Busch continues dominating ways in Phoenix
Kyle Busch became the first driver to win three straight Nationwide races at Phoenix International Raceway, dominating his way through a rain-shortened race Saturday in Avondale, Ariz.
Busch took an early lead and was still out front when the race was halted with 32 laps left in the 200-mile race around Phoenix’s odd-shaped mile oval. After a delay of more than two hours, the race was called, giving Busch his series-record 64th Nationwide victory.
Kevin Harvick finished second and pole-sitter Brad Keselowski was third, followed by Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth.
Busch led 155 laps for his 10th overall victory at PIR and the fourth straight Nationwide win for Joe Gibbs Racing at the track. Joey Logano won for JGR in the 2012 fall PIR race.
Busch swept the two Nationwide races at Phoenix in 2013, overcoming a pit-road speeding penalty to end a 24-race winless streak in the series in the spring and leading 169 laps in the fall for his 12th Nationwide victory of the season.
PIR dodged the heavy downpours that spread across the Phoenix area for most of the day, but rain sent the fans scrambling and halted the race with 32 laps left.
Brad Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, will start on the pole for today’s race after setting a track record at 139.384 mph. He finished third at Daytona last week and made it through the second of two sessions in the Sprint Cup debut of NASCAR’s new qualifying system on Friday, edging Joey Logano after finishing second to his teammate in the first round.
With the sun shining, the drivers had good track conditions for their final practice session on Saturday.
Harvick was the fastest in the final practice, clocking 136.960 mph, and rookie Kyle Larson was just a few tenths of a second behind him.
Keselowski wasn’t particularly fast in practice, ending up 20th at 135.905 mph.