Reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Clint Bowyer claimed his second win of the season by beating a dominant Kyle Busch to victory at Dover.
The Richard Childress driver charged from 16th place on the grid to pass Busch shortly after the halfway mark, following the first caution period of the day. After that he remained up front all the way to the chequered flag - leading the last 83 laps.
Busch dominated the early going from pole position, leading comfortably up until his first stop on lap 80. He recovered the lead after everyone completed their stops nine laps later and he continued to look untouchable up front. However things changed once the first caution came out for debris in lap 109. Busch led the field into the pits for what looked to be the last stop for the leaders. He emerged ahead but when the green flag waved six laps later, Bowyer brought the race to life.
Bowyer overtook Busch on lap 118 and he started to pull away, while Carl Edwards did the same with the points leader a few laps later, following the second caution of the day. Busch was able to move back up to second later, but that would not last long for him, either.
A third caution came out on lap 144, only 56 from the end, after Ryan Newman hit the wall following contact with Matt Kenseth. Some drivers pitted but not the leaders, who avoided the risk of losing track position as rain threatened to bring the race to an early end.
On the restart Bowyer pulled away from Busch and with 45 laps remaining Mike Bliss moved up ahead of the Joe Gibbs racer. Busch was then left to defend his third place from team-mate Denny Hamlin and a charging Brad Keselowski.
With 10 laps to go, Keselowski ran into Hamlin, sending him spinning against the inside barrier and out of contention. The JR Motorsports driver had recovered from being a lap down after missing his pit box during his first stop and being penalised for speeding on pit road after that.
The green flag waved for the final time with seven laps remaining and Bowyer once again pulled away, while Bliss tried to fend off Keselowski. Busch could only watch the battle for second unfold ahead of him, one that Bliss was able to win, while Bowyer took an uncontested victory ahead of them.
"A great weekend so far here at Dover, I love this racetrack," said Bowyer. "We started a little bit tight because we were so loose in qualifying, that kind of caught us off guard, qualified way in the back. I knew we'd be able to march up through because we had a stronger car and just one adjustment to free it back up and that's all there was to it."
Hamlin had harsh words for Keselowski on his radio, and he confronted him over their tangle following the race. Keselowski said the incident was simply due to Hamlin not leaving him space as he had done previously when the roles were reversed.
"I was just there," said Keselowski. "I was underneath him. Earlier in the day when he got underneath me in the same scenario I gave him room and I paid him a favour and expected the same favor to be returned and he didn't.
"So I held my ground. Same way at [the Sprint Cup race at] Talladega, same way I'll do for the rest of my career. I'm not going to be pushed around whether it's Denny Hamlin or whoever it is."
Busch was once again disappointed to have dominated the race yet ended up not winning, leading a race-high 109 laps but finishing just third. Despite the points serving him well for his title hopes, he was frustrated to miss out on the battle for victory.
Although he experienced radio communication issues and he was unable to talk to his team, he denied that lost him the race – saying that he probably lacked the right setup adjustment, which turned his car loose following his final stop.
"I don't think so," said Busch about his radio issues hampering his run for victory. "We didn't make a whole lot of changes and so when you don't do so, the track doesn't change, it's been the same since we started, you know the tires threw us for a loop. Unfortunately we didn't adjust right to what we had for the tires.
"The guys did a great job, they were good on pit road but I was so loose there throughout most of the race that I was just barely hanging on."
Edwards rounded out the top five, and consequently opened up the gap to Kyle Busch in the championship to 211 points, as the Joe Gibbs Racing driver seems to be closing on his first NASCAR title in a national-level series.
Pos Driver Car Laps
1. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 200
2. Mike Bliss Toyota 200
3. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 200
4. Kyle Busch Toyota 200
5. Carl Edwards Ford 200
6. Jason Leffler Toyota 200
7. Reed Sorenson Toyota 200
8. Scott Speed Toyota 200
9. David Reutimann Toyota 200
10. Jason Keller Ford 200
11. Matt Kenseth Ford 200
12. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 200
13. Michael Annett Toyota 200
14. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 200
15. Tony Raines Chevrolet 200
16. Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 200
17. Erik Darnell Ford 198
18. John Wes Townley Ford 198
19. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 198
20. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 197
21. Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet 196
22. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 195
23. Ken Butler III Chevrolet 195
24. Eric McClure Ford 195
25. Justin Allgaier Dodge 192
26. Matt Carter Ford 191
27. Denny Hamlin Toyota 189
28. Bobby Hamilton Jr Dodge 185
29. Michael McDowell Dodge 150
30. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 144
31. Tim Andrews Chevrolet 100
32. Brad Teague Chevrolet 51
33. Jarit Johnson Chevrolet 35
34. Danny O'Quinn Jr Dodge 34
35. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 25
36. Casey Atwood Chevrolet 10
37. Andy Ponstein Chevrolet 6
38. Dennis Setzer Dodge 4
39. Chase Miller Chevrolet 3
40. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 3
41. Coleman Pressley Toyota 2
42. Mark Green Chevrolet 2
43. Kevin Hamlin Chevrolet 1