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Spin Costs Busch Win at Nashville

Dominant Run for Z-Line Designs Team Ends on Lap 163

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch
 
 
Kyle Busch was the class of the field in a NASCAR Nationwide Series and left the race track empty-handed…again. But unlike past races where his dominant runs were derailed by a blown tire (Las Vegas), a broken shock (Atlanta) or getting caught up in an accident (Bristol, Tenn.), Saturday’s Pepsi 300 Nationwide Series race at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway came undone for Busch when he spun off turn four on lap 163.

“It was just driver error,” said Busch, who led the most laps at Nashville and has now led a Nationwide Series-high 345 laps and has led in five of the six races held this season. “I just messed up and lost it. Z-Line Designs and all these guys on the Nationwide Series side should be proud of the car we had.”

Busch finished 16th, but the result was certainly not indicative of his overall performance.

The driver of the No. 20 Z-Line Designs Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing started from the pole for the 12th time in his Nationwide Series career and promptly paced the field four times for a race-high 125 laps. He led the first 61 laps and swapped the point with Clint Bowyer during laps 66-70 and again on laps 71-99. Busch re-took the lead on lap 100 and lost it only briefly during a round of green flag pit stops. From lap 129 to the spin on lap 163, Busch was in control.

With 62 laps to go, Busch was racing hard with Bowyer around the 1.333-mile oval. As the two came off turn four eyeing the frontstretch, the rear end of Busch’s Z-Line Designs machine stepped out and shot him toward the infield grass near the start/finish line.

While he made slight contact with Bowyer during the spin, Busch amazingly kept his car off the outside retaining wall. And after straightening his race car as he tip-toed through the infield grass, Busch motored back onto the race track at the apron of turn one.

It was an impressive bit of driving, and because it happened so fast and because there was no debris left over from the incident, NASCAR officials elected not to throw a caution flag.

As green flag racing continued, Busch limped around the concrete oval with two flat tires. After finally making it to pit road, the Z-Line Designs over-the-wall crew gave Busch four fresh tires and repaired the ever-so-slight damage to the nose of the No. 20 Toyota. But all of that work took place as the rest of the field raced at full song, which dropped Busch off the lead lap. Busch would lose another lap later in the race as Richard Childress Racing teammates Bowyer and eventual winner Scott Wimmer passed Busch en route to their 1-2 finish.

Busch’s 16th-place effort in the Pepsi 300 helped the No. 20 team maintain its sixth position in the championship owner standings. The No. 20 car sits 18 points behind the fifth-place No. 99 Toyota of Michael Waltrip Racing, and 105 points behind the leading No. 33 car of Kevin Harvick Inc.

There were three caution periods for 20 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish the 225-lap race.

Wimmer’s win was his sixth career Nationwide Series victory and his first in 57 races, as his last trip to victory lane came on July 26, 2003 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. His teammate Boyer finished second for his fourth consecutive runner-up finish at Nashville, while Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Kelly Bires rounded out the top-five. David Stremme, Denny Hamlin (driving for Braun Racing), Cale Gale, David Reutimann and Nashville-native Bobby Hamilton Jr., comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The Nationwide Series takes a weekend off before retuning to action April 5 for the O’Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN2 beginning with its pre-race show at 2:30 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.


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