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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)
Brian Scott. (Picture Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, lead the field on the first lap of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, races to the finish line to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Plaid Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS advances to the Champion 4 with his second place finish. Harvick is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, serves a pass-through penalty for a restart violation during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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