CONCORD, N.C. -- Nextel Cup rookie Kyle Busch became the
youngest winner in Craftsman Truck Series history, holding off
Terry Cook and Ted Musgrave in a three-lap closing sprint Friday
night at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
The 20-year-old Busch beat the previous mark set by the late
Ricky Hendrick, 21 when he won in 2001. That also was the year
Busch burst on the truck scene as a 16-year-old high school
student, nearly winning a couple of races as a rookie.
But NASCAR changed the rules following that season, setting a
mandatory age of 18 for its major series and sending Busch back to
the lower leagues. He eventually made it back with Hendrick
Motorsports -- the team founded by Hendrick's father -- and last
season he tied Greg Biffle's Busch Series record of five victories
for a rookie.
Hendrick, who retired as a driver but was the owner of Busch's
team, was killed along with nine other people in a plane crash last
"It is special, but it's also a little heartbreaking," Busch
said after the Quaker Steak & Lube 200. "Obviously, you want that
record to stay there for Ricky. I don't think he would have wanted
that record broken by anybody but me."
This year, Busch replaced Terry Labonte in the Cup Series, and
finished fourth last week at Richmond. Busch picked up his truck
ride in Billy Ballew's Chevrolet earlier this week as a way to gain
more experience on Lowe's newly ground racing surface, and he made
the most of his opportunity.
He started third, took the lead for the first time on the fifth
lap, and stayed up front for a total of 77 of the 136 laps. Busch
dropped back when he made his first pit stop on lap 60, then slowly
worked his way back toward the front.
Finally, he moved back around Cook's Ford for second and began
slowly running down leader Mike Skinner in the late going. But
Skinner made a huge mistake while trying to lap Brad Keselowski
with 20 laps left, sliding up into Keselowski and then spinning
into the wall.
That gave the lead to Busch, and he easily got his first victory
in the series despite a late caution that forced a
green-white-checkered overtime finish. Now, he hopes to take his
knowledge to the Nextel Open on Saturday night.
"The biggest thing we learned what the track would do in the
long run," Busch said. "There's definitely a few different
grooves out there. I think it's going to be a pretty good show."
For Cook, it was his best finish on a track the size of the
1½-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway, and it was the best effort of the
"The truck just got real tight, and when it started to tighten
up, unfortunately I couldn't race Kyle as hard as I wanted," Cook
said. "We were racing Ted hard there just trying to hang on to
Cup star Tony Stewart, forced to start at the rear of the field
because of an engine change, raced his way into the top five before
more problems forced him to park his Chevrolet. He did provide one
of the more spectacular moments of the night, keeping his truck out
of the wall after he was spun out by Kelly Sutton on lap 26.