Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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Busch wins Dollar General 300

Going into Charlotte, no one had won from the pole in over 25 years in the Nationwide series, but Kyle Busch is known to break records. He did just that at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch won from the pole and swept the Nationwide races at Charlotte.

Leading up to the race, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski were one of the top stories of the week, after the two got made contact last week at Kansas. While Keselowski did not race in the race on Friday night, outside pole sitter, Joey Logano did, driving the same Penske No. 22 Ford that Busch had driven last week.  Logano and team said they had no plans for retaliation despite last weeks happenings. The No. 22 and No. 54 cars are also fighting for owners championship.

Kyle Busch took the lead early, and stayed out front for only six laps, when Joey Logano finally found some grip and passed Busch. Logano’s teammate Sam Hornish Jr. followed closely behind, also passing Kyle, and soon taking over the lead from Logano and pulling away.

Green flag pit stops were running smoothly until lap 53. By this time, most leaders had pitted. Reed Sorenson was running faster than the cars ahead of him, and he attempted to make a pass on the inside. His splitter got into the grass and turned him sideways. While attempting to save the car, he got into the side of Eric McClure, pulling the No. 14 up into the wall on the front stretch. Sorenson hit the wall with enough force to send him back down the racetrack into oncoming traffic.

In a last ditch effort to save himself from Sorenson, Brian Vickers went low into turn two and into the back of his teammate, Elliott Sadler, who was coming off pit road after his green flag stop.

Sadler, who had to start from the rear due to the fact that he was in a backup car after wrecking his primary car in practice, started in 37th position and had climbed his way up to the top-15 when he was collected by Vickers.

Vickers went straight to the garage for repairs and tried to return to the track a short while later, but quickly retreated back to the garage, effectively ending his day. Reed Sorenson was released from the infield care center shortly after, his day done as well. McClure and Sadler were able to bring their cars down pit road, repair some of the damage and continue in the race.

Caution was quickly brought back out after Sadler hit the wall in turn four, this time ending his day.

The race restarted with Hornish leading the field to green. Hornish continued to do so until lap 90. The third caution was brought out on lap 90 when Jamie Dick hit the wall.

Many different pit strategies were used, and when the green flag was dropped, Matt Kenseth had the lead for the first time, followed closely Kevin Harvick, Hornish, Busch, and Logano. Just after halfway, Kevin Harvick fought the lead from Matt Kenseth.

The fourth caution came out on Lap 112 when Eric McClure ended his day after spinning and slapping the turn two wall. This once again led to wave of  wildly varying pit stop strategies. Regan Smith and four others stayed out while others topped off fuel and took tires.

Smith led the race for the next 28 laps, when he had to finally come down and take 4 tires and gas, relinquishing the lead to the No. 32 of Kyle Larson.

Larson led until lap 157 when Jeffrey Earnhardt lost his engine bringing out fifth yellow of the day. Larson’s crew made a hiccup on the right front tire and he lost four positions on pit road, and found himself fifth on the restart.

Larson seemed to be the one to beat when he was able to find grip on the high line and moved forward faster than anyone else — until he smacked the wall and was relegated to a 13th place finish.

“If you get a little too high, there’s a lot of bumps … I thought I was dirt-trackin’ up against the wall and ruined our race” said Larson.

At this point, Austin Dillon made his way around Hornish for second, but just could not find a way around Kyle Busch who took the win.

After the race, it was announced that all proceeds from his race winnings were going to his charity that benefits women who have no insurance to pay for their treatment of breast cancer. “I certainly want to do this tomorrow night, also,” said Kyle, who credits his wife Samantha Busch for her work with foundation for breast cancer awareness.

Austin Dillon finishing in second, was able to maintain the points lead with a the same eight point margin. “We were up and down, but we got it at the end, we took off at the end,” says Dillon. “That was the most fun race I’ve been in all year…”

Sam Hornish, finishing in third, was not as pleased. “We want to get those wins, to have it slip away in the last 10 laps is frustrating.”

Rounding out the top ten were: Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Justin Allgaier, Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Parker Kligerman, and Michael Annett.

The series now has a few weeks off and returns to action at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2nd for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.


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