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Busch's Nationwide win sets up try for triple

Kyle Busch wins in Texas in the Nationwide Series to add to his Truck victory
Two down. One to go.

Kyle Busch moved one race closer to an unprecedented weekend triple Saturday - and, oh, by the way - a giant step closer to his first title in a major NASCAR touring series.

Busch dominated the 300-mile O'Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway, leading 179 of 200 laps and pulling away after a restart on lap 187 to beat substitute driver Casey Mears to the finish line by 3.154 seconds to win his eighth Nationwide Series race of the season and the 29th of his career.

More important from a historical perspective, perhaps, Busch has the opportunity to become the first driver to win races in each of NASCAR's top three series at the same track on the same weekend. Busch won Friday night's Camping World Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile speedway. On Sunday he'll start fifth in the Dickies 500 Sprint Cup race at Texas.

"Four in a row at Texas, baby!" Busch shouted after crossing the finish line, referencing his fourth straight Nationwide win at the track.

Mears took his first ride in the #29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet after Jeff Burton, who was supposed to drive the car, was banged up in a Friday crash during Sprint Cup practice. Burton was not seriously hurt, but owner Richard Childress made the switch as a precaution, and Mears validated the decision in his first Nationwide appearance since 2007.

Busch opened a 272-point lead in the Nationwide standings over ninth-place finisher Carl Edwards. Brad Keselowski, who ran fifth Saturday, is 292 points back in third place. Busch can clinch the series title outright next Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway by finishing 15th or better. He also clinches with a finish of 34th in the final two events of the season.

A potential penalty to Busch's #18 car could have an affect on his clinching scenarios, however. NASCAR announced Saturday afternoon that the team faced a potential penalty for improperly secured weight discovered during opening-day inspection.

Both a monetary fine and points penalties could be involved. NASCAR slapped Nationwide Series driver Mike Harmon with a 25-point penalty and a $10,000 fine at Daytona in February for a similar infraction.

It's NASCAR's custom to issue penalty announcements on Tuesday afternoon.

Jason Leffler came home third Saturday, followed by polesitter Matt Kenseth.

Busch came close to a triple in February, when he won the truck and Nationwide events at Auto Club Speedway in California and finished third in the Cup race. If he completes the weekend sweep at Texas on Sunday, he'll do so in crew chief Dave Rogers' debut on the pit box. Rogers replaced Steve Addington as Busch's Cup crew chief after last Sunday's race at Talladega.

"We qualified better than we expected - fifth, so that's cool," Busch said when assessing his chances for the Cup victory. "The car wasn't bad in practice (Saturday). There were some areas where we felt really good about it; there were some other times when we didn't feel so good about it.

"I like what's going on there. I think we've got about a fifth-to-tenth-place car right now, and if we can just hang there throughout the day - make some good changes, make some good adjustments, have Dave learn some things, maybe - that we can be contenders. And if you're contenders at the end of the race, you never know."

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


Tagged as: Busch , Nationwide , Kyle Busch , Texas

Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Z-Line Designs/WWE Smackdown Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Crew members work on the Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch. August 20 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing garage at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29 2014. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 11, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop Toyota, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Green, driver of the #91 SupportMilitary.org Toyota, Matt Dibenedetto, driver of the #40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet, Joey Gase, driver of the #52 Chevrolet, and Kevin Swindell, driver of the #93 JGL Racing Dodge, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 9, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, poses with the Coors Lite Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 9, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr. gets ready in his office at Road America. June 20 2014. (Photo Credit:  Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr. gets himself ready for testing. May 6 2014. (Photo Credit: Jennifer Coleman for NASCAR)
Sam Hornish Jr. at Chicagoland. July 18 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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