No Rainy Day Blues For Busch At PIR

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Kyle Busch (54) leads Kevin Harvick during Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix Int'l Raceway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
Kyle Busch (54) leads Kevin Harvick during Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix Int'l Raceway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
Kyle Busch (54) leads Kevin Harvick during Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix Int’l Raceway. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

AVONDALE, Ariz. – The only thing that could stop Kyle Busch Saturday at Phoenix Int’l Raceway was Mother Nature.

Busch was declared the winner of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Blue Jeans Go Green 200 after a rain storm hit the track just after a caution flag on lap 165. The race was red flagged on lap 168 and NASCAR began efforts to dry the track. The track was nearly ready to go when another storm hit the area, forcing NASCAR officials to declare the event complete.

“I think just the pure dominance we’ve shown here the last few times that we’ve come here and the amount of laps we’ve led with how fast our cars are is pretty phenomenal,” Busch said. “All the credit goes to Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody back at the shop, all the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing Engines, Monster Energy Drink, Toyota and the Toyota Camry we drove here today. It’s fun to win them anyway.

“This is my first time winning a rain-shortened one. Welcome to the tent. I don’t know that it really made a whole lot of difference. We were really good. I would have loved to gone back out there after, but the weather wasn’t on our side today.”

The victory was Busch’s seventh at Phoenix in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition and his third-straight. Busch is the first driver to win three-straight Nationwide Series events at Phoenix.

Busch took command for the first time on lap five, taking the lead away from polesitter Brad Keselowski. Once out front, Busch was rarely challenged in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. He had a near three-second lead when rookie Ryan Reed crashed on lap 165 to bring out the fourth caution flag of the day.

Just as Reed crashed rain began coming down steadily at the track, forcing NASCAR to red flag the race and eventually declare it official.

Busch now has 64 Nationwide Series victories during his career.

Kevin Harvick led four laps and finished second in the No. 88 Great Clips Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.

Keselowski was third, followed by Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth. Elliott Sadler, Trevor Bayne, Daytona winner Regan Smith, Chase Elliott and Ty Dillon completed the top 10.

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