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Busch ‘Bashes’ Phoenix Field to Score Second Straight Win

Interstate Batteries Driver Dominates Bashas’ Supermarkets 200

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch gave fans of the NASCAR Nationwide Series a case of déjà vu at Phoenix International Raceway as he scored a dominant victory for the second straight week. The driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing started from the pole in Friday night’s Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 and led four times for a race-high 133 laps. He beat Carl Edwards to the finish by .241 of a second to earn his second win of the season and the 13th of his Nationwide Series career.

Busch’s first Nationwide Series victory of 2008 came last week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, where he led four times for a race-high 126 laps.

“There in the beginning of the race, I felt like we had the car to beat. It was definitely the class of the field,” said Busch, whose second Nationwide Series win at Phoenix looked much like his first, as he dominated last November’s Arizona Travel 200 by leading three times for a race-high 132 laps. “But then other guys were able to make adjustments to their cars and got them handling a lot better. We made some minor adjustments to our car, but we didn’t make as many big steps as the other guys behind us.

“Toward the end of the race, racing with Carl was pretty cool and a lot of fun. I’m very fortunate that he gave me all the room that I needed to race clean. He had a great race car.”

Eight races into the 35-race Nationwide Series schedule, Busch has led an astounding 604 laps of the 1,468 laps available (41.1 percent). The 22-year-old Las Vegas native is now third in points, 106 markers behind series leader Clint Bowyer.

“I just want to thank all the Interstate Batteries dealers and distributors and Norm Miller (chairman of Interstate Batteries), because they all do an awesome job for us,” said Busch, who climbed two point positions via his win. “It was just a great night for us.”

The victory brought the No. 18 team up eight spots to 27th in owner points. The No. 18 team is running a limited Nationwide Series schedule in 2008, and Phoenix marked the team’s fourth race of the season.

Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin, started sixth and finished third in his No. 20 Toyota.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 car – which is being campaigned for the full Nationwide Series schedule – gained one position thanks to Hamlin’s third-place result. It now sits fourth in owner points, 92 markers behind the leading No. 2 car of Richard Childress Racing.

There were nine caution periods for 36 laps, with 12 drivers failing to finish the 202-lap race, which was extended two laps past its scheduled 200-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Following the trio of Busch, Edwards and Hamlin across the finish line was Kevin Harvick in fourth and David Ragan in fifth. Mike Bliss, Stephen Leicht, Bowyer, David Reutimann and David Stremme comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the April 20 Mexico 200 at Mexico City’s legendary former Formula 1 road course – the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at 1:30 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

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