Kaz Grala

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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.

Kyle Busch wins Kansas Truck race after Ben Rhodes’ engine falters

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Leader Ben Rhodes suffered an engine problem with eight laps left, allowing Kyle Busch to go on to win Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway.

The 20-year-old Rhodes, seeking his first career series win, drove his truck to the garage. After exiting it, he slammed the roof with both hands and walked away.

“We did everything right, but Ben Rhodes has a curse on his back because or something because goes always goes wrong,” he told Fox Sports 1. “It’s just tough.

“It’s just crazy that something always go wrong with our team. We do everything right, we just can never pull one off.”

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points report after Kansas

Rhodes, who finished 23rd, said a piece of debris went through the radiator and ruined his chances for the win.

Busch collected his 47th career Truck series win and first this season. He won both stages in the 167-lap race.

“Ben Rhodes had that race won,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “I was trying everything I could to try to chase him back down but I just didn’t have enough speed.”

Johnny Sauter finished second. John Hunter Nemechek placed third and was followed by Christopher Bell and Chase Briscoe.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

HOW DID KYLE BUSCH WIN: He got lucky. Even he admitted that Ben Rhodes was going to win had it not been for the engine issues.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Christopher Bell rallied from 16th to fourth in the final 40 laps. He ran near the front until making his final pit stop under green only to see the yellow come out shortly afterward, trapping him a lap down. He got the wave around and was last among cars on the lead lap. … Johnny Sauter finished second. The points leader has finished third, second and second in the past three races.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ben Rhodes had a great race but a horrible finish when debris damaged his radiator and forced him from the lead to the garage in the final 10 laps. … Matt Crafton spun late while running fifth. He couldn’t recover and finished 16th.

NOTABLE: Four of the top-10 finishers are teenagers: John Hunter Nemechek (third), Kaz Grala (eighth), Justin Haley (ninth) and Austin Cindric (10th).

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: We’ve been trying for years and years. If I don’t make it in this game, it won’t be from lack of effort but bad luck. Let that be known,” Ben Rhodes to Fox Sports 1 about losing the lead in the final laps because debris damaged his radiator.

NEXT: The series races May 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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Christopher Bell tops final Truck practice in Kansas

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The final Camping World Truck Series practice at Kansas Speedway Thursday afternoon was led by Christopher Bell.

The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver posted a top speed of 178.383 mph.

Filling out the top five was Matt Crafton (177.526), Kaz Grala (177.416), Johnny Sauter (177.416) and Ben Rhodes (177.247).

Bell also had the best 10-lap average at 175.819 mph.

Chase Briscoe, who was ninth quickest, recorded the most laps at 49.

Justin Haley was fastest in the first practice session.

Click here for the full practice report.

Harvick, Keselowski part of Xfinity, Truck ‘Test Fest’ at Charlotte on Tuesday

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With NASCAR’s two-week stint at Charlotte Motor Speedway looming next month, the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series will have an all-day “Test Fest” next Tuesday at the 1.5-mile track.

Fans will be able to attend the test, which goes from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET.

Cup drivers Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney (Team Penske) and Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) will be among the drivers participating in the Xfinity portion of test, which goes from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Either Denny Hamlin or Erik Jones will be among the four drivers who test for Joe Gibbs Racing. Truck driver Christopher Bell will be one of the four.

The Truck Series will run from 3 – 9 p.m. ET

Frontstretch grandstands will be open to the public. Speedway Club members, season ticket holders, race ticket holders and fans who purchase Cup tickets on Tuesday can watch the test from the infield pit suites and will receive guided garage tours.

Fans will also be able to participate in “Spin to Win” games that reward participants with free parking, concession bucks (good for food and drinks on race weekends), camping discounts or half-price adult tickets to the Hisense 4K TV 300 on May 27.

Here’s all the drivers and teams participating in the test.

