Crew chief Adam Stevens started crying when the race was over, but Kyle Busch was the one who drove the wheels off of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Busch drove his No. 54 car to victory lane for the eighth time in 15 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this season. He flat out dominated the Indiana 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading 92 of the 100 laps. It’s also Busch’s fifth win from the pole this year in NASCAR’s second tier series.
However, any win with Kyle Busch can’t be a victory without controversy.
Busch lost the lead on the final restart as he was passed by Brian Scott and Joey Logano. Scott took the lead with six laps to go in the race and even pulled away from Logano quite a bit. Unfortunately for Scott, Busch caught up to him in turn one on lap 98. Busch got underneath Scott, causing him to get lose and slip up the track, giving up the lead.
It was arguably Scott’s best shot at victory since joining Richard Childress Racing this year and would have been a true story book ending if he could have recorded his first career victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the most historic race track in the world.
Brian Vickers earned the $100,000 Dash for Cash bonus from Nationwide Insurance as he took his No. 20 Toyota to the fourth position. Vickers’s fourth place finish also helped Pam Nabors win $100,000 as well, and thanked Vickers by giving him a peck on the cheek.
The championship battle took a stunning turn at Indianapolis. After having a great run inside of the top 10 for the majority of the race, championship leader, Sam Hornish Jr., started to overheat and evidently blew an engine even after cleaning off his grille during an unscheduled pit stop with approximately 40 laps to go.
Hornish Jr. finished 34th which puts him 14 points back of the championship lead. Regan Smith wasn’t able to capitalize on Hornish’s struggles though. The guy who’s led the points for the majority of the season had an overheating problem at the same exact time as Hornish. However, he didn’t have to go to the garage, but still struggled with handling after that. Smith ended up finishing 19th, six points behind the lead.
So, who’s leading the championship then?
Well, it’s the guy that won the inaugural dirt track race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora on Wednesday evening. Yeah, Austin Dillon is the points leader. How? Because he’s as consistent as it gets. Dillon had a car that ran outside of the top 10 for the majority of the race, but was able to barely earn a finish of 12th at the yard of bricks. Third in points is Elliott Sadler who’s 13 points back of Dillon. Sadler had a horrific day at Indianapolis as he fought an ill handling car all day before he finished 13th.
Justin Allgaier, who was in the top five in points, had mechanical issues before the race even started. The issues sidelined Allgaier for the first 20 laps until he was able to bring his No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet back on track, finishing 33rd.
Trevor Bayne had a car capable of winning and ran in second for the majority of the race. At one point, Bayne cut down Busch’s lead by 1.5 seconds in less than 20 laps. Bayne got into Kasey Kahne late in the race which caused the final caution. The two banged each other for several yards until Kahne fell behind Bayne with major damage sustained to both cars.
Kevin Swindell had a stellar day. Driving a partial schedule for Biagi-Denbeste Racing, Swindell finished eighth, the highest finishing rookie in the race. Michael Annett and Travis Pastrana rounded out the top 10 as both had very respectable runs.
Kyle Fowler and David Starr had great runs finishing 20th and 21st respectively. Ryan Sieg also had a strong run. Sieg made his third NASCAR Nationwide Series start this year, the first with his family owned team that usually fields two Camping World Truck Series entries on a weekly basis. Sieg shockingly finished 24th and was the first car one lap down.
Though it was a clean race, there was still plenty of action throughout the day. Green flag pit stops spiced things up and if it weren’t for a few late race cautions, things would have been even more interesting.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.