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Kyle Busch Wins No. 6 At Texas Motor Speedway

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 13 2013

Kyle Busch heads toward his sixth victory at Texas Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

FORT WORTH, Texas – Kyle Busch rushed through his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole-award winning duties, changed uniforms at warp speed and wolfed down a meal before settling into his office for Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The harried result? A record-setting sixth series victory in the 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

Busch, who started second in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing, finished 2.272-seconds ahead of Ford Racing’s Brad Keselowski. Austin Dillon placed third in the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet fielded by Richard Childress Racing.

The win was Busch’s series-leading sixth at TMS – breaking a tie with Kevin Harvick – third in a row and fourth in six starts this season. “Rowdy” is the first driver to win four of the first six races in series history, which dates to 1982. Busch also won at Phoenix International Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., earlier this year.

“It’s cool to see us back in Victory Lane today. We had a shot to win last fall but couldn’t get enough turn through the corners to make it happen,” said Busch, who has posted six wins in his last nine series starts at TMS. “After Cup qualifying it was chaotic for a little bit. But once I got in the race car and got down to my own space it was time to get going.”

In a bit of understatement, Busch said TMS’ high-banked, 1.5-mile quadoval suits his wide-open driving style.

“It’s fast, man,” said Busch, wearing the latest addition to his collection of white Stetson hats. “I love going out here and it’s just a fun race. You get to race against all the guys you’re going to race against tomorrow night, but you get to beat them here on Friday night. It’s also being a part of this JGR team. The Monster Energy Camry was flawless today. I can’t say enough about Toyota and JGR Engines and Nationwide Insurance _ it’s always fun to get to Victory Lane for those guys in their series here.

“Of course the fans, we appreciate their support. I love running Texas and most importantly, I love winning here, that’s the best part of it.”

Busch is the Nationwide Series’ all-time leader in victories with 55 in 250 starts. He also has logged a staggering 110 victories across NASCAR’s three national touring series. On the other end, the win was the first for crew chief Adam Stevens. It was his task to devise a strategy for the team’s allotment of Goodyear tires around the eight caution flags that chewed up 42 laps.

“It got a little messed-up there pretty early,” said Stevens, alluding to the first caution on Lap 25 of 200. “Typically we don’t get a lot of cautions early in the race here and we did. Nationwide Series, with only five sets of tires to run the race, at a track like this where tires mean so much, if you get a lot of cautions, you’re inevitably going to get mixed strategies. That happened and it was starting to get a little bit hairy. When you get those quick cautions after you get tires on, it kind of negates your advantage and vice-versa. We had to take our turn and go to the back. Kyle and (Tony) Hirschman, our spotter, did a good job of keeping the fenders on it and we all realized what exactly we had. Kyle stayed really patient and made sure we had something to race with at the end.

“When the cautions came back to us there, we were in our window, but only by a few laps and we decided to stay out, banking on there were going to be some more cautions. A couple guys came down and topped-off and the big worry then was it was going to go green and then we wouldn’t be sitting here anymore. History said we would get some and we did. We got one, and we only needed one. We got our tires on and that washed everything out and everybody was back even again. I think we did, as a team, setting up for the end of the race and keeping that in mind even before we got here and not over adjusting when it wasn’t quite right early in the race. Kyle did a phenomenal job managing what he had and keeping his head on his shoulders and making sure we had something to race with at the end.”

Busch, in turn, praised Stevens and his crew for the in-race tweaks that got the Camry win-worthy by mid-race. “Adam and these guys do such a great job,” Busch said. “Brad was strong and so was Sam (Hornish Jr.), and it just kind of played into our favor there through some of the pit stops and pit strategy. At one time I thought I was fading way too fast and I was like, ‘Man these tires are terrible.’ But, we had to save them and wait in order to put on our fresh tires in the middle part of the race.”

Earlier, Busch bagged the Coors Light Pole for Saturday night’s 17th annual NRA 500 Sprint Cup Series race with a track-record performance of 27.509-seconds at 196.299 mph. Ironically, Kyle knocked older brother Kurt off the provisional pole by 0.086-seconds as the 37th driver to time-trial.

“We want to be able to back that up with a win in the Cup car, too, and be able to put Interstate Batteries in Victory Lane tomorrow,” Kyle said of his No. 18 Camry.

Keselowski, the 2010 Nationwide champion for team-owner Roger Penske, admitted that Busch and the JGR stable had the field covered.

“I had a pretty strong car, but didn’t have enough to get the ‘W,’^” said Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang fielded by Penske Racing. “I gave it all I had. The team did a decent job and overcame some early problems on pit road to execute pretty well there at the end. I was proud of them for that, but it’s pretty tough to beat those Gibbs cars. We definitely gave it all we had and I was really happy with our effort. We just came up a bit short and that was it.”

