Kyle Busch is, definitely, no stranger to winning, but prior to Saturday, he’d never pulled into victory lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Saturday, though, he turned in a dominating performance in the Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the track, leading 92 of the 100 laps that made up the race, en route to 59th-career Nationwide win and his eighth series victory of 2013.
“It’s Indianapolis,” Busch said. “It’s pretty awesome to win here. It’s cool to win with all the history at the track.”
The win was also special for crew chief Adam Stevens.
“To have youor name in the history books at this track is something special,” a choked-up Stevens said after the race.
Brian Scott took the lead from Busch, temporarily, late in the race, going from fourth to first on a restart with six laps to go. But Busch got back by for the lead with three laps remaining, forcing Scott to finish second.
“It’s still a great day,” Scott said. “We had a lot of steam under the hood. . . . It was exciting to lead laps here at Indy.”
The runner-up finish was a career best for Scott.
Joey Logano finished third, Brian Vickers was fourth and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five. With his fourth-place finish, Vickers claimed the fourth and final $100,000 Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus as the highest finisher among the four drivers racing for the prize.
“Everyone on this JGR team did an amazing job,” Vickers said. “The Dollar General Toyota was just so fast; it just kept getting on the splitter all day.
Vickers’ fourth-place finish came despite radio issues.
“It was a long day,” Vickers said.
Prior to Scott’s passing of Busch on the final restart, Busch had led all but five laps of the race to the point — two during the first cycle of green-flag pit stops around lap 30 and the other three when Busch pitted just before a caution came out with 35 laps to go. Not everyone had pitted when the yellow flag waved. But when those drivers headed down pit road under yellow, Busch moved back into the lead.
Logano restarted the race on the front row next to Busch after taking only two tires under green and then staying out during the caution. But he was unable to take the lead away. Instead, Busch pulled away.
“He’s getting smaller,” Logano told his crew on the radio, referring to Busch, when asked for a performance report.
Busch’s cushion was diminished by another caution with 17 laps to go. The top-eight cars stayed out, while everyone else headed for pit road. Harvick was the first out of the pits and restarted ninth. On new tires, he quickly got up to third by the time the next caution, the fourth and final one of the race, came out with 12 laps to go.
On the final restart, with six to go, Busch and Logano were first and second ahead of Harvick on the front row. But the top-two cars made contact racing for the lead, giving Scott the perfect opportunity to take the lead.
“I had no friends around me on the restart,” Busch said. “I got down into one and lost all grip.”
It wasn’t long before Busch was back up front, though, setting his sights on the checkered flag and an Indianapolis trophy.
“If I’d got in front of him, I think I’d had a shot,” Logano said of his battle with Busch for the lead.
Finishing the race sixth through 10th were Paul Menard, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Swindell, Michael Annett and Travis Pastrana.
Austin Dillon moved from third to first in the championship points standings, despite finishing outside the top-10 in the 12th position. Sam Hornish Jr. entered Indy as the leader, but retired from the race with a blown engine and dropped to fourth in points. Previous points leader Regan Smith had some mechanical issues, himself, but was able to continue and finish on the lead lap in 19th.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR