Kyle Busch Takes Second Leg of NASCAR Phoenix Triple Crown
Kyle Busch held off a frenetic challenge from Carl Edwards in the closing laps of a 200-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway a 44th NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. The victory brought Busch one step closer to capturing a NASCAR Phoenix weekend "Triple Crown." He opened the weekend on the one-mile oval track by scoring his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the new campaign. Should he add a Sprint Cup Series Phoenix victory to his weekend portfolio, he will earn his second career three-series, single-track NASCAR sweep. He took his first last August at Bristol Motor Speedway. Edwards, piloting the Roush Fenway Racing No. 60, finished .514 seconds behind Busch and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry. The cars raced side by side for extended stretches through the closing 20 of 200 laps before Busch emerged with his first Nationwide Series victory of the season.
Busch led the event on the one-mile oval from green to checkered flag and became the first driver to lead every lap of an event in one of NASCAR's top three series since Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s July 4, 2003 Nationwide series win at Daytona International Speedway.
"There at the end I got a little worried. Carl raced me hard, but raced me clean. I gave him as much room as I could there. My car, I don't know why, but the last couple changes it just didn't quite go the way we wanted it to.
"(Crew Chief) Jason (Ratcliff) and these guys brought an awesome Interstate Batteries Camry here to begin with. There wasn't much work we needed to do on it. Man, to lead that many laps and to come out of here with a win feels really, really good. I love coming out to the west coast and Phoenix.
"There was a battle down there at the end and I don't know how I held him off but I kept running as hard as I could knowing he was going to give me a heck of a fight. He doesn't go down easy. You can't wear him out. He's an ironman. It was a good race for us," Busch said. Edwards took his first top-five series finish of the season and the 107th of his career through 213 Nationwide Series starts.
"I think from last year, I owe Kyle one little bump. I thought about taking it, but it's a new year and I thought I could get by him clean. He just did a good job. That was as good as race as you can have and finish second. It was clean and it was fun," Edwards said.
Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman and Reed Sorenson respectfully completed the race top five.
Sorenson delivered his second top-five finish of the season and moved from second to the lead in the championship standings. He will hold a five-point edge over second-place driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., when teams arrive at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a March 5 tilt. Radio coverage is set for a 2:30 p.m., start on PRN and Sirius XM 128. ABC starts its television coverage at 3:00 p.m.
The series visits Kentucky Speedway July 8 as part of the track's inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend.
Story by Mike Schmaltz with contribution from NASCAR