Keselowski led five times for a total of 33 of 200 laps. Busch led five times but for a race-high 91 laps in an event that produced track records of 22 lead changes among 11 drivers. Busch’s winning average speed was 123.853 mph in a race that took 2 hours, 25 minutes, 20 seconds.

“Kyle is definitely really strong,” Keselowski said. “He’s a great driver for sure, but I think you have to look at the cars that they have at Gibbs. You put an elite driver in an elite car and he should get elite results, and that’s what you’re seeing.”

NASCAR Nationwide Series Race – O’Reilly Auto Parts 300

Texas Motor Speedway

Fort Worth, Texas

Friday, April 12, 2013

1. (2) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 200, $70225.

2. (5) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 200, $53225.

3. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, $51325.

4. (11) Dale Earnhardt Jr.(I), Chevrolet, 200, $35125.

5. (7) Kevin Harvick(i), Chevrolet, 200, $29225.

6. (9) Matt Kenseth(i), Toyota, 200, $25300.

7. (6) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 200, $29250.

8. (16) Kasey Kahne(i), Chevrolet, 200, $21875.

9. (13) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 200, $27585.

10. (14) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200, $28200.

11. (20) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 200, $26725.

12. (8) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 200, $26475.

13. (10) Elliott Sadler, Toyota, 200, $27225.

14. (1) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 200, $30265.

15. (25) Reed Sorenson, Ford, 200, $26130.

16. (17) Kevin Swindell #, Ford, 200, $25745.

17. (23) Chris Buescher, Ford, 200, $25235.

18. (19) Nelson Piquet Jr. #, Chevrolet, 200, $24650.

19. (27) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 200, $24515.

20. (18) Mike Bliss, Toyota, 199, $25080.

21. (28) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 199, $24295.

22. (36) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 199, $24185.

23. (30) Dexter Stacey #, Ford, 199, $24000.

24. (35) Blake Koch, Toyota, 199, $23890.

25. (31) Jamie Dick, Chevrolet, 199, $24230.

26. (15) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 198, $23645.

27. (24) Johanna Long, Chevrolet, 197, $23535.

28. (34) Kevin Lepage, Chevrolet, 195, $23415.

29. (39) Juan Carlos Blum #, Ford, 194, $23240.

30. (37) Eric McClure, Toyota, 194, $23430.

31. (38) Robert Richardson Jr., Chevrolet, 190, $23000.

32. (12) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 190, $22890.

33. (21) Travis Pastrana, Ford, 186, $22775.

34. (4) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 159, $22664.

35. (22) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Accident, 142, $22547.

36. (26) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 120, $21195.

37. (33) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Electrical, 96, $15075.

38. (32) Hal Martin #, Toyota, Transmission, 53, $15040.

39. (40) JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 10, $14790.

40. (29) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 3, $14755.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 123.853 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 25 Mins, 20 Secs. Margin of Victory: 2.272 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 42 laps.

Lead Changes: 22 among 11 drivers.

Lap Leaders: A. Bowman # 1-4; S. Hornish Jr. 5-22; B. Keselowski(i) 23-26; L. Cassill(i) 27; K. Busch(i) 28-53; B. Keselowski(i) 54-65; J. Clements 66; M. Wallace 67; B. Keselowski(i) 68-69; S. Hornish Jr. 70-72; K. Kahne(i) 73-94; M. Kenseth(i) 95-106; S. Hornish Jr. 107-110; K. Kahne(i) 111-114; K. Busch(i) 115-122; B. Koch 123; S. Hornish Jr. 124-127; B. Keselowski(i) 128-141; K. Busch(i) 142-148; B. Keselowski(i) 149; K. Busch(i) 150-168; J. Earnhardt # 169; K. Busch(i) 170-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Busch(i) 5 times for 91 laps; B. Keselowski(i) 5 times for 33 laps; S. Hornish Jr. 4 times for 29 laps; K. Kahne(i) 2 times for 26 laps; M. Kenseth(i) 1 time for 12 laps; A. Bowman # 1 time for 4 laps; M. Wallace 1 time for 1 lap; B. Koch 1 time for 1 lap; L. Cassill(i) 1 time for 1 lap; J. Clements 1 time for 1 lap; J. Earnhardt # 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 10 in Points: S. Hornish Jr. – 221; R. Smith – 219; A. Dillon – 213; J. Allgaier – 212; B. Scott – 212; P. Kligerman – 186; E. Sadler – 185; A. Bowman # – 183; B. Vickers – 182; T. Bayne – 181.

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 13 2013
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