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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: Texas , Kyle Busch , Nationwide , Busch

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)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Hisense Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualifies for twelfth position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Larson is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Great Lakes Flooring/Menards Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 JEGS Toyota, race during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 race, at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15, 2015 in Lexington, Ohio. (Picture Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place with Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who finished in 20th place Sunday, August 16, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at New Hampshire on July 7, 2014. (Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at Chicago on July 18, 2014. (Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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