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DATE News (chronologically)
03/23/13
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Busch bolts to victory in Fontana
Those who know the history of the Royal Purple 300 also know that Kyle Busch’s victory Saturday at Auto Club Speedway was all but a foregone conclusion.

Busch finished 0.834 seconds ahead of Nationwide Series leader Sam Hornish Jr. to claim his sixth win at the two-mile track and the ninth straight for Joe Gibbs Racing, extending the record for consecutive victories for a Nationwide car owner at a single speedway.

With his third trip to Victory Lane in five starts this season, Busch also extended his own record for career wins in the series, pushing that number to 54. The six wins at a single track ties his personal best; Busch also has six NNS victories at Charlotte.

After the race, Busch seemed just as cognizant of JGR’s failure to win a Sprint Cup event at Fontana as he was elated at keeping the Nationwide streak alive.

“I think it’s pretty cool that you can see a team go to a race track and dominate like that in a series,” Busch said, “although it’s really, really awkward, because we’ve got nine in a row here in the Nationwide Series, and JGR has yet to win a Cup race here.

“That’s quite an odd stat, but I know (polesitter) Denny Hamlin is really good here for (Sunday’s Auto Club 400 Cup race). And I think we’re OK for (Sunday), too, so hopefully we can change that.”

Regan Smith rallied from a lap down -- the result of an early flat tire -- to claim third, with Parker Kligerman running fourth in a Toyota owned by Busch. Austin Dillon came home fifth, followed by rookie Kyle Larson.

Elliott Sadler, Brian Scott, Trevor Bayne and rookie Kevin Swindell completed the top 10.

Hornish led by more than a half-second over Busch when Jason White’s spin through the frontstretch grass caused the fourth caution of the afternoon on Lap 110.

Brad Keselowski stayed on the track under the caution and led Hornish and Busch (who took fuel only under the yellow) to the green flag on Lap 116. Before the cars reached Turn 1, however, Hornish had reclaimed the top spot from his Penske Racing teammate, with Busch in hot pursuit.

Hornish held the point until Busch passed him on Lap 126, and from that point on Busch paced the field. Busch conceded that Hornish may have had the better car, but Busch found a line -- or, more accurately, a variety of lines -- that worked in the late going.

“I don’t think we were the best car, but I got up on the wheel there at the end and just chased down that 12 (Hornish),” Busch said. “He was really, really good today. I didn’t want to see him win here in front of our home-town crowd of (sponsor) Monster Energy folks that were in the stands and, of course, the Toyota folks that were here today.

“So we got up on the wheel, like I said, and just tried to push hard as far as I could. I ran the top side for a little bit, ran him down, got there and was able to do like a draft move by him.”

Hornish was gaining on Busch in the closing laps until his No. 12 Ford scraped the wall.

“We just didn’t have enough to be able to beat Kyle today,” Hornish said. “I ran hard and got the lead on the restart a couple of times. He’d run real hard throughout the first 50 to 75 percent of a run, slide the car around, wear it out, and then we’d catch him in the last 25 percent.

“We were doing it again on the last run. I got within about 10 car-lengths of him and got a little greedy, drove it in a little bit too hard and got into the wall. But we want to win races as bad as we want to lead the points. When there was still smoke inside the car halfway down the back straightaway, I was a little bit worried that we were going to end up with a flat tire, and I was going to look real bad. So I’m just glad that things worked out as well as they did.”

Hornish increased his series lead to 28 points over Smith, who passed 11th-place finisher Justin Allgaier for second in the standings. Scott remained third in points, 31 behind Hornish and one ahead of Allgaier in fourth place.

Notes: Kligerman’s fourth-place finish was a career best in the series… Brian Vickers’ day ended with an engine failure after 107 laps. He finished 34th and dropped six spots to 1tth in the standings.

Results

Pos Driver Car MFG Start Laps Laps Led Status
1 Kyle Busch 54 Toyota 1 150 92 Running
2 Sam Hornish Jr 12 Ford 7 150 28 Running
3 Regan Smith 7 Chevrolet 16 150 0 Running
4 Parker Kligerman 77 Toyota 8 150 0 Running
5 Austin Dillon 3 Chevrolet 11 150 0 Running
6 Kyle Larson 32 Chevrolet 9 150 0 Running
7 Elliott Sadler 11 Toyota 2 150 18 Running
8 Brian Scott 2 Chevrolet 12 150 3 Running
9 Trevor Bayne 6 Ford 15 150 0 Running
10 Kevin Swindell 98 Ford 17 150 0 Running
11 Justin Allgaier 31 Chevrolet 18 150 0 Running
12 Alex Bowman 99 Toyota 6 150 0 Running
13 Travis Pastrana 60 Ford 14 150 0 Running
14 Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota 22 150 3 Running
15 Dakoda Armstrong 33 Chevrolet 13 150 0 Running
16 Nelson Piquet Jr 30 Chevrolet 5 150 0 Running
17 Reed Sorenson 43 Ford 19 150 0 Running
18 Mike Bliss 19 Toyota 10 150 0 Running
19 Brad Keselowski 22 Ford 4 150 5 Running
20 Josh Wise 40 Chevrolet 24 150 0 Running
21 Jeremy Clements 51 Chevrolet 23 149 1 Running
22 Brad Sweet 5 Chevrolet 21 149 0 Running
23 Mike Wallace 01 Chevrolet 26 149 0 Running
24 Hal Martin 44 Toyota 34 148 0 Running
25 Jamie Dick 55 Chevrolet 29 147 0 Running
26 Dexter Stacey 92 Ford 40 147 0 Running
27 Eric McClure 14 Toyota 37 147 0 Running
28 Daryl Harr 4 Chevrolet 27 147 0 Running
29 Juan Carlos Blum 15 Ford 38 146 0 Running
30 Carl Long 23 Ford 36 145 0 Running
31 Mike Harmon 74 Chevrolet 39 143 0 Running
32 Blake Koch 24 Toyota 33 130 0 Overheating
33 Jason White 00 Toyota 35 107 0 Accident
34 Brian Vickers 20 Toyota 3 53 0 Engine
35 Paulie Harraka 79 Ford 28 42 0 Engine
36 Michael McDowell 27 Toyota 30 19 0 Handling
37 Jeff Green 10 Toyota 20 18 0 Vibration
38 J.J. Yeley 42 Chevrolet 31 7 0 Vibration
39 Scott Riggs 47 Chevrolet 25 5 0 Rear Gear
40 Joey Gase 52 Toyota 32 4 0 Engine

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