Busch Makes It Three in a Row at Phoenixby Kyle Pokrefky March 2, 2014 0 comments
Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images
AVONDALE, Ariz. — After multiple attempts to restart a red-flagged race were thwarted by Mother Nature, Kyle Busch was declared the winner of the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
A total of 168 of the 200 scheduled laps were completed before NASCAR called the race. The win is Busch’s third straight victory at Phoenix in the Nationwide Series and is his 64th career victory in the series. The victory is also Joe Gibbs Racing’s fourth straight Nationwide Series victory at the track.
Busch was dominant throughout the entire race, leading 155 laps en route to his seventh Nationwide Series victory at the one-mile oval in Arizona.
“This car is awesome, obviously. I think we’ve shown that here time and time again, and again today, which is nice,” Busch commented on the strength of his No. 54 Monster Energy Camry. “We’re on a roll, I guess I’d like to say.”
The rest of the top-five was filled out by drivers running for the Sprint Cup Series championship, the highest finishing Nationwide Series contender was Elliot Sadler, who finished sixth.
Four cautions slowed the race down at various points of the race. The first involved pole-sitter Brad Keselowski, who managed to inadvertently send the No. 87 of Daryl Harr around on Lap 21. While Keselowski took some damage to the nose of his No. 22 Discount Tire Mustang, it was Harr who suffered the most damage as he backed his vehicle into the wall.
“I didn’t do myself any favors with the damage to the car,” Keselowski said. “But that’s part of racing.” Neither driver accused the other of making intentional contact, Keselowski chalked it up to being a racing incident.
The final caution came out on Lap 167 as 20-year-old Ryan Reed lost the back end of his car coming off of Turn 2, hitting the inside SAFER barrier hard. As an uninjured Reed climbed out of his wrecked No. 16 Mustang, the skies opened up as rain showers began to drench the track. After holding the cars on pit road for two hours, NASCAR called the race and Busch was declared the victor.
There was a sense of urgency witnessed in the on-track action today as drivers had to both race each other and the approaching weather. While there were plenty of exciting moments on track, the drivers were sure to give each other enough racing space to keep the race under green-flag conditions.
Regan Smith still holds on to the points lead he earned after his victory at Daytona last week; Trevor Bayne remains in second place and gained one point on Smith. Next Saturday the NASCAR Nationwide Series will remain on the west coast as Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the Boyd Gaming 300.
The Top-10 finishers were as follows…
- 54 – Kyle Busch(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 88 – Kevin Harvick(i) – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
- 22 – Brad Keselowski(i) – Ford – Team Penske
- 42 – Kyle Larson(i) – Chevrolet – Turner-Scott Motorsports
- 20 – Matt Kenseth(i) – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 11 – Elliott Sadler – Toyota – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 6 – Trevor Bayne – Ford – Roush-Fenway Racing
- 7 – Regan Smith – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
- 9 – Chase Elliott# – Chevrolet – JR Motorsports
- 3 – Ty Dillon# – Chevrolet – Richard Childress Racing
(i) = Ineligible for NASCAR Nationwide Series points.
# = Rookie.
The Top-10 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ Driver Standings following the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 are as follows…
- 7 – Regan Smith – JR Motorsports – 83 | Leader | –
- 6 – Trevor Bayne – Roush-Fenway Racing – 78 | -5 | –
- 11 – Elliott Sadler – Joe Gibbs Racing – 77 | -6 | –
- 3 – Ty Dillon# – Richard Childress Racing – 71 | -12 | +1
- 31 – Dylan Kwasniewski# – Turner-Scott Motorsports – 67 | -16 | +1
- 62 – Brendan Gaughan – Richard Childress Racing – 66 | -17 | -2
- 9 – Chase Elliott# – JR Motorsports – 64 | -19 | +1
- 2 – Brian Scott – Richard Childress Racing – 60 | -23 | +2
- 99 – James Buescher – RAB Racing – 60 | -23 | –
- 28 – Mike Wallace – Carl Long Motorsports – 55 | -28 | -3
# = Rookie.