Talladega: Kyle Busch race report

Busch Finishes 10th at Talladega; Z-Line Designs Driver Scores Seventh Top-10 of 2009, Extends Points Lead Kyle Busch didn't get to victory lane in Saturday's Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, but the...

Busch Finishes 10th at Talladega; Z-Line Designs Driver Scores Seventh Top-10 of 2009, Extends Points Lead

Kyle Busch didn't get to victory lane in Saturday's Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, but the driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) scored his seventh top-10 of the season, extending his lead in the Nationwide Series point standings.

"Our Z-Line Designs Toyota was fast," said Busch, who led six times for a race-high 31 laps in the 120-lap race. "We'd rather win, but at least we had a good points day."

The 23-year-old Las Vegas native now holds a 62-point advantage over second-place Carl Edwards in the championship standings, as Busch is running the entire 35-race schedule with the sole purpose of claiming the series title.

"Kyle did a great job today," said crew chief Jason Ratcliff. "It got a little scary there at the beginning, so he dropped back and tried to make sure he had plenty of room, in case something did happen, to get out of the way. Once he got to the front he was really strong. The guys did a good job on pit road keeping him up there. He was really happy with the car."

Busch led much of the second half of the race and appeared to be in position to notch his third victory of the 2009 season. However, on lap 104, running third behind Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth down the backstretch, Busch's day nearly ended all together.

Shortly after coming off turn two, fourth-place David Ragan was jostling for position with his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. The two touched, with the nose of Ragan's Ford tapping the rear bumper of Kenseth's machine. Kenseth's Ford first veered to the right, slapping the left side of Busch's Z-Line Designs Toyota. Kenseth then shot to the left, where he began a wild ride down the backstretch and into turn three. His car flipped four times, skidded on its roof and caught fire before finally ending right-side up in the infield grass at the apron of the corner. Kenseth was unhurt, while Busch headed to the pits for repairs.

"We got shuffled around out there with about 20 to go," said Ratcliff. "Kyle worked his way back up to third and then in one of those cautions, Kenseth came up and hit us in the rear, so we had to pit. We needed to do the right thing and make sure that a tire wasn't rubbing. So we came down pit road, fixed it, restarted 29th and drove up to 10th by the end. We're fairly happy for that, but we know we had a car good enough to win the race. We were in position, we just couldn't quite get it done."

Ragan went on to win the Aaron's 312, scoring his first Nationwide Series victory in his 85th career start. Finishing .030 of a second behind Ragan was Ryan Newman, while Busch's JGR teammate, Joey Logano, crossed the stripe in third. Tony Raines and Dale Earnhardt Jr., rounded out the top-five, while Jason Leffler, Jason Keller, Scott Lagasse Jr., Brad Keselowski and Busch comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The race featured nine caution periods for six laps, with 20 drivers failing to finish the 120-lap race, which was extended three laps due to a green-white-checkered finish.

The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the May 1 Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

-credit: jgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Jason Keller , Jason Leffler , Ryan Newman , Tony Raines , Carl Edwards , Brad Keselowski , David Ragan , Kyle Busch
Teams Roush Fenway Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing