Kyle Busch wins 5th Nationwide race this season
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) -- Kyle Busch figured it'd be easy to run his own program on the Nationwide Series after all the wins he'd racked up for Joe Gibbs Racing.
A year on his own and out of Victory Lane, though, taught Busch a hard lesson. Back with JGR, Busch is back to his dominant ways in Nationwide racing. He won his fifth race of the year, pushing past Joey Logano 18 laps from the end to win at Darlington Raceway on Friday night.
"I thought it can't be hard to upstart an organization and beat JGR," the 28-year-old Busch said. "But obviously, that's not the case."
It was Busch's 56th Nationwide win, extending his career mark, and the 112th win across Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series.
"It starts with having a really good race car," Busch said. "We unloaded really well and were fast off the truck."
The same could be said of all JGR entries. Busch finished a second ahead of teammate Elliott Sadler, while Brian Vickers in third and Matt Kenseth in fifth gave Gibbs' shop four of the top five spots.
It's the seventh time in eight years a Gibbs racer has taken the Nationwide race at Darlington.
"Our teammates were so strong," said Busch's crew chief, Adam Stevens. "Just an impressive weekend for JGR."
And it may not be over. Kyle Busch qualified third for Saturday night's Southern 500 and will be going for a third weekend sweep this season following double-doubles in at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and at Texas Motor Speedway.
"All in all, this was a good night," Busch says, "and we look forward to tomorrow."
Busch's victory also capped a dominant showing by the Busch boys at the track "Too Tough To Tame." Older brother Kurt set a qualifying record to win the pole for the Southern 500 on Saturday night.
The younger Busch started from the pole and was the strongest car throughout the Nationwide race. He led for 107 of the 147 laps.
Kenseth, a past Nationwide winner here, led the second most laps with 27.
Kenseth thought his car had enough to keep up with Busch, but he said bad positioning on the final restart shuffled him back and he didn't have enough time to recover. "I felt like we were evenly matched and it was going to be a fun race to the end," Kenseth said.
Busch said his teammate, Kenseth, was waving at him on the track and made it difficult at times to pass. "So I'll remember that for tomorrow," Busch said, smiling.
Logano was in front when the field restarted following the last of four caution periods while Busch was in third. Busch quickly got past second-place Austin Dillon and began reeling in his former JGR teammate in Logano.
Busch swept past Logano on lap 129 and found mostly clear sailing the rest of the way.
Busch is the Nationwide leader with 56 career wins. He did not win in the series while operating a car he owned.
Busch won the 2008 Southern 500.
The leading rookie on the Nationwide series, Kyle Larson, finished sixth while series points leader Regan Smith was seventh. Sprint Cup regular Kasey Kahne was ninth.
Not everything went perfectly for Busch. NASCAR said there was an issue with the car's front nose and any penalties would be announced next week. Stevens called it an oversight that was embarrassing for JGR.