AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kyle Busch was in a league of his own Saturday afternoon at Phoenix Int’l Raceway.
Busch led a race-high 142 laps to win the Dollar General 200 Saturday. The driver of the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota was all but unstoppable en route to the victory.
The triumph ended a winless drought in the Nationwide Series dating back to Sept. 9, 2011, when he won at Richmond (Va) Int’l Raceway. Last year Busch entered 22 races in equipment fielded by his Kyle Busch Motorsports team, but couldn’t find his way to victory lane.
Apparently all it took was a return to Joe Gibbs Racing’s successful Nationwide Series program to end Busch’s frustrations from a year ago.
“I wish everything in the world (that) we could have gotten in done with all my guys at Kyle Busch Motorsports,” Busch said. “I can’t say enough about Joe Gibbs Racing and all the guys on this team. They just do a phenomenal job and it all pays off. We’ve seen it in the Nationwide Series for years.”
Busch started on the pole but was forced to work for the victory. He quickly grabbed the lead from the start and drove away from the pack, but on lap 41 Busch was busted for speeding on pit road under caution. The penalty left him in 23rd for the restart on lap 44, but he didn’t stay there long.
By lap 70 Busch was up to fourth and 19 laps later he moved by teammate Matt Kenseth to retake the lead. He continued to lead until pit strategy shuffled him back to fifth for a restart on lap 156.
Again, Busch was quick to retake the lead. He quickly chased down new leader Brad Keselowski and was back in the lead on lap 164. He survived one more restart on lap 176 to earn his record extending 52nd career Nationwide triumph.
The victory ended a winless drought in the Nationwide Series dating back to Sept. 9, 2011, when he won at Richmond (Va) Int’l Raceway.
Keselowski ended the race in second, followed by Justin Allgaier, Trevor Bayne and Elliott Sadler.
The race was slowed by the caution flag seven times, including a multi-car wreck on lap two involving six cars.