Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch hasn’t been to victory lane in the Nationwide Series in 18 months. On Saturday, he upped his series-high win total to 52 with a win in the Dollar General 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Busch, who won the pole in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry with a speed of 133.057 mph (27.056 seconds), led 142 laps in the 200-lap event, rebounding from a restart position of 22nd on Lap 44 after he missed his pit stall during a caution flag. The win also marked the 75th win in the Nationwide Series for Toyota.
“It’s great to be back, working with (crew chief) Adam (Stevens) and these guys,” said Busch on NASCAR.com. “It was a bummer deal not to be able to get a win at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) last year, but (owner) Joe (Gibbs) putting me back in his operation and being back with the Joe Gibbs Racing side of things and Mark Cronquist engines, it’s a phenomenal day for us to get back to Victory Lane, to feel the taste of it again."
Busch continued, "I was almost nervous, feeling like it was my first win, although it’s win No. 52 in the series. It’s nice to be back.”
Busch’s main competition for the day was his JGR teammate Matt Kenseth, who led 41 laps while Busch made his way through the field, and Brad Keselowski, who led 10 laps late in the race until Busch got around him; Kenseth finished eighth, while Keselowski was runner-up to Busch.
“I knew I had a shot if something happened to Kyle, and we had to put ourselves in position for good things to happen,” said Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champ. “But Kyle’s car was so fast. I probably could have had four tires and he could have had none, and it still wouldn’t have mattered. He’d still have drove through the field. When you have that much speed, you’re pretty much immune to strategy.”
Justin Allgaier, Trevor Bayne and Elliott Sadler completed the top five.
Sam Hornish Jr. is leading the Nationwide Series points standings after two races, followed by Allgaier, Brian Scott, Elliott Sadler and Parker Kligerman.
The Nationwide Series gets back on track next Saturday, March 9th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Sam’s Town 300; qualifying is at 10:05 a.m. PT, and the race goes green at 1:15 p.m. PT. Stay up-to-date with the Nationwide Series at www.nascar.com.
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