Kyle Busch wins Nationwide race at Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kyle Busch had a commanding lead wiped out with one ill-timed caution.
He snagged it back just in time to extend his dominant run in the Nationwide Series — and seal his latest win with a kiss.
Busch was the newest driver to kiss the bricks, leading 92 of 100 laps Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He turned his baseball cap around, dropped to his hands and knees, and planted a big one on the bricks.
How’d they taste?
“Like bricks,” he said.
Busch even gave the bricks a celebratory slap.
Not bad after a late scare off a restart dropped him to third with six laps left and nearly turned Brian Scott into the surprise winner.
Busch fell back after some hard racing with Joey Logano that almost wiped out his near-flawless racing. But his No. 54 Toyota was the fastest car all day and he roared back to take the lead with three laps left. He won for the eighth time in 15 races this season.
He took his usual bow before he grabbed the checkered flag. Then, off to the bricks.
“It’s Indianapolis. It’s pretty awesome to be able to win here, whether you are driving Nationwide or Cup, sports cars, Formula One, MotoGP, anything,” he said. “It’s pretty cool, this place, with the history and all the automobiles that have raced on this surface and the surfaces before it. And all the fans who have been here over the years, it’s awesome.”
Crew chief Adam Stevens became choked up atop the pit box. That’s what winning at Indy can mean, even in the second-tier NASCAR series.
It was the wave of emotion Scott wanted to feel. Scott, who has never won a Nationwide race in 128 starts, briefly took the lead and was in position to become the upset winner.
He just couldn’t hold off Busch. Few can in Nationwide. He has a record 59 Nationwide wins in 259 starts.
“I should have won here last year but I messed up, I almost messed up again and gave it away,” Busch said. “I was able to persevere there to get it back. Such a great race car.”
Busch won from the pole and gave Toyota its first NASCAR win at Indianapolis and second ever at the track.
Scott had a career-best second-place finish. Logano was third. Brian Vickers finished fourth and picked up a $100,000 bonus from series sponsor Nationwide as the highest finishing driver in the “Dash 4 Cash” program.
Scott said he was “just praying” to pull away from Busch and reach Victory Lane.
“I feel like he was able to get by me because I was a a little too cautious on corner entry,” Scott said. “I’d give anything to rewind, go back and be able to do it again. It’s great to have a second-place finish, but it’s frustrating to be so close and have to sit there and watch the other team celebrate.”
Busch said he had “no friends” on the final restart following a debris caution when he got scraped by Logano. His easy ride turned into a hard, final push.
“Brian got by me, and I had to go to work,” Busch said. “Had to put the driver hat on to run him down and get back past him. He was doing a lot of blocking, running a line we don’t usually run to take the air, which is what you are supposed to do.”
None of the top four drivers in points entering the race finished better than 12th. Sam Hornish Jr. had engine failure and finished 34th to lose his grip on the lead. He blamed debris in the grill for the blown engine.
Austin Dillon was 12th but that was enough to grab the points lead. It was a big week for Dillon after he won the Truck Series race on the dirt at Eldora Speedway.
“Wish we could have got a little bit more,” Dillon said. “We’ve got to have a better day than today to win the championship. We’ll keep fighting hard and hopefully we’re holding that Cup at the end of the year.”