May 21, 2016

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) Now that he has won back-to-back Trucks Series races for the first time in his career, Matt Crafton is hoping for more.

Crafton beat Kyle Busch by a convincing margin at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, setting him up for a huge season.

''It feels very good,'' Crafton said. ''Sometime brought that to my attention last week that we hadn't won two in a row. It feels very, very sweet to say we have done it back-to-back. Now maybe we can go for three.''

After winning last week at Dover, the 39-year-old Crafton was strong again leading 47 of 134 laps while adding to his series points lead.

Crafton said his car was ''unbelievable'' from the first lap and only needed tire adjustments throughout the race.

He has experienced plenty of success on 1.5-mile race tracks, winning five of his last 11 races on the longer courses.

Busch finished second, while Johnny Sauter was third. Tyler Reddick finished fourth and Matt Tifft finished in fifth place after starting 18th.

Beating Busch in a Trucks Series race at CMS is no easy task.

Busch had won the last four Trucks Series races he'd entered here, but the veteran couldn't overcome a costly penalty for an uncontrolled tire on lap 70 that forced him to the back of the field. As Busch pitted, a loose tire rolled out of his pit box, causing the penalty.

Busch, who led 27 laps, said he thought he could have overcome the penalty had it not been for something breaking on the right front of his car.

''The truck was OK early on,'' Busch said. ''Once we got back in traffic after the penalty it was just super, super tight.''

WHO'S HOT: Over the past three races, Crafton has two firsts and a second, putting him in great position heading into the middle of the season.

WHO'S NOT: Andy Seuss qualified last and was also the first car off the track, completing just 20 laps before a crash.

COSTLY GAMBLE: Daniel Suarez tried to stay on the track near the end of the race to catch Crafton when he pitted with 11 laps to go, but ran out of gas with a few laps to go and finished 23rd.

Sauter employed the same strategy and managed to make it to the finish line, but simply couldn't go fast enough to hold off Crafton in the final laps while trying to go slow to conserve gas mileage.

FIRST TOP FIVE: Tifft was pleased with his first career top-five finish in the Trucks Series. ''We have had really fast trucks but this was the first time we were able to finish out a race,'' Tifft said.

Things are looking up for Tifft, who was recently named to NASCAR's ''Next'' class. ''It's a big deal and will create more of a brand and get our name out there more,'' Tifft said.

GRADUATION TIME: Pole sitter William Byron, a Charlotte-area high school student who is scheduled to graduate next week, led the first 25 laps but then tailed off after a pit stop and never seriously challenged again. He finished 10th.

UP NEXT: Texas Motor Speedway, June 2. Matt Crafton is the defending race winner.

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