Busch Wins NNS Race; Dillon Pads Points Lead
Kyle Busch drove the No. 54 Joe Gibbs racing Toyota to victory in the ServiceMaster 200 NASCAR Nationwide Race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.
Bush finished more than four seconds ahead of race runner-up Justin Allgaier, who passed series leader Austin Dillon for the second position on the final lap.
Dillon held third, followed by Regan Smith and Sam Hornish Jr., whose deficit to Dillon in the championship battle grew from six to eight points.
“Eight points is a little more than what I wanted to overcome next week,” said Hornish Jr. . “It’s been a hard-fought weekend for us.”
Busch led 169 laps en route to his 12th NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in 25 starts this season. Busch extended his series record for wins in the series to 63. The pole was Busch’s 10th of the season — on nine occasions this season, he has converted the top starting spot into a victory.
With a bold move from the outside lane, Brad Keselowski powered past Busch into the lead after a restart on Lap 112, but the tenure of the No. 22 Ford at the front of the field was short-lived.
Busch, who slipped to third on the restart lap, regained the second spot on Lap 117, overtaking Harvick for the position. Three laps later, Busch and Keselowski were side-by-side at the start/finish line, with Busch nosing ahead as the cars crossed the stripe.
Busch began to inch away over the next 10 laps before Brad Sweet’s spin in Turn 3 brought out the third caution of the race on Lap 130. Diverging strategies scrambled the running order as five drivers — Bayne, Hornish, Allgaier, Smith and Scott — opted not to pit under the yellow, leaving Busch to take the green from the sixth spot on fresh right-side tires.
Four more cautions followed in short order — in a race that had run under green for 100 laps between the first two yellows — and allowed Busch to pick off the cars running on old tires. Shortly after a restart on Lap 154, he passed Allgaier for the lead.
Twelve laps earlier, a tap from Scott’s Chevrolet had knocked Keselowski’s Ford into the Turn 3 wall in an accident that had serious implications for the owners’ championship. Entering the race, the 22 led the No. 54 Toyota driven by Busch by 26 points, but Keselowski’s wreck, coupled with Busch’s win, trimmed the margin to four points with one race left.No Comment