CONCORD Nobody could beat Kyle Busch Friday night, not even Kyle Busch. Busch overcame a pit road penalty that sent him to the rear of the field, battled all the way back to the front and held off Brendan Gaughan to win the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
As unlikely as it may seem for a driver who had already collected 30 wins in the NASCAR Truck Series, the win was Busch's first since 2011.
During a pit stop on Lap 86 of 134, Busch left his pit stall with his gas can still inserted and was penalized for removing equipment and moved to the end of the longest line.
Busch restarted the race on Lap 88 in 19th. He was back running in the top-five by Lap 120 and retook the lead on Lap 120.
We don't ever make anything too easy, do we? said Busch, who earned his fifth series win at Charlotte. It was an eventful night for us, that's for sure.
Miquel Paludo and a couple others of those guys were really fast. We had our work cut out for us coming back to the front.
Max Gresham finished a career-best third, series points leader Matt Crafton was fourth and Ty Dillon was fifth.
Gaughan appeared to be closing in on Busch with three laps remaining but couldn't get close enough to pass.
I went up high everybody knows I like to go up high and he took the air off me and it killed my momentum. I started to gain on him again, but he's just great, Gaughan said.
This is a new day in my career. I haven't been this happy in a decade.
Busch said he has no idea how Gaughan is able to race his preferred line around CMS.
I don't know how he makes the top (of the track) work like that. It's crazy, Busch said. Anytime I go up there, I slow down. But I got up and it freed my truck up enough to rotate (through the turns).
Yeah I was taking off Brendan's air but it was helping my truck turn.
The race was slowed nine times by caution covering 40 laps. There were seven lead changes among five drivers. Busch led the most laps (80).