BUSCH PROVES TO BE ROCK-SOLID IN GRANITE STATE Z-Line Designs Driver Wins NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at New Hampshire... Again For the second straight year, Kyle Busch drove his No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry to victory in the New England...
BUSCH PROVES TO BE ROCK-SOLID IN GRANITE STATE
Z-Line Designs Driver Wins NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at New Hampshire... Again
For the second straight year, Kyle Busch drove his No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry to victory in the New England 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver is the first to win multiple Nationwide Series races in the track's 24-race history, dating back to its inaugural event on July 15, 1990.
"These guys did a great job for me. I can't thank Z-Line Designs and Jim and Monica Sexton (Z-Line Designs owners) enough," said Busch, who won last year's race at New Hampshire as part of a nine-win season that culminated with the Nationwide Series championship. "It's fun to come out here with these guys and race in the Nationwide Series. What a great race, and it's a lot of fun with these cars. Can't wait to keep racing these things."
Busch led six times for a race-high 126 laps en route to his third consecutive Nationwide Series victory and his series-leading sixth this season, despite not running the full, 35-race schedule. The 25-year-old last raced May 29 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where he won, before sitting idle for the series' next three standalone events at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Busch didn't miss a beat in his Nationwide Series return in round 16 at New Hampshire. He rose from his fourth-place starting spot to take the lead from championship point leader Brad Keselowski on lap 11, and held it for the next four circuits around the 1.058-mile oval. Busch faded just a tick, but as his Z-Line Designs Toyota came back to him, he reasserted his presence at the front by passing then leader Kevin Harvick for the point on lap 48.
From there, Busch would give up the lead mainly as pit stops cycled through, with his toughest pursuit coming as he again chased down Keselowski after a lap-95 pit stop under caution. Busch re-took the lead on lap 120 and didn't look back, handily locking up his 36th career Nationwide Series triumph by .644 of a second over second-place Keselowski.
The runaway win gave Busch claim to a Nationwide Series record, for his 8,118 career laps led tally is now an all-time high. The previous record-holder was Mark Martin with 8,082 laps led. Busch is also now tied with Harvick for second on the all-time Nationwide Series win list. Martin leads the Nationwide Series in wins with 48.
"That's pretty cool and it comes after beating one of the best -- Mark Martin," said Busch, who now has 72 victories in NASCAR's top three divisions (Sprint Cup -- 18; Nationwide -- 36; Camping World Truck -- 18). "There's one more record I'm after, and that's the win record to try to beat him and see how many I can get.
"It's a testament to this team, Joe Gibbs Racing, Jason Ratcliff (crew chief) and all the guys that do such a great job for me. I can't thank them enough, and all the fans. It's awesome to be able to put on a show like that in front of them and come out here. I hope nothing better than to keep racing these cars. It's fun anytime I can get back behind the wheel of these things. I really enjoy it and hopefully we can get another one next weekend in Daytona."
Carl Edwards finished third in the New England 200, while Busch's JGR teammate Joey Logano came home fourth. Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Harvick, Reed Sorenson, Paul Menard and Brendan Gaughan comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 16 laps, with 12 drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race.
While Busch is not running the full Nationwide Series schedule, JGR's No. 18 Toyota is competing for the owner's title. It remained second in the championship standings, but picked up 20 points on the series-leading No. 22 car of Penske Racing to be only 67 points arrears. JGR has won the past two Nationwide Series owner's championships.
The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the July 2 Subway Jalapeno 250 presented by Coca-Cola at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.