Bowyer holds off Kenseth for Busch win at Phoenix
Clint Bowyer held off Matt Kenseth over the final six laps and took the checkered flag under caution in Friday night's NASCAR Busch Series Bashas' Supermarkets 200, as J.J. Yeley and Jon Wood crashed in Turn 2 on the last lap at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jeff Burton, Bowyer's Richard Childress Racing teammate, finished third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards, who extended his points lead over 10th-place finisher Dave Blaney to 424 points.
Burton made a run at Kenseth three laps from the finish as Kenseth overdrove Turn 1, and that allowed Bowyer to pull away slightly. Bowyer led four times for 120 laps.
"When I saw that green car (Kenseth's Ford) off my bumper, that was when it got a lot more comfortable," said Bowyer, who posted his first Busch win of the season and the fourth of his career. "Man, that thing was just way too close there for a long time -- he was just so great there on the restarts."
Kenseth, who led 17 laps late in the race, had just surrendered the top spot to Bowyer when caution slowed the field on Lap 188.
"We just didn't have the car do what we needed to do," Kenseth said. "I needed to be able to run on the bottom and be able to turn in the middle, and I really couldn't do that. To compensate for that, we kind of had the car too loose the whole time, and I had to run up top where the most grip was."
Kenseth got the nose of his Ford in front of Bowyer's Chevy at the start/finish line on Lap 170 and completed a pass for the lead through Turns 1 and 2. Bowyer harried Kenseth to the inside for the next 15 laps, and the two cars came to the stripe in a dead heat on Lap 186.
When Bowyer and Kenseth came to the line on the Lap 187, Bowyer held the lead by .039 seconds and cleared Kenseth out of Turn 2, before Stephen Leicht's cut right front tire brought out the 10th caution of the race.
Polesitter Kyle Busch's luck went from bad to worse Friday night. Winless in six previous Busch Series events despite having led 499 total laps, Busch fell out of the race after contact with Ryan Newman on Lap 101 turned him into the outside wall.
Busch's No. 5 Chevy then slid across the track into the path of rookie David Ragan, who bounced off Busch's car and rear-ended the No. 24 Chevrolet of Casey Mears.