Xfinity Series
Chip Ganassi Racing: Tyler Reddick, Brennan Poole

Stewart-Haas Racing: Kevin Harvick, Cole Custer

JGL Racing: Dakoda Armstrong

GMS Racing: Spencer Gallagher, Ben Kennedy

JR Motorsports: Elliott Sadler, Michael Annett, Justin Allgaier, William Byron

Richard Childress Racing: Brandon Jones, Brendan Gaughan, Daniel Hemric

Joe Gibbs Racing: Matt Tifft, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin or Erik Jones

Brandonbilt Motorsports: Brandon Brown

Biagi DenBeste Racing: Casey Mears

Roush Fenway Racing: Darrell Wallace Jr., Ryan Reed

Kaulig Racing: Blake Koch

Team Penske: Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney

Camping World Truck Series
Hattori Racing: Ryan Truex

Kyle Busch Motorsports: Christopher Bell, Noah Gragson, Myatt Snider

GMS Racing: Johnny Sauter, Justin Haley, Kaz Grala, Spencer Gallagher

Brad Keselowski Racing: Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe

ThorSport Racing: Cody Coughlin, Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger

Red Horse Racing: Brett Moffitt, Timothy Peters

NEMCO Motorsports: John Hunter Nemechek

AM Racing: Austin Wayne Self

Brandonbilt Motorsports: Brandon Brown

MDM Motorsports: Brandon Jones

Young’s Motorsports: Austin Hill

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Long: Amid anxiety over retiring NASCAR drivers, a new era emerges

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It’s easy to lament where NASCAR is headed with Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring from the Cup series after this season.

Fans have bid farewell to Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards (well, he may return) since last year. Then came Tuesday’s news about Earnhardt.

And it won’t be long before seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and former champions Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick reach the end of their careers.

For long-time fans, this is crushing news. Drivers they have grown accustomed to seeing on TV nearly every weekend from late February to the middle of November are leaving. In comes a new crop of drivers that fans are not as comfortable with or knowledgable about.

Picking a new favorite driver isn’t made on a whim for many fans. If you’re going to pledge your loyalty, one has to be all in.

And that’s why this could be one of the greatest times in the sport for young drivers.

Now is your time Kyle Larson. Now is your time Chase Elliott. Now is your time Ryan Blaney.

Now it is time for all the young drivers to make their mark on the sport, reach out to the fan base and become the leaders who will guide NASCAR for the coming years.

From 2000-02, fans fretted about the transition NASCAR went through. That period brought Earnhardt, Johnson, Harvick, Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch into the series.

They combined to change the sport on the track — with how they raced — and off the track — with how they presented themselves.

Their roles increased as Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd and others retired. Many fans worried that the new drivers could never replace their favorites.

But it’s not about replacing. It’s about moving forward. Just as it is now.

No driver can replace Earnhardt. No one can or will be asked to shoulder so much of the sport as Earnhardt has throughout his career.

No driver can replace Gordon, who helped usher in the sport’s most popular era — not bad for a kid who was known to crash often his rookie year.

No driver can replace the cantankerous Stewart, who became a fan favorite for his gruff, tell-it-like-it-is manner and his fearlessness on the track.

That’s the thing. The young drivers just need to be themselves, not someone else.

They also must win. That will grow their fan base and give them a powerful voice for years to come.

They’re starting to gain power.

Consider the drivers age 26 and under. It includes Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Larson, Elliott and Blaney.

That doesn’t even include those in the Xfinity Series, which features William Byron, Ryan Reed, Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer, among others.

And in the Camping World Truck Series, there’s Christopher Bell, Todd Gilliland, John Hunter Nemechek, Harrison Burton and Kaz Grala.

No one could have anticipated that Johnson, who had one Xfinity win before moving to Cup, would go on to tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most championships.

Somewhere in this group of young drivers there’s a multi-time champion. Maybe a couple of them. Maybe one who wins more than five championships.

Maybe one who changes the sport in ways one can’t even imagine.

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