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Hold Your Horses – Busch Wins at ORP

Z-Line Designs Driver Leads 197 Laps En Route to Record-Breaking Win

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch
After a mid-week rule change aimed at trimming back horsepower for all Toyota teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Kyle Busch and his No. 18 Z-Line Designs team were set on proving a point. The talented 23-year old did just that, as his Joe Gibbs Racing-prepared Toyota Camry led a race-record 197 of the 200 total laps en route to another dominating win in Saturday night’s Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.

The win was the fifth of the season for the No. 18 team, and it was also the 14th win of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing, breaking the Nationwide Series record for most wins by a single organization. The previous record was set last year by Richard Childress Racing via drivers Kevin Harvick (six wins), Jeff Burton (five wins) and Clint Bowyer (two wins), who accomplished the feat driving the Nos. 21, 29 and 2 Nationwide Series entries.

“What a great car and what a great team,” said Busch, whose 197 laps led broke the previous Kroger 200 record of 172 laps led set by Randy LaJoie in 1997. “Joe Gibbs Racing – it’s no wonder that we’ve won this many races this year. The guys just come to the race track prepared. There wasn’t much that we changed on the Z-Line Designs car from where we unloaded. I’m so proud of Jason Ratcliff (crew chief) and everybody at the shop. They made this weekend worthwhile. We wanted to come out here and get a little sweet revenge on everybody. It turned out that way and worked out in our favor.”

The win was also a continuation of a record-breaking season for Busch, as it was the Las Vegas native’s 15th victory of the season across NASCAR’s top three series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck. It broke a tie with Kevin Harvick (14 total wins in 2006) for the most victories overall in a season since the addition of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

“For me, it’s been a dream season all around and we’re still running and still able to win races,” Busch said. “It’s just been a tremendous year for us and the opportunity that I’ve had at Joe Gibbs Racing with all the guys there. Everybody in the Nationwide Series shop and Cup shop, along with the addition of Toyota, has really taken us to the next level. We’ve really come ready to play.”

After starting second, Busch took the early lead on the first corner of the first lap from rookie polesitter Colin Braun and never looked back.

“I was kind of disappointed because I feel like those 15 horsepower cost me the pole,” said Busch with a smirk. “Tonight we had better traction all night long because of the rule change. I felt like that was a good key for us by being able to get off the corners a little bit better. All around, we’ll see how it goes at the big tracks.”

The win helped Busch, who’s running a part-time Nationwide Series schedule, maintain seventh in the driver standings. It moved the No. 18 car, which is also running a partial schedule this season, up two spots to 26th in the owner standings. There were seven caution periods for 35 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race.

Busch’s victory was the 17th of his Nationwide Series career and his sixth this season. Braun finished second to earn his career-best result, while Mike Bliss, Scott Wimmer and Josh Wise secured the rest of the top-five. Rookies Cale Gale, Landon Cassill and Joey Logano, along with David Ragan and Steven Wallace, comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the August 2 Napa Auto Parts 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in Montreal. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN2 beginning with its pre-race show at 3 p.m. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

The No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota returns to action Aug. 22 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway with Busch behind the wheel for the Food City 250.

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