SPEEDWAY | Kyle Busch and his Nationwide Series team tested at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this season, trying to find the secret to making it all the way to the finish of the Indiana 250, after coming up short in last year’s Brickyard 400.
That hard work paid off royally Saturday, when Busch pulled away from the 40-car field on all but one restart – the last one. But the superior power under the hood of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota allowed him to re-pass Brian Scott in Turn 2 on the 98th lap of the 100- circuit, and pull away just as he had the rest of the race. Busch beat Scott to the finish line by 2.142 seconds for his eighth win of the season, his fifth of the year from the pole, and his first in any series at the Brickyard.
“I messed up last year, almost messed up again, but was able to get it back,” Busch said.
Busch’s “almost” moment came on the restart after the fourth caution period of the afternoon, with six laps remaining. On the previous restart, teammate Matt Kenseth pushed Busch ahead of the field, but a three-car game of tag involving Trevor Bayne, Kasey Kahne and Parker Kligerman coming out of Turn 2 prompted another yellow. That also shuffled the field.
“I had no friends around me on the (last) restart,” Busch said. “I got down into Turn 1 and I had no grip. I don’t know if (Joey) Logano hit he or what.”
As a result, Scott, driving for Richard Childress, motored by, as did Logano on the next lap, but Busch had the stronger car since the team unloaded, as proven in qualifying, when his series track-record qualifying lap of 179.644 mph was a quarter-second faster than Sam Hornish Jr., the other front-row starter.
It was a matter of time and timing. The time was two laps later.
“I put my driver hat on,” Busch said. “The air is so important here.
I got behind him, made him loose, and got back by him.”
The last 7 miles were a cakewalk.
Earlier, Busch caught a break. He didn’t take his second pit stop during a mid-race caution, instead waiting until the 65th lap, seconds before the second caution period of the day. The timely yellow meant Busch would move back in front as others pitted to top off their fuel tanks, rather than needing to fight his way through the field.
Austin Dillon used a 12th place finish to take first in the Nationwide standings, in part because five of the first seven drivers, including Busch, are Sprint Cup regulars and can’t earn points in the support series.