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Truex Jr. wins "junior circuit" battle at Gateway

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Madison, IL (Sports Network) - . claimed victory in the Charter 250 Busch race at the Gateway International Raceway. The No.8 Chance 2 Motorsports driver crossed the finish line 6.601 seconds ahead of Jr. The win was Truex Jr.'s third of the season and third in the last six races. The Mayetta, NJ native became the first driver to win the Charter 250 from the pole in its eight-year history.

"This is special, I grew up on short track racing on Saturday nights," said Truex Jr. This Taco Bell Chevrolet, what a crew, what a race car."

Truex Jr. led the first 29 laps before surrendering the lead to Hornaday Jr. The pair traded the lead over the first half of the 200-lap event with Truex Jr. leading 47 laps and Hornaday Jr. leading 52 laps.

The second half of the race was all Truex Jr. Only twice was the No.8 Chevrolet driver in any danger.

Following Truex Jr.'s final pit stop on lap 145, he was forced to hold his breath for 21 laps until made his final stop. Had a caution flag come out during that period, Green might have stolen the victory.

The other moment came when making a pass of . The two came together only slightly, but an aerodynamic piece just in front of the right- rear wheel came loose. Had it fallen off, the resulting caution would have negated the huge lead that he built up over the final 20 laps.

None of the scenarios came to pass and Truex Jr. cruised to Victory Lane. He led 122 of 200 laps.

, . and completed the top-five.

Greg Biffle also had a fast car, but couldn't keep it on the lead lap due to mechanical problems. The wheel studs on his left-rear hub became stripped and the team brought him in on numerous occasions to make repairs. Still, the winner of last week's Stater Bros. 300 at the California Speedway refused to give up and finished a well-earned seventh.

Truex Jr.'s win gives the youngster the championship lead after 10 events. He passed , who struggled to a 14th-place finish by 16 points (1,472-1,456). Busch (1,443) also fell one position to third, followed by (1,386) and Robby Gordon (1,379).

The next Busch race, the Funai 250, is scheduled for Friday night May 14th at the Richmond International Raceway.

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