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Keeping Pace

Busch holds off Keselowski for fifth NASCAR Nationwide Series win

Kyle Busch continued his winning ways on the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a dominant victory over series points leader Brad Keselowski in Charlotte.


By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
 
(May 29, 2010)
 
CONCORD, N.C.—At this point, it’s hard to find anything that can keep Kyle Busch from his appointed rounds—around Charlotte Motor Speedway, that is.
 
Neither an out-of-sequence pit stop nor a pit road speeding penalty nor pressure from Brad Keselowski on a succession of restarts could keep Busch out of victory lane in Saturday’s Tech-Net Auto Service 300 Nationwide Series race.
 
In a green-white-checkered-flag restart that took the race three laps beyond its posted distance of 200 laps, Busch crossed the finish line .112 seconds ahead of Keselowski to post his fifth victory in the series this year and the 35th of his career.
 
Busch tied Mark Martin for most Nationwide wins at Charlotte (six) and most wins on 1.5-mile speedways (15). The victory was Busch’s 50th in NASCAR’s top three series combined since he left Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the 2007 season. Busch will go for the Charlotte spring sweep today in the Coca-Cola 600, having won last week’s Camping World Truck Series race at the track.
 
Busch pitted on Lap 47 to check out a potential problem and was flagged for speeding when he exited pit road.
 
“We started out really, really tight,” said Busch, who qualified sixth on Saturday morning. “I just felt like I was over-pushing the right front tire and wasn’t sure what I was feeling over the seams (in the racetrack) and running high.
 
“It kind of felt soft, and down the front straightaway a couple times it felt weird, so I just wanted to be on the safe side and bring it down—and fortunately, there was nothing wrong.”
 
Other than the speeding penalty, that is. Busch overcame that disadvantage by gaining ground through a cycle of green-flag pits stops and subsequently keeping Kasey Kahne—who dominated the race until a battery problem sidelined him for two laps—behind him.
 
Joey Logano ran third Saturday, followed by Justin Allgaier and Ryan Newman. Kevin Harvick, Jason Leffler, Reid Sorenson, polesitter Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer completed the top 10.
 
Busch will not defend his Nationwide Series title, opting to concentrate on his quest for a Sprint Cup championship with Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch trails Keselowski, the series leader, by one point after 12 races, but will not race in next week’s stand-alone Nationwide event in Nashville.
 
“I’m really going to miss him not running next week,” Keselowski said. “We bring out the best in each other—and sometimes the worst. We’ve still got the points lead. It really means a lot to me and this team to have the points lead going into Nashville, before some of these Cup guys quit.”
 
Busch and Keselowski were the only two lead-lap drivers who did not come to the pits when Trevor Bayne’s scrape with the Turn 4 wall brought out the fifth caution of the afternoon on Lap 187. Two more cautions punctuated the action before Busch led the field to the final restart on Lap 202.
 
Busch’s No. 18 Toyota had cleared Keselowski’s No. 22 Dodge by the time the cars reached Turn 2, and Busch maintained his slight advantage the rest of the way.
 
Notes: Brad Coleman will drive the No. 18 Toyota next Saturday at Nashville. Matt DiBenedetto will be behind the wheel of the No. 20, replacing Logano. … Kevin Harvick, who is third in points, 94 behind Keselowski, also will forego the Nashville race. Mike Bliss will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet for Harvick.


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

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