|Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at the Nashville Superspeedway|
|Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR|
Kyle Busch raced to his fourth Nationwide Series victory of the year and ninth overall NASCAR win of the season Saturday night, easily holding off Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards in the Federated Auto Parts 300.
The 24-year-old Busch celebrated the victory -- his 51st overall in NASCAR's top three series -- by smashing the guitar trophy in Victory Lane. He also has three Sprint Cup victories and two Camping World Trucks wins this year.
Busch started from the pole and led four times for 173 laps. The win is Busch's 25th career NNS victory and it marks the 27th win for Toyota since joining the series in 2007.
Keselowski, the race winner last year coming off a victory last week in Dover, was second -- 0.891 seconds back. Edwards, a three-time Nashville Superspeedway winner, finished third on the 1.333-mile concrete oval.
Mike Bliss was fourth, followed by Jason Leffler.
Quotes - Winner Kyle Busch
What was the race like tonight?
"What an awesome race car -- what an awesome group, these guys here. I owe it all to them. It's great to be able to come back here and finally get this monkey off our back or whatever its been. I want to thank the fans and everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), all the guys at the shop. They do a phenomenal job for us. NOS Energy Drink, Z-Line, Marquis Jets, Gillette and Toyota --everybody that makes this possible for us. It's been a hard couple weeks. I'm out of breath -- that was a lot of running right there. It was fun. This night was good. (Brad) Keselowski was better than us at the end of the race, but I was just trying to be conservative and not let anything happen -- again."
Are you happy to finally win at Nashville?
"What a great place to do it at. This is the team -- this one here is for the team. I told them I was going to give them a piece of that guitar. I can always buy another one so I gave them pieces. I want to thank the fans. It's great for them coming out and sticking around and NOS Energy Drink, Z-Line Designs, everybody on this whole team, guys at the shop -- they do a phenomenal job for us. We unloaded and we were good, not great, made it better and fortunately there we had just enough laps to hold off the 88 (Brad Keselowski). He was fast, he was coming."
Did you hear every little noise in the last five laps of the race worrying about what has happened to you before?
"Yeah, I heard some tire chunks coming out from underneath the back of it, but it was just rubber falling out of the back when it gets collected up in there after long runs. I heard it falling out and I'm like, 'Man I hope I just didn't run over something.' But we just kept it cool and kept running my lap times and trying to do what I could do to run what I needed to run at my pace to keep the 88 (Brad Keselowski) back there."
How excited are you about this win after some disappointing finishes recently?
"It was fun. It was a good day overall. We had the opportunity to come here yesterday and get some practice in with the rain that happened in Pocono and then Pocono practice went decent today and I felt alright about it. We had a great race car here that was able to sit on the pole and the one that led the most laps I believe and was fast upfront there. I know (Brad) Keselowski was fast coming there at the end. He had a good car and they've got some good stuff figured out on the concrete tracks. He won last week at Dover, was third best to Joey (Logano) and myself. Today I felt like he was the fastest car. We just had the right stuff go our way. We were upfront and got out a ways on a long run from him in order to have a good pit stop and we tightened the car up a little bit there on the last run just to try to make it go a little faster on a short run, and maybe it was a little too tight and that's why he was running us down. Still an overall great race for us. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made great calls there last night to make some adjustments to the car for today and the race went well. I wasn't sure how the strategy was going to work out with everybody getting off there for a while but it turns out it came back to us and everybody was able to get back on the same strategy there towards the second to last stop."
What happened on the last pit stop?
"For me, my job was mostly just getting onto pit road smooth and clean without getting a penalty there. I felt like I left a little bit out there coming to pit road because I should've charged it a little bit harder the first green-flag start but I didn't want to make a mistake that late in the race and screw our finish up. Slow and steady won the race tonight and just being good with it and being smart about it. The pit stop was good. The guys had a smooth four-tire stop. Quick times are sometimes like a 13.8 or 13.7 but a 14.3 is right there with the Nationwide Series so it was good on that last stop and nothing out of the ordinary." --more--
Are you relieved to get this win tonight?
"It's mainly relief. You think about it and it's been a while but it really hasn't. For us, we felt like realistically we can win every single race out here in the Nationwide Series. Our cars are that good, our guys on pit road are that good, Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) makes great calls all day. We had a good day that went smooth today and we didn't have any issues. We've had smooth days that were going great the past few weeks -- just at the end it comes down to something taking us away. It was relief today. I was actually nervous coming down to the end of the race because I wasn't sure. I was like, 'Something might happen, you never know.' It would just be a never-ending saga really, but finally we were able to knock the monkey off our back and get a win here. For me, especially to get my first Nationwide Series win at Nashville. My second guitar -- I won an ARCA race here. It's been a long time since that day. It was very cool."
Do you think your attitude will ever change when you don't win or do you just like that 'bad boy' attitude?
"I don't know. I'll grow up someday. I just turned 24 so I've got an excuse at least, I say. I really don't. I'm a sore loser -- always have been. I'll throw the Monopoly board when I lose at Monopoly. It's just that simple - it's not very fun to lose. My regular Nintendo systems back in the day took a beating from the controllers flying at them. It's just not my style."
||NOS Energy Drink
||Miccosukee Resort & Gaming
||Holiday Inn / Holiday Inn Express
||Michael McDowell *
||Erik Darnell *
||Northern Tool + Equipment
||Scott Lagasse Jr. *
||America's Incredible Pizza Company
||Justin Allgaier *
||Bobby Hamilton Jr.
||D.H. Griffin Companies / Northern Provincial Pipelines
||U.S. Border Patrol
||Lagina Plumbing / Eldora Speedway
||Danny O'Quinn Jr.
||Long John Silver's
||Robert Richardson Jr.
||Brendan Gaughan *
||Marc Davis *
||The Word Network / WHUR
||State Water Heaters
||Michael Annett *
||Pilot Travel Centers / Hype Energy Drink
||Aaron's Dream Machine
||Richard Childress Racing
||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
||Federated Auto Parts
||Out of Race |
||Hilton Garden Inn Nashville
||CBR Championship Bull Riding
||Western Kentucky University / 31-W Insulation
||John Wes Townley *
* Denotes Rookie