Z-Line Designs Driver Makes Last-Lap Pass to Win 31st Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Race Kyle Busch led only twice for four laps in Saturday's Stater Bros. 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, but among those laps was the most important one --...
Z-Line Designs Driver Makes Last-Lap Pass to Win 31st Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Race
Kyle Busch led only twice for four laps in Saturday's Stater Bros. 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, but among those laps was the most important one -- the one to the checkered flag.
The driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/Staples Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) won round 2 of 35 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., after a wild two-lap sprint to the finish where he beat out Greg Biffle by .051 of a second.
The incredible ending was set up on lap 144 when Brendan Gaughan crashed in turn three of the 2-mile oval to bring out a caution. NASCAR officials called for a green-white checkered finish, meaning the race would be extended two laps past its scheduled 150-lap distance.
Busch's JGR teammate, Joey Logano, dominated the Stater Bros. 300 by leading five times for 130 laps, but his race came undone when the race's final restart got underway on lap 151. With Logano leading the field to green, followed by Busch, Biffle, Brad Keselowski and Brian Vickers, a mad scramble took place as soon as the leaders dove into turn one.
Biffle nudged his way past Logano and soon it became a three-car shootout between Busch, Biffle and Keselowski as the field took the white flag for the final lap.
Busch and Biffle managed to stay ahead of Keselowski, and in a photo finish, Busch nosed his Z-Line Designs Toyota ahead of Biffle as the duo took the checkered flag.
"That's crazy," said Busch, who has won three of the last four Nationwide Series races at Fontana. "That's some racing right there. That was pretty awesome. Man, I just can't say enough about these guys. We fought an ill-handling car in the beginning and worked on it all day. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) never gave up, I never gave up and this Z-Line Designs Camry was just awesome.
"We went off into (turn) one and Joey (Logano) got loose and slid way across the racetrack and I had to turn underneath him and try not to get boxed in. And then we went down the backstretch and I was inside of Biffle and I'm like, 'Man, I wish I was on the outside right now.' And we got into (turn) three and then Keselowski put his nose in there and I thought we were going to wreck. Somehow we hold onto it, and then down the frontstretch I had my nose so far under Biffle's car that I had his spoiler in the rear window. I knew I had to let him down before we got to turn one and get out from under him, and I did that, but he still ended up getting a little bit loose, so I was able to get on his inside. Man, it was exciting there coming to the finish."
While happy in victory, Busch knew how hard it was for Logano to lead so many laps and come up short.
"I feel for Joey," said Busch. "I've been there. I've had those. But this win is a testament to this team and that never-give-up attitude that we have. All teams have that, but this team demonstrates it. Ratcliff and the guys did an awesome job on this car. We started way off in the beginning and we got it a lot better for the end of the race. This Z-Line Designs Camry was good. We just never really had what the '20' car (Logano) had today, unfortunately. We'll go back to the drawing board and figure out why."
The victory was the 31st for Busch in his Nationwide Series career, which spans 175 career starts. The Las Vegas native now has an incredible 63 victories in NASCAR's top three divisions -- Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck.
Finishing third behind Busch and Biffle was Keselowski, while Carl Edwards and Logano rounded out the top-five. Steve Wallace, Kelly Bires, Vickers, Justin Allgaier and rookie Brian Scott comprised the rest of the top-10.
The race featured four caution periods for 18 laps, with six drivers failing to finish event.
While Busch is not running the full Nationwide Series schedule, the No. 18 Toyota is competing for the owner's title, and it is third in points after round 2 of 35. JGR has won the past two Nationwide Series owner's championships.
The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the Feb. 27 Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.