Apparently tired of his recent pattern of leading the most laps and finishing somewhere other than first, Kyle Busch took a different tack in Saturday's Camping World RV Sales 200.
Busch saved his surge to the front for the final green-flag run in the Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. After passing Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Joey Logano for the lead on Lap 165 of 200, Busch stayed in front the rest of the way.
In the final 10 laps, Logano closed up to the rear bumper of Busch's #18 Toyota in lapped traffic, but Busch eventually pulled away to win his fifth race of the season by 0.617 seconds over his team-mate.
Brad Keselowski finished third at the Magic Mile, followed by Mike Bliss, who stayed out on old tires during the third and final caution and led the field to a restart on Lap 162. Kevin Harvick came home fifth in his own #33 Chevrolet.
Busch collected the 26th Nationwide victory of his career, fifth-best all-time and one behind fourth-place Jeff Burton. In posting his 13th top 10 in 16 starts this season, Busch extended his lead over sixth-place finisher Carl Edwards to 162 points in the series standings.
Though Busch talked with crew chief Jason Ratcliff about being patient and taking his time during the first 51-lap green-flag run, he said his methodical approach was a matter of necessity, not choice.
"I wanted to be (up front) - I just couldn't get there," said Busch, who started from the ninth position and became the 23rd different winner in 23 Nationwide races at NHMS. "These flat tracks, you just can't do stuff like that. You don't have the room to do stuff like that.
"Texas, Charlotte, Atlanta - all those big tracks - Kansas, Chicago, you've got room. You can go way up to the wall and run around the outside and pass guys, and you've got the whole racetrack to use. Here, Milwaukee, Phoenix, you've got one, one-and-a-half lanes to use in order to get through guys and make it up towards the front. So you've got to be methodical about it, think about it and try not to get into anybody."
Logano, on the other hand, got a taste of the frustration that has haunted Busch, who had led 1,486 of the 2,787 laps he had completed in the first 15 races this season.
"I guess this is how Kyle feels lately - leading the most laps and not winning," said Logano, who led a race-high 108 laps.
Meanwhile Sprint Cup team-mates Scott Speed and Brian Vickers - driving cars for different Nationwide owners - tangled in Turn 3 on the final lap and lost chances for top-five finishes. As the cars entered pit road following the race, Vickers (who came home 12th) bumped his Red Bull Racing team-mate (who ran eighth).
Speed explained that he had carried more speed than the cars ahead of him into the final set of corners.
"He said I slowed down going into the corner," Vickers said. "No (kidding)!"
by Reid Spencer