Kyle Busch cruises to 20th NASCAR win of sea­son

The Covington News - - Sports - By Mike Cranston

CON­CORD, N.C. — Make it 20 wins this sea­son for Kyle Busch, NASCAR's dom­i­nant work­horse.

Over­com­ing his re­cent bad luck that has vir­tu­ally ended his chances at a Sprint Cup cham­pi­onship, Busch re­turned to his fa­mil­iar spot in the Na­tion­wide Se­ries on Fri­day night, cruis­ing to a win in the soggy, wreck­filled Dol­lar Gen­eral 300.

The victory was the ninth for the 23-year-old Busch in NASCAR's sec­ond-tier se­ries. He has won eight Cup races and three more in the Crafts­man Truck Se­ries.

The busy Busch's 70th race of the sea­son fol­lowed a fa­mil­iar script for Joe Gibbs Racing, whose teams have won 18 of the 31 Na­tion­wide races.

Busch started 16th, but his su­pe­rior No. 18 Toy­ota was on dis­play early. He quickly moved to the front and led 137 of the 200 laps.

"This year has been one of those phe­nom­e­nal sea­sons for us on the Na­tion­wide side," Busch said. "You cher­ish them when you can."

Busch pulled away from Jeff Bur­ton on a restart with three laps to go, de­spite tak­ing just two tires on his fi­nal pit stop. Bur­ton held on to fin­ish sec­ond and Brian Vick­ers was third.

Points leader Clint Bowyer fin­ished fourth and main­tained his 196-point lead over Carl Ed­wards, who was fifth.

The race, which in­cluded 14 Sprint Cup driv­ers and six in the Chase for the cham­pi­onship, never got into a flow thanks to rain and wrecks.

There were two rain de­lays to­tal­ing more than an hour, and 13 cau­tions for 58 laps.

"This is when you ques­tion your Na­tion­wide in­volve­ment," Bur­ton said. "We've got a Cup race to­mor­row and it's 12:30. NASCAR did all they could do to get the race go­ing, and they did the right thing. It's a late night."

But a fin­ish well af­ter mid­night didn't af­fect Busch, who com­pleted a Na­tion­wide sweep at Lowe's Mo­tor Speed­way, and soft­ened some of his dis­ap­point­ment from his re­cent weeks in the Sprint Cup.

Busch hasn't fin­ished bet­ter than 15th since the sea­son-end­ing Chase be­gan, drop­ping him to 11th in the stand­ings be­hind leader Jim­mie John­son.

But in a field that in­cluded sev­eral Cup vet­er­ans and in­ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers, no­body could chal­lenge Busch.

It didn't mean the volatile driver didn't up­set some folks. Sev­eral driv­ers com­plained that Busch was brake check­ing on restarts. There were sev­eral mishaps with cars run­ning in the back of oth­ers as the green flag waved.

"I didn't think it was nec­es­sary. He far and away had the fastest car," Vick­ers said. "I don't think there was a need to wreck the field on mul­ti­ple restarts."

Busch said he was wait­ing for Bur­ton to get closer to his rear bumper so he wouldn't gain mo­men­tum by hang­ing back.

"As far as I'm con­cerned I don't think I did any­thing wrong," Busch said. "I might have been do­ing Jeff Bur­ton a fa­vor be­cause NASCAR rules state that if you hang back more than a car length you may be black-flagged. ... I just waited for him to get to my rear bumper and he had to check up or run into the back of me."

While Vick­ers said he'd bring up the restart con­cerns be­fore Satur­day's race, the story line of the soggy race week here has been the run­ning feud be­tween Ed­wards and Kevin Har­vick.

But it pro­duced no fur­ther fod­der in Fri­day's race.

A day af­ter they were in- volved in an ar­gu­ment in the garage and had to be sep­a­rated by their crew mem­bers, the two played nice on the track de­spite run­ning side-by-side much of the night.

The two have been at odds since Ed­wards caused a 12-car ac­ci­dent that col­lected Har­vick in Sun­day's Sprint Cup race at Tal­ladega. Har­vick then crit­i­cized Ed­wards' driv­ing style and called him "a pansy" in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view.

But few were able to avoid the myr­iad of wrecks.

Joey Logano, the 18-year-old prodigy mak­ing his Lowe's Mo­tor Speed­way de­but, got loose and hit the wall on the 106th lap. He re­turned to the track and got back on the lead lap, fin­ish­ing 14th.

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