Kyle Busch's dominant season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series continued Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway when he went to victory lane for the 11th time in 23 starts in the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage. He had to work hard for the win and battled with Sam Hornish Jr and Austin Dillon in the closing laps to pick up the win.
"I felt like I had the good lord riding with me there at the end," Busch said in victory lane. "Certainly I lost the lead and I didn't think we were going to win the thing and then somehow I got to the top and started making time and was able to get back up there."
The win is the 62nd of Busch's Nationwide career and eighth at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch started from the pole but was passed for the race lead on lap 7 of 200 by Joey Logano. Sam Hornish Jr was on the move early and on lap 22 took the lead from his Penske Racing teammate Logano.
Hornish enjoyed a 2.6 second lead over Logano when he came to pit road on lap 49 for a green flag stop. Logano and Busch pitted on lap 50 and Austin Dillon who was running fourth before the stops pitted from the lead on lap 52.
On lap 53 the first caution flew for a big melee. Reed Sorenson caught the grass at the dog leg in the front stretch and then got up into Eric McClure. From there he lost control and slammed hard into the outside wall and came back across the track. Brian Vickers took evasive action and turned to the apron at the end of pit road to narrowly avoid Sorenson but Vickers slammed into the back of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Elliott Sadler who was exiting pit road. Sorenson and his Leavine Family Racing Ford was done for the night and he finished 37th in the team's Nationwide Series debut. Vickers lost a lot of laps behind the wall making repairs and finished 31st. Sadler and McClure's teams kept their cars running on track after some repairs.
For the lap 60 restart Hornish led Logano, Dillon, Busch and Kevin Harvick. The second caution came out on lap 65 when Elliott Sadler lost control of his damaged car in Turn 3 and backed hard into the wall. He was done for the night and finished 36th.
The race restarted on lap 76 with Hornish still leading. The third caution came out on lap 89 when Jamie Dick spun off Turn 2 and slammed hard into the inside wall. He finished in 35th. The running order at the time was Hornish, Logano, Harvick, Dillon and Busch. After the pit stops Matt Kenseth was on the front row with Trevor Bayne for the lap 94 restart after they both took two tires. Harvick was third with Hornish fourth and Busch fifth. Points leader Austin Dillon dropped to tenth after a slow four tire stop.
Kenseth held the lead for awhile but Harvick was able to make the pass on lap 104 to take the lead. The fourth caution came out on lap 112 when Eric McClure crashed off Turn 2. He finished in 33rd.
Regan Smith, Alex Bowman, Nelson Piquet Jr, and Brad Sweet did not pit and restarted in the top four positions on lap 117. Kyle Busch was the first off pit road after taking fuel only. Hornish dropped to 12th after taking four tires and Dillon was seventh.
Kyle Larson really started making the high line on the track work and he was the fastest car on the track. He made a three-wide pass on Alex Bowman and Kyle Busch on lap 124 to move into second place and he barely grazed the wall. Larson had restarted in 10th. He was closing in on Regan Smith in the lead when Smith pitted on lap 140 due to overheating issues.
From there Larson began to open a big lead as other drivers tried to copy his high line. Kyle Busch was able to find success and started closing in a bit in second place. The fifth and final caution of the night came out on lap 156 when Jeffery Earnhardt blew an engine and dropped fluid on the track.
Kyle Larson's Turner Scott Motorsports pit crew stumbled with a slow tire change on the right-front and he dropped to fifth off pit road. Kyle Busch got out with the lead and Austin Dillon second. Sam Hornish Jr moved back up to third and Trevor Bayne was fourth for the lap 163 restart.
Busch led still on lap 175 but it was looking like a good four man race. Hornish was closing in on Busch and Larson and Dillon were not far off either. On lap 177 Hornish was able to pass Busch for the lead and started to pull away some. On lap 182 Larson slapped the wall and did damage to the rear of his car which slowed his pace drastically. He would fall all the way to a 13th place finish.
On lap 192 Busch was able to get back past Hornish as his car found the high line and Hornish began to struggle some. Dillon passed Hornish for second on lap 195 and tried to run down Busch but could not.
At the stripe Busch took yet another win with Austin Dillon finishing second and Sam Hornish Jr third. Fourth went to Kevin Harvick with Matt Kenseth fifth, Justin Allgaier sixth, Joey Logano seventh, Trevor Bayne eighth, Parker Kligerman ninth, and Michael Annett tenth. James Buescher was 11th, Brian Scott 12th, Kyle Larson 13th, Ryan Reed 14th, Mike Bliss 15th, Kevin Swindell 16th, Johanna Long 17th, Alex Bowman 18th, Regan Smith 19th, and Jeremy Clements was the last lead lap car in 20th.
Other notables in the finishing order were Travis Pastrana in 24th, Nelson Piquet Jr in 25th, and Brad Sweet in 26th.
Hornish led the most laps with 76 so by finishing one spot behind Dillon he stayed eight points behind him in the standings with only three races left. Regan Smith is third but 52 point behind. Justin Allgaier is fourth, Elliott Sadler fifth, Trevor Bayne sixth, Brian Scott seventh, Brian Vickers eighth, Kyle Larson ninth, and Parker Kligerman tenth.
The win for Kyle Busch and the seventh place finish for Joey Logano means that the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing team has now moved in front by four points over the No. 22 Penske Racing team in the owner points standings.
The Nationwide Series has two weeks off after running for 21 straight weeks. The next race is November 2nd at Texas Motor Speedway.
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