SPEEDWAY, Ind. – What began as a race featuring the triumphant return of 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. as the NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader ended with the winningest driver in series history scoring the victory at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch had the dominant car leading all but eight laps in the 100-lap race to take the checkered flag in the Indiana 250. It was Busch’s eighth win in the 15 Nationwide contests he has competed in this season and boosted his career Nationwide Series victories to 59 wins in 259 starts.
Busch’s Toyota defeated Brian Scott’s Chevrolet by 2.141 seconds. Joey Logano’s Ford was third followed by Brian Vickers’ Toyota and Kevin Harvick’s Chevrolet.
Hornish started on the outside of the front row but finished 34th after his Ford conked out from overheating after 64 laps. That, combined with Austin Dillon’s 12th-place finish, dropped Hornish from the lead to fourth in the standings. Dillon is the new points leader by six over Regan Smith and 13 over Elliott Sadler. Hornish is 14 points out of the lead.
“Somebody got into the grass on a restart, we came around and somehow managed to get it covering our grille,” Hornish said. “We were the closest once to being hot where everybody else was coming down pit road, we already had our issue. We didn’t get enough cool water back into it while trying not to lose any laps. Then, we melted it down because our procedure failed us. We didn’t have everything we needed properly.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and get everything figured out on how to be better next time something like this happens.”
While it was a downer for Hornish it was a special victory for Busch’s wife, Samantha, who grew up in the Northern Indiana community of St. John on the Indiana-Illinois Stateline and is a Purdue University graduate and a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority. Busch even toured the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind., on Wednesday with his wife and checked out some of the famous spots on campus and visited a restaurant where she used to work called McGraw’s.
“I went there and there was a Danica picture on the wall with the owner,” Kyle Busch said. “I must not rate as high as Danica.”
When it comes to rating as a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Busch comes close to perfection. He scored a perfect driver rating in Saturday’s race and after winning the race from the pole broke Sam Ard’s record of wins from the pole position in a single season.
“That’s awesome,” Busch said. “We also set the record for the most poles in the series. Whatever records are left, let me know and I’m going to try to put my name on them.”
Busch has driven to victory at some of the most fabled race tracks in America in all three NASCAR national touring series but Saturday’s win in the Indiana 250 was his first victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It’s Indianapolis – it’s pretty awesome to be able to win here,” Busch said. “Whether you’re driving Nationwide or Cup, Sports Cars, Formula One, MotoGP, anything – it’s cool to win at this place just with all the automobiles that have raced on this surface before. All the fans that have been here over the years – it’s pretty awe4some and pretty special. It’s really awesome for Monster Energy.
“I should have been here last year but I messed up and I almost messed up again and gave it away. I was able to persevere there and get back to the lead.”