Kyle Busch didn’t put on the dominating performance on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway that he did in May when he led 186 of 200 laps to claim his seventh NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the track. Still, he won in Nationwide competition again at Charlotte on Friday night, taking the lead from Sam Hornish Jr. for good with 20 laps remaining to drive on to his eighth-career Nationwide win at the track.
Nationwide Series championship contenders Austin Dillon and finished second and third, racing to a virtual draw as far as the 2013 Nationwide Series championship goes. Both led laps, but Hornish led the most laps in the race for an extra bonus point to match the extra point Dillon earned for finishing one position ahead.
“That was the most fun race I’ve been in all year,” Dillon said.
After Busch started from the pole and led the first six laps of the race, Hornish took the lead on lap seven and dominated the first half of the 200 lap event while Busch battled handling issues.
Regan Smith, Alex Bowman and Nelson Piquet Jr. stayed out during a caution for track position just past the halfway point of the race. While Bowman and Piquet fell back on the restart, Smith was able to remain up front until having to head down pit road for a green-flag pit stop with about 60 laps to go.
After Smith pitted, Kyle Larson inherited the lead. Larson continued to lead until a slow pit stop during the fifth and final caution of the race that came out with just over 40 laps remaining.
Busch got off pit road first and Dillon second to restart the race on the front row. As soon as the race returned to green, Hornish moved up to second and then with 20 laps remaining, got by Busch for the lead.
“We had a lot of work to get the car tightened up,” Hornish said of his absence from the front of the field for much of the second half of the race.
Busch was able to retake the lead with eight laps to go. Three laps later, Dillon got by Hornish for second.
“I lost the lead and didn’t thing I would win the thing,” Busch said.
Kevin Harvick finished fourth and Matt Kenseth was fifth. Finishing sixth through 10th were Justin Allgaier, Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Parker Kligerman and Michael Annett.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR