11:08 PM ET
ESPN News Services
CONCORD, N.C. — Chase Elliott snapped Kyle Busch’s seven-race Truck Series winning streak and collected a $100,000 bounty for beating NASCAR’s most successful truck driver on Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick announced before the race that he would donate $50,000 to COVID-19 relief for any full-time Cup driver who finished ahead of Busch. Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Gander RV & Outdoors, which sponsors the Truck Series, agreed to match Harvick’s pledge, bringing the total to $100,000 for pandemic relief.
Elliott rubbed a little salt in the wound, borrowing Busch’s celebratory bow after the race.
The bounty [email protected] | @NASCAR_Trucks pic.twitter.com/T4sBx14T2U
— Xfinity Racing (@XfinityRacing) May 27, 2020
“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. It’s not a dig at anybody,” Elliott said of the bow. “Just having fun. It was about beating him, and it was fun, and we did it, so why not? Hopefully, no one gets their feelings hurt over it, but if they do, they do. Whatever.”
Busch said he didn’t see the bow and wasn’t aware of it until he was asked about it during his post-race news conference.
“Imitation is the strongest form of flattery or something, I don’t know what it is,” Busch said. “That’s cute.”
Asked if that meant he wasn’t upset, Busch replied, “I don’t know what he did, but he did it. It’s fine. Yeah, cool.”
Elliott’s win comes six days after Busch wrecked Elliott in a Cup Series race at Darlington and two days after Elliott’s costly decision to pit late in the Coca-Cola 600, opening the door for Brad Keselowski to win.
“It doesn’t make up for Sunday, but it was still a really good night and to do some good for the relief efforts for this virus,” Elliott said.
It was the first Truck Series race since Feb. 21, when Busch won at Las Vegas.
Elliott, John Hunter Nemechek and Brennan Poole were the three full-time Cup drivers eligible to collect the $100,000 bounty.
Zane Smith finished third, and Brett Moffitt was fourth.
It marked the first time a Truck Series race was run on a Tuesday night.
Busch had won 57 Truck Series races entering the night, the most of any driver in history, and he appeared to be the favorite. But he never could chase down Elliott on a long green-flag stretch to close the race.
Busch started 16th and quickly made a move to sixth place before splitter issues forced him to pit and dropped him back to 33rd place. The winner of 210 races across NASCAR’s three top series quickly moved back into contention with a strong second stage and took the lead on Lap 69.
When Busch pitted with 34 laps to go, it dropped him back to 23rd, and he never regained the lead.
Busch, driving for the Truck Series team he owns, said a mistake by his crew preparing the truck caused the issue with his splitter.
“It doesn’t help showing up to the race track with broke parts on your truck. That was a problem from the get-go,” Busch said. “Didn’t have our right-front [bump stop] right, so we were all over the splitter. We came in and didn’t know it was broke, so had to fix it with a makeshift piece, and it was way too high. Then we tried to fix it, and [it] just never was right. We were out in left field the whole night. Never really had a great feel for the truck or a great driving truck. Just salvaged what I could.”
This was Busch’s third race in three nights. He followed a fourth-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday by winning the Xfinity Series race on Monday in overtime after passing Austin Cindric on the final lap.
Elliott said he took some satisfaction from beating Busch, even if it wasn’t in a Cup Series race.
“I do, for sure. He is good at anything he does,” Elliott said. “I was glad I had a chance to race him for the win. For us to go head-to-head for the win, and it felt good to come out on top. It doesn’t make up for Sunday, but it was fun.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.