CONCORD, N.C. — Johnny Sauter captured his third win of the season as he held off Kyle Busch in the final laps to take home the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 title at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night.
Sauter, the points leader, now holds a 59-point lead in the standings ahead of 2nd place Noah Gragson.
Gragson had a solid finish of 8th, that could have gone better, had he not gotten a bad 2nd to last restart that saw his teammate, Busch, have to push him out of the way. Gragson at the time as running 2nd with under 30 laps left in the race. He led early on in the race for 13 laps and finished stage 2 in 10th to take home a stage point.
Kyle Busch, made his record 700th start with Toyota Racing Friday night on his son Brexton’s 3rd birthday. Though having the clearly dominant car in the race, he would have to settle for a 2nd place finish after two consecutive pit road “over the wall too soon penalty” violations, which forced him to start at the rear of the field, having to battle through traffic each time to get back to the front.
“We passed the most trucks, but if you pass the most trucks, it doesn’t matter if you can’t win the thing where you need to be, restart where you need to be. Really pathetic night on pit road” expressed a frustrated Kyle Busch after the race.
It was an utter disappointment for Busch, as he tried to win his 51st Truck Series race, and came up only 1.340-seconds short. On the other hand though, for Sauter, as he crossed the start/finish line on the final lap, he yelled with elation, “We won Charlotte!” over the radio and then continued to say that this was “the biggest win of my career!”
Busch will now turn his focus to winning the Million Dollars in Saturday’s Monster Energy Cup Series All-Star Race, while Sauter can soak it all in for a little while longer since the Truck Series won’t be back in action again until June 8th when they hit Texas Motor Speedway for the Rattlesnake 400.