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Kyle Busch wins Charlotte Truck race for second straight victory

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CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Busch swept all three stages and ran away with the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 for his second Camping World Truck Series win in a row.

Busch led 90 of 134 laps on the way to his seventh Truck win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In both his wins this year, Busch has swept all three stages.

Busch held off the field on a three-lap shootout following a late caution.

It’s Busch’s 48th career Truck win.

Busch was followed by Johnny Sauter, Christopher Bell, Ryan Truex and Timothy Peters.

Bell, the pole-sitter, competed for the win after he lost a tire on Lap 4 and went a lap down.

“I struggle on restarts, I don’t know why,” Bell told Fox Sports 1. “It seemed like one time I would spin the tires and the next time I wouldn’t spin the tires. Overall bummed that I finished third with a second-place car.”

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Buch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Ryan Truex finished fourth after a pit penalty for the third top-five finish of his career … Johnny Sauter’s second-place finish is his best result at Charlotte in nine starts. It’s his second top-three finish in a row here. … Parker Kligerman finished 10th for his first top 10 since the April 2016 Martinsville race. Pit strategy allowed him to lead six laps in Stage 2.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Austin Cindric, who graduated from high school Friday morning, spun on Lap 32 to cause the second caution. He finished 19th … Kaz Grala was the cause of two cautions, getting involved in a wreck with Brandon Jones on Lap 60 and single-truck accident on Lap 69. He finished 30th. … John Hunter Nemechek and Brett Moffitt got into each other on Lap 78. Nemechek pitted after pit road had been closed and was penalized. He finished 22nd, two laps down  … Regan Smith wrecked with 33 to go after being turned on the frontstretch and hitting the wall on the driver’s side. He finished 29th.

NOTABLE: The No. 24 of Justin Haley failed height measurements in post-race inspection. Any penalties will come later in the week … With his win, Busch is three shy of Ron Hornaday Jr.‘s series record of 51 … Sauter is winless but has finished in the top three in four straight races.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “The record is just a number I guess. I remember when I passed Mark Martin on the Xfinity side and that was a lot of fun and pretty interesting. Look forward to hopefully passing Ron on the Truck side and be able to set that a little bit higher. Maybe one day when I’m all said and done on the Cup stuff, maybe I’ll run my retirement tour in the Truck Series, win the championship and get the trifecta.” – Kyle Busch on getting closer to Ron Hornaday Jr.’s Truck win record.

WHAT’S NEXT: Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway at 5:30 p.m. ET on June 2 on Fox Sports 1.

Podcast: Front Row Motorsports explains how it improves with smaller budget, unique sponsor deals

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Running a Cup Series team is not a cheap endeavor.

One person who knows this is Jerry Freeze, the general manager of Front Row Motorsports.

Owned by Bob Jenkins, the two-car team runs the No. 34 of Michael McDowell and No. 38 of David Ragan and has a technical partnership with Roush Fenway Racing.

Freeze sat down with Nate Ryan on the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss how FRM works with smaller budgets and its unique business-to-business sponsorship deals through Jenkins’ trucking company, MDS Transport, and restaurant business, Charter Foods.

Freeze calls Love’s Travel Shops, which sponsors half the races on McDowell’s car, a “textbook example” of such a deal. Their partnership began in 2013.

“Bob owns a trucking company with about 300 over the road truck on the road,” Freeze said. “They’ve got to get fuel somewhere. That’s kind of how the Love’s Travel Shop deal started for us.”

Freeze describes it as a “slightly smaller scale” version of the relationship between Team Penske and Shell.

Unlike larger teams, Front Row doesn’t yet have an optical scanning station at its shop like the one cars are inspected with at the track.

“We went into it thinking, ‘We’ll never need to have one of those, NASCAR’s got one, we can go over there whenever we want,'” Freeze said.

The team also relies on the scanner located at Roush Fenway Racing. But it’s a challenge to take cars to Roush, with its shop in Concord, North Carolina, about an hour away from Front Row’s in Statesville.

Buying its own scanner is beginning to look like a “necessary evil” for Freeze, who said he’s heard it would cost $300,000.

“I think if you’re really going to try to optimize the car through each step of what you do, that might be the way to go,” Freeze said.

