Kyle Busch continued his dominance of NASCAR Nationwide Series competition in 2013 and at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night by winning the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 by two seconds over the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford of Brad Keselowski. It's the fourth win of the six-races-old season and the third-straight for Busch's No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. It's also his sixth Nationwide Series win at Texas, all coming in his last nine starts at the track.
"It's fast; it just suits right into my style," Busch explained as the reason for his TMS success. "It's also being a part of this JGR team."
Keselowski finished second, and Austin Dillon was third in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
After drivers including series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 12 Penske Racing Ford, Busch and Keselowski took turns up front early on in the 200-lap race, the event became a game of tire strategy in the middle stages.
With tires limited in the Nationwide Series, teams began differing on their tire strategy during the second caution of the race that came out for debris on lap 64. Keselowski, Hornish, Busch, the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick pitted, but took fuel only and got off pit road first through fifth to restart the race in the top-five.
When the race returned to green, drivers on fresher tires blew by the previous front-runners, and the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Kasey Kahne moved from the lead just a few laps after restarting sixth.
When the next caution came out just before the halfway point of the race, the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Elliott Sadler, Dillon, and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Brian Vickers utilized a fuel only strategy to restart up front while others took tires. And like before, the drivers up front on older tires lost positions quickly to cars on fresher tires as soon as the race went back to green.
Teams, for the most part, got back on the same tire rotation during the sixth caution of the race that came out for debris with 34 laps to go. With most of the field on similar tires, Busch and Keselowski restarted the race on the front row. Busch drove out to the front and didn't look back.
Earnhardt finished fourth, and Harvick rounded out the top-five. Matt Kenseth overcame a pit road speeding penalty to finish sixth in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
The Earnhardt-owned JR Motorsports team put all three of its entries in the top-10. Joining owner/driver Earnhardt in the top-10 were Regan Smith in the No. 7 Chevrolet in seventh and Kahne in eighth.
"We've still got a little ways to go as a company -- JR Motorsports -- but we're getting better," Earnhardt said.
Brian Vickers was ninth in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet of Justin Allgaier was 10th.
Hornish was able to hold on to his position as series points leader, despite finishing the race in the 34th spot. During one of his moves from the back toward the front on fresher tires, he was caught up in an on-track incident with a slower car.
"We were in the back of the pack, trying to work our way forward," Hornish said.
The incident sent Hornish to the garage for a time to repair a broken track bar.