Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch, although frequent winners in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition, headed into Saturday's Boyd Gaming 300 Nationwide race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway winless in series competition at LVMS. In the end, Saturday's race win came down to a battle between the two and Keselowski finally broke into the Nationwide Series Las Vegas Motor Speedway win column, forcing Las Vegas native Busch to settle for second.
"It was just our day," Keselowski said. "It was meant to be."
Keselowski dominated the race, leading 144 laps of the 200 that made up the race. Busch also led several laps, running up front for 33 circuits.
Keselowski took the lead from pole sitter Ty Dillon on lap seven and remained up front while Busch worked his way up from the back. After qualifying in the top-10, Busch had to start in the back when his team replaced a frayed alternator belt during the impound period after qualifying.
Keselowski suffered an alternator issue during the race, reporting to his team with about 40 laps to go that his alternator broke. Keeping an eye on his voltage meter and running his car on battery power, he was able to stay in front of Busch for the remainder of the race.
"We found every way we could to make it hard," Keselowski said. "These races aren't getting easier to win. I drove as hard as I could every lap."
Keselowski also had trouble on pit road, going from second to fifth during a caution on lap 148 after sliding through his pit stall.
Busch made his way toward the front quickly in the early going, moving into the top-10 on lap 12 and then into the top-five by lap 36. He was second on the restart following the first caution of the race on lap 56.
Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth, took the lead from Keselowski on the restart after the lap 56 caution, and with Busch in second, Keselowski was shuffled back to third. The teammates continued to run first and second until Keselowski retook the lead soon after a restart following a lap-70 caution. Kenseth lost a few more positions, while Busch maintained second.
Busch was able to get the lead from Keselowski during a cycle of green-flag pit stops that began around lap 114. Busch and Keselowski ran about six seconds ahead of third-place Kenseth until the field was bunched up by a yellow flag on lap 148.
After Keselowski's pit road snafu, Busch and Kenseth restarted first and second. While racing Busch for the lead, Kenseth spun and brought out a caution with 42 laps remaining. Busch and Keselowski then restarted the race first and second, and Keselowski took the lead for good when the race went back to green.
"I don't know what caused us to lose the lead," Busch said. "That was unfortunate. That cost us the race."
Kyle Larson finished third after hitting the wall, causing significant damage to his car early in the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth, and Chase Elliott was the highest-finishing, championship-eligible driver, finishing fifth.
"It was a lot of fun," Elliott said. "Biggest thing for us, it gives us a mindset that we can run up front."
Kenseth wound up sixth, while Brian Scott finished seventh, Trevor Bayne eighth, Chris Buescher ninth and Regan Smith 10th. Only 10 cars finished on the lead lap.
After starting the race on the pole, Dillon finished 11th, one lap down, after two pit road speeding penalties.