Kyle Busch cruises to 20th NASCAR win of season
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.