Kyle Busch wins Nashville Nationwide
Kyle Busch dominated on his way to his fourth NASCAR Nationwide Series win of the season at Nashville Superspeedway. The 24-year-old led the most laps for the sixth week in a row but this time he managed to turn that performance into a victory.
Despite the hundreds of laps he had spent at the front, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver had only won one of the past five races, but this time even with Dover winner Brad Keselowski narrowing the gap to him as the race approached its end, Busch carefully managed his cushion to win for the first time at Nashville.
"What an awesome racecar," said Busch. "I owe all to my team. It's great to be able to come here and finally get this monkey off our back, whatever it's been. It's been a tough past couple of weeks for us.
"Keselowski was better than us at the end of the race but I was just trying to be conservative, not let anything happen again. At the concrete tracks they've always been fast."
As has been the tradition at Nashville, the winner received a specially-designed Gibson Les Paul guitar as the trophy, which Busch tried to break to pieces against the floor on Victory Lane in rock star style, leaving some astonished at his celebration antics.
"Well, rock stars break guitars all the time but I've never seen a NASCAR driver do it. I just wanted to break it apart and spread it around with the crew," Busch explained. "It didn't break according to plan, so I guess we'll take it the shop and cut it up so all of the guys can have nice, smooth pieces and I'll order another one for myself and one for Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief)."
Keselowski drove a steady race on his way to second place, beating Carl Edwards to the runner-up spot in the end. The JR Motorsports driver looked the only one capable of dealing with Busch all day long but he never got close enough to pose a serious threat to the leader.
"We did what we needed to do," said Keselowski. "We ran up front, put ourselves in position just like we did at Dover and just didn't catch the break that we caught there. But we're there; Kyle knew we were back there.
"We'll put a little bit of pressure on him and hopefully we'll force a mistake. We just need a little bit more to get up there, pass him and beat him."
Edwards had another quiet day on his way to third place, although he was happy with the progress his team made during the weekend. The Roush Fenway racer lost some ground to Busch in the championship battle and he is now 65 points off from the points leader.
"We've made some progress today but that 18 team, they've had some bad luck and we've capitalised on it," Edwards said. "But the fact is we've got to run better and tonight was the most competitively we've run for a long time."
Mike Bliss had another good day fishing fourth, while Jason Leffler rounded out the top five despite a malfunctioning power-steering, leading for 26 laps thanks to strategy moves that allowed him to be at the front of the field, although never for long before Busch would blow past.
The race saw few incidents with only four caution periods, although the last of them involved five cars, including the No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr, who ignited a chain reaction on lap 126. The race had to be red-flagged for 13 minutes to clean the debris from the incident.