NASCAR: Kyle Busch goes OT for Nationwide win
LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch needed some OT to grab that checkered flag.
Once he did, he bowed twice to the crowd.
He could have done it one more time — one for each green-white-checkered finish he needed to survive to win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Busch dominated in regulation, then proved he had the car to beat in three attempts of NASCAR’s version of overtime to win the Nationwide Series race Saturday afternoon.
Busch needed to drive 213 laps of a scheduled 200-lap race to win his seventh race of the season. He snapped a four-race winless streak and won his 58th career Nationwide race.
He had enough fuel left in the tank to win from the pole for the fourth time this season.
Busch then used it all up with one big burnout.
“We didn’t want to have those late restarts,” Busch said. “We felt like we had just enough fuel to make it to the end.”
Who knew they’d need every drop?
The bonus racing stretched just about every car on the track. Not everyone made it.
Brian Vickers ran out of gas just as he crossed the finish line. Busch pitted for the final time two laps after Vickers, on lap 119. He tried to conserve fuel through various methods and pad his stats for total laps led. He passed the 12,000 mark in career laps led and has 12,085 now.
“It’s just about being out front and setting your own pace,” Busch said. “It’s kind of like minding your own business. I like everyone away from me and to be doing my own thing.”
Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Busch (141), Vickers (63) and Matt Kenseth (nine) led every lap in the race.
Vickers was second and Austin Dillon third. Brian Scott and Michael Annett round out the top five.
“Finally, nothing stupid happened and we kept our nose clean and brought home a top-five,” Annett said.
Nothing stupid, just wild.
Busch had been the car to beat and seemed like he could put the No. 54 Toyota on cruise control heading into Victory Lane.
Then the real fun started.
Chad Hackenbracht spun out with two laps left of the scheduled finish, setting up the first G-W-C.
No sooner did they restart, than Landon Cassill ran out of fuel and stalled on the track. The caution came out and Mike Wallace pushed Cassill out of the way.
There was a four-car wreck on lap 206 that brought out the caution flag yet again. Parker Kligerman’s car was stuck in the infield mud for a bit after the accident.
Elliott Sadler then spun on the lap 212 but, this time, the caution did not come out and Busch finally pulled away for good.
His four wins from the pole matched Sam Ard’s record set in 1983.
“Every time I get in Victory Lane, there’s some sort of record I tie or break,” Busch said.
Busch is still trying to find the same success in the Sprint Cup series. He has two wins this season and 26 in 311 career starts. He has 58 wins in 258 Nationwide starts.
“It’d certainly be nice to have those numbers in the Cup series, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t quite worked out that way yet,” he said.
“For some reason, Jimmie Johnson’s doing it. He’s the guy over there that does all those numbers and I can do it here. Maybe one day we should swap rides.”
Maybe not today at New Hampshire. Busch starts fourth and Johnson is 43rd after his qualifying time was tossed out because he failed inspection.
Regan Smith, who finished eighth, has a five-point lead in the Nationwide standings over Sam Hornish Jr.