Kyle Busch continued his streak of NASCAR Nationwide Series wins at Texas Motor Speedway, earning his track record-tying fourth consecutive series win, but an impending potential points penalty could hurt his shot at clinching the Nationwide Series title next weekend at Phoenix.
Busch lead 179 of 200 laps. The last caution came out on lap 180, which came out for a wreck involving rookie Michael Annett and Steve Wallace, Busch said he wanted two tires, while crew chief Jason Ratcliff wanted to put four on the car. The two couldn’t come to a consensus, so Busch stayed out and maintained his lead. When the race restarted on lap 186, Busch flew away from the field and cruised to the victory.
“At this place, it’s just so hard to figure out if you can come back through traffic and you just don’t have enough time that late in the race,” Busch said. “It proved to work out our way and benefit us because we had some many cars who stayed out behind us. If there would have only been one, two or three cars that stayed out with us, it wouldn’t have been as beneficial as it looked.”
However, after the race, NASCAR officials said the No. 18 team will likely incur a points penalty after inspectors discovered improperly secured weights on opening day inspection. He currently holds a 272-point lead over Carl Edwards.
Busch also won Friday’s Truck Series race, and if he wins Sunday’s Sprint Cup race, he’ll be the first driver in NASCAR history to win at the same track in all three NASCAR national touring series.
It’s his eighth Nationwide Series victory in 2009 and with a 272 point lead in the championship standings over Carl Edwards. Previous points penalties for the type of infraction Busch’s team had have been small, but it could keep Busch from clinching the Nationwide title next week at Phoenix.
Casey Mears, subbing for Jeff Burton (who sat out of the race as a precautionary measure after hitting the wall with his Sprint Cup car during practice) finished second. It was his first Nationwide start since 2007 and he said he’d like to run more races in the future.
“The biggest reason why I haven’t gotten more involved in it in the past couple years is just because of how much is going on. I’ve gone through about five or six crew chiefs in the last few years and trying to figure out where you’re going to go and what you’re going to do,” Mears said. “If it was more stable on the Cup side, I think I would pursue more Nationwide races, but there’s always so much work to do to figure out what’s going on the next year.”
Full time Nationwide driver Jason Leffler finished third and Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. There were 19 cars out of the race before the checkered flag waved, a series high for the season.