- Brant James, Contributor, espnW.com
- 0 Shares
INDIANAPOLIS -- A scant few laps of high drama disturbed what was an otherwise mundane day of Kyle Busch dominating the Nationwide Series yet again on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Ultimately, the Sprint Cup regular wouldn't be denied his series-leading eighth win of the season and 59th all-time.
"Fortunately, the right car was in Victory Lane today," Busch said in a gross understatement.
Busch, who set a track qualifying record on Saturday (50.099 seconds and 179.644 mph) on the 2.5-mile track, led 92 of 100 laps, and snuffed the hopes of the series regulars yet again when he passed Brian Scott with three laps left following a scuffle with Joey Logano on a restart.
"I was willing to take the risk to pin [Busch] on the bottom and take the air off him," Logano said. "That was my only shot. I had to take the lead and I thought if I take the lead that I could beat him. I felt like I had a good shot on the outside and had a good restart. I pinned him down there and he got loose and slid me up into the marbles. It is good hard racing and nothing to be mad about. I put him in a bad position hoping that he could hang onto his car and he could."
"Luckily, we didn't crash together or I didn't spin out," Busch said of the Lap 96 rub with Logano. "Brian Scott got by me and I had to go to work."
Busch had been overtaken by Scott in the low groove as Logano leaned hard on him from the high line after Busch got loose on the last frantic restart and rode up the track.
Scott produced a career-best finish of second in NASCAR's second-tier developmental series.
The Richard Childress Racing driver held the front for three laps, at one point blocking a move by Busch on the front stretch, but Busch exploded past on the backstretch and ran off to win by 2.141 seconds.
Busch set a series record with his fifth win from the pole this season.
Austin Dillon completed a good week in claiming the series points lead with a 12th-place finish. The RCR driver began the week by winning the well-received Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday in what was NASCAR's first foray onto a dirt track in 43 years.
He won a midweek golf tournament and benefited from engine woes sustained by former points leader Sam Hornish Jr. and Regan Smith to enter next week's race at Iowa Speedway up by six points over Smith. Hornish fell to fourth place, 14 points out.
Hornish, who won the 2006 Indianapolis 500 in chasing down Marco Andretti in the final expanse, was thwarted by an engine failure and finished 34th. His No. 12 Ford began overheating after a chunk of grass clogged his grille and his team, he said, didn't remedy the problem on a pit stop.
"We didn't get enough cool water back into it trying not to lose the laps," he said. "Then we melted it down because our procedure failed us on that one I guess. I don't know exactly what we were supposed to do.
"We didn't have everything we needed properly and we need to go back to the drawing board and make sure we get everything figured out on how to be better next time."
Smith, who entered the race second in points, seven off the pace, had smoke belching from the tailpipes of his No. 7 Chevrolet during a pit stop on Lap 65, but was able to nurse the car to the full 100 laps.
Dillon said he learned of Hornish's misfortune when his spotter announced his blown motor prompted the caution on Lap 65.
"I said, 'Aw, that's the points guy,' " Dillon said. "Wish we could have gotten a little bit more but I knew they were having a little bit of trouble."
As for Busch, Dillon said "I guess we got to do something about it."
That would take an even better week.
15dTom McKean, ESPN Stats & Information