When it comes to becoming more competitive, Freeze and Jenkins have been encouraged to invest more resources and money into the team by moves NASCAR has made to lower costs, including requiring teams to use engines in multiple races, spec radiators and the controversial common pit guns.

“It put it in a place where, yeah, it’s still pretty tough for Front Row to get to, but it’s not as high as it use to be,” Freeze said of the engine rule. “With spec radiators, we were spending $9,000 for radiator in the past. Now a spec radiator is, I don’t know, a third of that.”

Freeze also addressed the future of one of the team’s three charters, which is leased to TriStar Motorsports this season.

“You can’t do that forever with the way the rules are set up,” Freeze said. “We’ll have to make a decision, either we’ve got to operate (it) ourselves or maybe we sell it to TriStar some day, I don’t know. … Even though we weren’t in a position to run three cars and we’re still not today, it’s kind of nice to have in your pocket just in case something came along that was just phenomenal and we needed one.”

Click on the embed above to hear the podcast. It also is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.

August Cup race at Michigan to be called Consumers Energy 400

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The Aug. 12 Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway will be sponsored by Consumers Energy as part of a multi-year deal, the track announced Thursday.

Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents.

The company takes over for Pure Michigan, which sponsored the race from 2011-17.

“We are excited to expand our collaborative relationship with Consumers Energy,” said track president Rick Brenner in a press release. “We strive to work with Michigan-based companies like Consumers Energy who continue to give back to the community. We are looking forward to working together to provide our guests an awesome experience each August for many years to come.”

Consumers Energy will also sponsor the inaugural MIS Charity Dinner on June 9 and the track’s 50 Years of Racing Exhibit in the fan plaza for both of the track’s race weekends.

The MIS Charity Dinner, which benefits the Henry Ford Allegiance Health Foundation Patient Immediate Needs Fund and the MIS Cares Fund, will feature a strolling dinner, dessert and drink stations, live and silent auctions, music, a photo booth and more. The event will also feature a question and answer session with Dale Inman, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood.

 and on Facebook

Weekend schedule at Richmond for Cup, Xfinity

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NASCAR heads to its third short-track race of the season this weekend at Richmond Raceway.

Kyle Larson won the Cup race at Richmond last fall and Joey Logano won there last April.

Here is this weekend’s schedule at Richmond:

(All times Eastern)

FRIDAY, APRIL 20

7 a.m. — Xfinity garage opens

8 a.m. – 9 p.m. — Cup garage open

8 – 8:45 a.m. — Xfinity practice (No TV)

9:40 – 10:25 a.m. — Final Xfinity practice (Fox Sports 1)

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network)

12:35 – 1:25 p.m. — Final Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

4:05 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying; multi-vehicle/three rounds (FS1)

5:10 p.m. — Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

5:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying; multi-vehicle/three rounds (FS1, MRN)

6:30 p.m. — Xfinity driver introductions

7 p.m. — ToyotaCare 250 Xfinity race; 250 laps/187.5 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

SATURDAY, APRIL 21

1 p.m. — Cup garage opens

4:30 p.m. — Driver/crew chief meeting

5:50 p.m. — Driver introductions

6:30 p.m. — Toyota Owners 400 Cup race; 400 laps/300 miles (Fox, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 and on Facebook

NASCAR America: Short tracks are Clint Bowyer’s favorites

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It was a question that needed to be asked, although the answer was not a surprise to anyone. What is Clint Bowyer’s favorite type of track?

“Short tracks are obviously my favorite,” Bowyer answered. “I think they’re probably everybody’s favorite. That’s what we grew up doing. That’s probably where we feel most comfortable.”

“I love back-to-back short track races because the drivers don’t have time to forget about who they’re mad at,” Steve Letarte interjected.

But Bowyer’s love of short tracks is not limited to Martinsville, where he snapped his long winless streak earlier this year. He is even more excited about coming to Richmond Raceway this week.

“I feel like Richmond is the perfect-sized race track.”

Bowyer went one step further, suggesting there is a way to add more tracks like Richmond to the schedule.

“I feel like, some of these mile-and-a-half tracks, we need to just use as parking lots and build Richmond in the infield,” Bowyer said.

For more of what Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to say about short track racing, watch the video above.