All three Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers – Erik Jones, Justin Boston and Matt Tifft – were making their career debuts at Charlotte Motor Speedway Friday night, but they looked like a team of veterans as they put together three top 10 finishes in the NC Education Lottery 200.
Jones, in the No. 4 Dollar General Toyota Tundra, once again dominated the field, leading a race-high 88 laps of the 139-lap race. Unfortunately, like Kansas the week before, he came up one spot short of victory lane, this time battling Kasey Kahne for the win and placing runner-up by just 0.005 seconds, the second-closest finish in Camping World Truck Series history.
“It’s just really hard, we had such a good Dollar General Tundra,” said Jones post-race. “It’s just really a shame that we can’t bring it home. It just hurts two weeks in a row happening like that. We can’t get the trucks any better – we just need to get something to go our way. It just hasn’t gone our way yet – I really thought tonight was the night and we’ll just have to go out and try to get one next time.”
Tifft, in the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra, made his season debut at KBM with an eighth-place run. He ran inside the top five for much of the race, but got trapped behind some slower trucks on a late-race restart.
“I learned a ton tonight – I just need to get a little better with some of the stuff I did, but definitely a learning experience and got out of here with a top-10 finish,” said Tifft. “I wanted to try to get a top-five finish for the 51 team, but I definitely learned a lot. The first 100 laps our truck was pretty good, but I struggled with the lack of experience to get the air going and trying to figure out how to handle the truck in the air. The last 30 laps I got a whole lot better, but we were just trapped on the inside on every restart. There’s definitely room for improvement by me. The trucks that we have here are really, really fast and the ToyotaCare Tundra was no different tonight. My biggest area of improvement for sure is just getting around trucks in traffic and making passes better and quicker for sure.”
Boston, in the No. 54 ROK Mobile Tundra, had a rough time in qualifying, starting from the 22nd spot Friday night after spinning during qualifying. Boston moved up quickly and brought home a ninth-place finish at the 1.5-mile track, his third consecutive top 10 finish.
“I really don’t know what to say about our night,” said Boston. “I’m pretty thankful we ended up getting back in the top 10. There was a point in the race where I didn’t even think we’d be in the top 20. We were just that bad and we had an equalized tire. It just wasn’t our night and to come out of it with a top 10 made me pretty happy. I felt like we had a really good ROK Mobile Toyota Tundra and it should have run in the top five today. I’m kind of disappointed in that, but I’m also pretty proud of everyone for not giving up and we came out of it with a top-10 finish.”
Matt Crafton, Tyler Reddick and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five in the NC Education Lottery 200.
The Truck Series is off for a week before getting back on track at Dover International Speedway on Friday, May 29th. Keep up with the action at www.kylebuschmotorsports.com.