Kyle Busch Wins Emotional Victory in Charlotte

Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR

Tonight a caution-filled event at Charlotte Motor Speedway ended with a rather predictable winner—Kyle Busch. Winning his 28th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race was an accomplishment in and of itself, tying Mike Skinner and Jack Sprague second all time in series wins. But this win was special to Busch for a different reason. Above the driver-side window on Kyle Busch’s No. 18 truck was the name of 10-year-old Zahra Clare Baker, a homicide victim in Hickory, N.C. Baker was involved in a Speedway Children’s Charities event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. Kyle Busch Motorsports participated in the event and had the opportunity to meet Zahra before her death.

“I had an angel riding with me the last run of the race tonight with Zahra Baker,” said Busch. “I didn’t have the best truck out there tonight, the No. 2 did. But I had some help here tonight. We spun out, only lost three or four spots. Made some changes, just able to muster our way back up through here.”

Clint Bowyer finished right behind Busch, leading more laps than any other driver at 54. Busch took the lead from Bowyer with seven laps to go and held it until the checkered flag flew. Bowyer was obviously disappointed after having the most dominant truck of the night.

“We were just too loose, it got me,” said Bowyer. “We knew in practice we were gonna have our hands full. They [18 team] made a good adjustment when he spun out there. We just, you know, lost.”

Back in third, rookie driver Cole Whitt grabbed the points lead after his third place run. He now leads the points by one point over second place Johnny Sauter and is the first rookie to ever lead the standings.

“Things just weren’t  going our way in practice,” said Whitt. “We really weren’t worrying about qualifying. It got us down a little bit, not qualifying where we wanted to. Got some momentum and that carried us to our third-place finish. The points lead is pretty amazing for our team, and to be the first rookie to do it.”

Meanwhile, further back, Hornaday and Sauter had a heated argument on pit road following the race about an incident on the track. Hornaday and Sauter finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

“He [Sauter] thought I blocked him,” said Hornaday. “But he booted me. He has got to be able to see. I was three-wide there. Kyle [Busch] was beside me. But this is what it takes to get out of here and run so good…to come out of here with a top-five finish is great.”

A total of 10 cautions in the night tied a track record, stopping the action for a total of 47 caution laps. Former F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen finished 15th in his NASCAR debut.

The next race will be at Kansas Speedway on June 4th. Coverage will begin at 2PM ET on SPEED.
Kyle Busch Wins Emotional Victory in Charlotte Kyle Busch Wins Emotional Victory in Charlotte Reviewed by Summer Dreyer on Saturday, May 21, 2011 Rating: 5