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Keeping Pace

Busch Wins Fifth Straight Nationwide Race at Texas

Kyle Busch won for the fifth time at Texas Motor Speedway as he beat his teammate Joey Logano by just over .6-seconds to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

— Kyle Busch won his fifth straight NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, beating Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano to the finish line by .688 seconds in Monday’s rain-delayed O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.
Busch is the third driver in series history to win five consecutive races at one track, sharing that distinction with Dale Earnhardt (Daytona) and Jack Ingram (South Boston).
With Denny Hamlin having won the rain-delayed Samsung Mobile 500 Sprint Cup race earlier in the day, Busch completed the sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing, marking the first time an organization has won both legs of a same-day NASCAR doubleheader. Busch finished third in the Cup race behind Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson.
Busch led 153 of 200 laps at the 1.5-mile track. In his five wins at Texas, Busch has led 810 of a possible 1,000 laps. The victory was his third of the season and the 33rd of his career.
“It was just a phenomenal day,” said Busch, who pulled away from a Lap 174 restart after contact in Turn 2 between the Fords of Roush Fenway Racing teammates Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. caused the fourth caution of the race on Lap 167.
“We were able to just run around there all day and bide our time, and there at the end, we were going to try and save fuel and go the rest of the way if need be. But that caution came out, and we had to race Joey for it.
“He kept me on my toes there. We were a little too loose to try to go real, real hard. I couldn’t get away from him, but then it seemed like he got a little bit tight, and I started moving away.”
Busch, the reigning Nationwide champion, took a 20-point lead over fourth-place finisher Brad Keselowski in the series standings. Carl Edwards, the 2007 champion, broke an axle late in the race and finished 30th. Edwards dropped three positions to fifth in the standings, 106 points behind Busch.
Reed Sorenson finished third. Kevin Harvick was fifth, and Jamie McMurray sixth in his first start in JR Motorsports’ No. 88 Chevrolet. All three also ran the Cup race.
Asked whether his success this year might make him reevaluate his decision not to run a full Nationwide schedule, Busch deferred to team owner Joe Gibbs.
“I had no more gotten to the winner’s circle when about three of the crew guys are going, ‘Hey, can we run for a championship?’ ” Gibbs said. “I think we’ve laid out a plan there. We’ll talk it over with Kyle.”
Busch said the noncompanion events would pose a logistical problem in running full schedules in both the Cup and Nationwide series, though he did so last year.
“I want to, but it’s up to these guys,” Busch said, pointing to Gibbs. “I’d like to, but we know how difficult it is to run both, and what it takes away from the premium spot, which is the Sprint Cup Series title.
“When you go from Sonoma to whatever the new road course is in Wisconsin (Road America, with both races scheduled for the June 18-20 weekend), you’re going to have to skip all of Saturday in Sonoma to be there for that event in the Nationwide Series in Wisconsin, so you really hinder your chances to get a good racecar setup for the race that’s going to be on Sunday in Sonoma.
“That’s the biggest thing that I look at, but all the other ones aren’t too bad, so maybe we skip one and can still win the deal—I don’t know.”
Note: Busch won a Camping World Truck Series/Nationwide doubleheader at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.) in February 2009 for two different owners—Billy Ballew in the truck series and Gibbs in Nationwide.

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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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