Record-Setting Busch Storms Dover
DOVER, Del. — Saturday proved to be a day for the record books for Kyle Busch. Not only did the Joe Gibbs Racing driver dominate Dover Int’l Speedway’s one-mile concrete oval en route to claiming his single-season record 11th win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200, but he also claimed the record for most laps led at the Monster Mile.
Busch left little doubt that he would accomplish either feat as he built as much as a 4.3-second during the 200-lap event before fending off a late charge from teammate Joey Logano en route to the .4-second victory.
The win pushed Busch past Sam Ard’s series record 10 wins set in 1983. Leading a race-high 192 laps, Busch has now led 853 circuits in 13 Nationwide races at the Delaware facility, surpassing Harry Gant’s mark of 803 circuits led at DIS.
Logano finished second ahead of Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson and Kevin Harvick.
Busch’s only true challenges came from his No. 18 NOS Toyota. A malfunctioning cooling system before the green flag dropped forced Busch to battle the heat on the Monster Mile, and a vibration with less than 10 laps remaining caused concern.
But neither prevented Busch from taking his customary bow at the start-finish line.
“For myself, I like to go out there and I come to think I could win every weekend,” Busch said. “There’s those weekends that you don’t win and you are a little disappointed that something didn’t go your way or you made a mistake or things happen on pit road or whatnot, but for where I am and where this team is this year and what we’ve been able to accomplish, I’m very fortunate to be where I’m at.”
The race was slowed by caution four times for 19 laps — including a tremendous blow suffered by Elliott Sadler on lap 136.
After Sadler lost control while racing side-by-side with Roush Fenway Racing driver Erik Darnell, his No. 88 Realtree Outfitters Chevrolet slid down the 24-degree banking in turn four, exposing the driver’s side to oncoming traffic. Drew Herring slammed viciously into Sadler’s front, spinning the No. 88 in circles and bringing out a nearly 11-minute red flag. Neither driver was injured.
Busch used quick restarts to stay in clean air and separate his Toyota from the field after each caution — something his competitors could not overcome.
Despite poor restarts, Logano provided the best challenge to Busch, closing the final margin of victory to less than half a second, but the 20 year old didn’t have the speed to steal the victory.
“We just weren’t good enough,” Logano said of his second-place run. “We started the race as the third-place car and that’s all we had.”
Edwards cut NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader Brad Keslowski’s advantage to 320 points after the Penske Racing driver finished 17th Saturday.