CONCORD, N.C. - Kyle Busch walked off Charlotte Motor Speedway as fast as he drove it.
Just as Chase Elliott had nearly won Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 on the same track, Busch was less than a second away from topping Elliott, the winner of NASCAR's return Truck race Tuesday evening.
As Rowdy walked away, Elliott took a bow. The No. 24 driver won more than money Tuesday night with a $100,000 bounty on the line. There was also pride on the line for beating Busch, who accidentally wrecked him out of a top finish last week at Darlington; Busch had won seven consecutive Truck races prior to Tuesday.
The bounty ($50,000 paid Kevin Harvick, $50,000 by Gander Outdoors CEO Marcus Lemonis) will be paid by making a donation in Elliott's name to the charity of his choice.
If pit strategy lost it for Elliott on Sunday, it won it for him Tuesday. Elliott pitted earlier in the race than Busch, which put him in a better position when multiple cautions were called laps apart from each other late in the race. Elliott remained in first place off a late-lap restart and led Busch by less than a second at the checkered flag.
But the race was no blowout.
ELLIOTT WAS PERFECT. BUSCH WAS FAST. BOTH WERE IMPRESSIVE.
The field went without an incident for more than half the race, until the third stage when multiple cautions were called within a matter of laps. Busch pitted for tires on Lap 97, bumping him to 13th place on a critical restart.
But he was able to make up the time, moving up ten spots in two laps before another caution flag was thrown.
On the next restart, Busch was on the move. In a matter of minutes, the No. 51 driver had weaved his way to fifth, then fourth, the all the way to second, zipping past Zane Smith and Johnny Sauter.
Smith finished in third.
Ross Chastain also had an impressive night, winning the first stage of the race and finishing 11th. The No. 42 driver raced his way to a first stage win after a 27th place start.