Kyle Busch continued his dominance of NASCAR Nationwide Series competition in 2013 and at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday when he won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas by two-second margin over Brad Keselowski. It’s the fourth win of 2013, only six races into the season, for Busch. It’s also his third-straight trip to victory lane in the series. With the victory, Busch’s win tally in NNS competition grew to six, the most of any other track in the series at the track.
“It’s fast; it just suits right into my style,” Busch gave as a reason for his success at Texas. “It’s also being a part of this JGR team.”
Keselowski finished second, and Austin Dillon was third.
Nationwide Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr., Busch and Keselowski took turns up front early on in the 200-lap race, before the event became a game of tire strategy.
With tire allotment limited in Nationwide competition, teams began differing on their tire strategy during the second caution of the race that came out for debris on lap 64. Keselowski, Hornish, Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick pitted, but took fuel only and got off pit road first through fifth to restart the race in the top-five.
When the race returned to green, drivers on fresher tires blew by the previous front-runners, and Kasey Kahne moved from the lead just a few laps after restarting sixth.
When the next caution came out just before the halfway point of the race, Elliott Sadler, Dillon, and Brian Vickers utilized a fuel only strategy to restart up front while others took tires. And just like before, the drivers up front on older tires lost positions quickly to cars on fresher tires right after the race restarted.
Most teams got back on the same tire rotation during the sixth caution of the race that came out for debris with 34 laps to go. With most of the field on similar tires, Busch and Keselowski restarted the race on the front row. After he and Keselowski raced side-by-side, battling for the lead for a few laps, Busch drove out to the front and didn’t look back.
Earnhardt finished fourth, and Harvick rounded out the top-five. Matt Kenseth overcame a pit road speeding penalty to finish sixth.
The Earnhardt-owned JR Motorsports team put all three of its entries in the top-10. Joining owner/driver Earnhardt in the top-10 were Regan Smith in seventh and Kahne in eighth.
“We’ve still got a little ways to go as a company — JR Motorsports — but we’re getting better,” Earnhardt said.
Brian Vickers was ninth, and Justin Allgaier was 10th.
Hornish was able to hold on to his position as series points leader, despite finishing the race in the 34th spot. During one of his moves from the back towaard the front on fresher tires, he was caught up in an on-track incident with a slower car.
“We were in the back of the pack, trying to work our way forward,” Hornish said.
The incident sent Hornish to the garage for a time to repair a broken track bar.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR