Capitalising on Kevin Harvick's attempt to stretch his gas mileage beyond the capacity of his fuel cell, Kyle Busch won his sixth Nationwide Series race of the season Saturday night and his first at Gateway International Raceway.
In a 19-lap green-flag run to the finish, Busch held off Reed Sorenson to win the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at the 1.25-mile racetrack. The victory was Busch's 27th in the series, tying him with Jeff Burton for fourth place on the career win list.
Busch extended his lead in the series standings to 212 points over third-place finisher Carl Edwards. Mike Bliss finished fourth, followed by Brad Coleman. Stephen Leicht, rookie Michael Annett, polesitter Brad Keselowski, Jason Keller and rookie Erik Darnell completed the top ten.
“Good job, guys, awesome work - great racecar,” exulted Busch after crossing the finish line.
Harvick led the field to a restart on lap 130 after the sixth caution of the race and maintained a six-to-eight car length lead over Busch until Harvick ran out of fuel on lap 171, coasted into the pits and lost three laps as his crew struggled to restart the engine of the #33 Chevrolet.
Jason Leffler, running second at the time, brought his #38 Toyota to pit road on lap 175, moments before Kenny Wallace's #28 Chevrolet started billowing smoke and dropped oil on the track, necessitating the seventh caution. The front-runners took the opportunity to stop for fuel and tyres, with Busch winning the race off pit road.
Edwards lined up fifth after a four-tyre stop but couldn't make enough headway toward the front before the laps ran out.
“It was good, hard-fought race,” said Busch who has three wins and four runner-up finishes in his last seven Nationwide starts. “It was a real battle there with Kevin Harvick. He had a real good car tonight. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to race him there at the end. He ran out and had to come to pit road.
“They (the #18 Joe Gibbs racing team) gave me a great racecar. We didn't qualify as well as we wanted to (ninth) - maybe because of the draw, maybe because of the set-up in qualifying trim - but we were steady all night.”
by Reid Spencer/Sporting News