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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)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in third place and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS finishes in second place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, climbs into his car prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Larson is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies for 2nd position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS celebrates with his team after winning the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS won the Pole position Friday, March 20, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch is 33rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Joining him on the front row will be Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson drives the #42 Target Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses for a photo with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the pole during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 NATIONWIDE Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS qualifies for fourth position Friday, March 6, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #4 Energizer Chevrolet SS qualifies in sixth position Friday, February 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Kellogg/Cheez-It Ford, races Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, and Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is interviewed in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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