Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch upped his Bristol Motor Speedway win total to 13 on Saturday with his win in the Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300 Nationwide Series race. Busch won his second Nationwide Series race of the season by just 0.023 seconds over 20-year-old Kyle Larson. Brian Vickers, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.
“I’m 27 and I’m getting old,” said Busch. “I did everything I could to try to protect the momentum. A young kid like that, he’s got a lot of talent. He’s obviously made a name for himself. He was running hard, that’s for sure. He brought a lot to the table today and brought his show to the fans. ”
Busch, who started 13th in Saturday’s race, led 156 of the race’s 300 laps on his way to his 53rd win in the series and fifth Nationwide Series win at Bristol; he also has five Cup Series wins and three wins in the Camping World Truck Series there.
Larson, the 2012 K&N Pro Series East champ, made it tough for Busch in the end. “I tried a couple of moves on Kyle around the bottle and (my car) was just a little too tight off (the corner) to get back to the throttle," Larson said. "The last lap, I was pretty happy he went to the bottom to block a slide-job or whatever. It gave me one more shot to try to get around him and he left me just enough room to squeeze the outside. I just missed it by a couple of feet, but it was a lot of fun.”
Busch was very complimentary of Larson and his abilities following the duel. “(Larson) played it smart today,” said Busch. “That was good on his end. I think a lot of people have been looking at him to try to see whether he was going to be a wrecker or a checker. Today he didn’t get the checker. That will come. If you’re driving into the corner and driving into the back of me - I’m going to be here for a while. … He’s not going to have fun dealing with me every week. Right now, I’m going to race him as hard as he raced me but just as clean as he raced me."
Larson’s runner-up finish was his best of the season – in the three previous races, he’s finished no better than 13th, and may be best known for his accident in the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona that took down the catchfence and injured a number of fans. “We’d kind of been digging ourselves a hole,” said the Turner Scott Motorsports driver.
Hornish Jr. extended his points lead to 22 over pole sitter Justin Allgaier, who led the first 62 laps of the race and finished eighth.
The Nationwide Series returns to the track next Saturday, March 23rd, with the Royal Purple 300 from Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol on Sunday, March 17th – the Food City 500 gets underway at 1 p.m. ET. Follow the action at www.nascar.com.
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