strategy was to get it where I was single file and I could choose a lane and see which one had the momentum behind me. If I was stuck side by side with the bottom line, I never had that opportunity in order to protect both lanes. I seem to be able to do a good job at that, I just don't know how it all fell apart there in the last lap or two for us that we couldn't get to where we needed to be.”
Busch settled for third, but remains confident heading into Kansas.
“We did all we could here today and it’s all circumstantial on how you win these things,” he said. “Unfortunately our circumstances didn’t quite go our way, but we go to a real race track next week and we’ll try to win there.”