Saturday, July 12, 2008
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Kyle Busch wins Nationwide race at Chicagoland

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[July 12, 2008]  JOLIET, Ill. (AP) -- Take a bow, Kyle Busch. He did exactly that after winning again Friday night. Busch added another Nationwide Series victory to his column Friday night, winning the Dollar General 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway.

HardwareThe points leader with six victories in the Sprint Cup Series, Busch won for the fifth time in the Nationwide Series.

Busch did his customary bow to the crowd, which is becoming a weekly tradition as he has dominated this season. He has won 13 races, spanning all three of NASCAR's top series.

"Happy to be here and happy to be in Victory Lane again. This is awesome," Busch said.

So how does it feel knowing you have a chance to win, no matter what you're driving?

"You go to the race track every week thinking you'll be a contender. You go at least thinking you got a shot at winning," Busch said. "You keep coming up with ideas. ... From there you go into the race and try to make what you can out of the race."


That's what Busch pointed to Friday night, a pit stop just before the halfway mark that helped him eventually take over the lead.

"We made some good calls on adjustments on pit road and the thing came to life," Busch said. "We got it out front and kind of took off there."

Busch grabbed the lead on the 95th lap in his No. 18 Toyota, held it until a pit stop on the 149th and then regained it five laps later for the remainder of the 200-lap race on the 1.5-mile track.

Denny Hamlin, who started in 41st position, raced his way to a runner-up finish. Brad Keselowski was third.

Hamlin closed strong and lost by only 3.12 seconds.

"I felt we had something for Kyle. We just needed a caution," Hamlin said. "Anything would have worked. I was looking all over for debris. I just couldn't find anything."


Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have dominated the Nationwide series this season - cars owned by the organization have won 13 times.

Hamlin (3), Busch (5), Joey Logano (1) and Tony Stewart (5) have combined to win 14 of the 19 series races this year. Busch earned one of his wins driving for Braun Racing.

Drivers on Friday night were also able to get acclimated to late evening/night conditions at the Chicagoland Speedway for the first time in a major competition and prepare for Saturday's Sprint Cup Series race, the 400.

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Eight of the top 12 drivers from the Sprint Series were entered Friday night, hoping to get a feel for the track under different circumstances. Busch got pretty comfortable. He'll also be on the pole for Saturday night's race.

"It means plenty for tomorrow, that's for sure," Busch said. "The biggest thing I learned tonight, the track didn't change much. It got cooler, it gained grip and the balance didn't change a whole lot. That was pretty cool to see."

Now he'll try to apply that to Saturday's 400-mile race.

"The track was well-lit by the lights, and everything went good. Hopefully tomorrow we can run on the bottom like we did tonight and get our car handling well as it did tonight and be able to do some of the same things."

Pole sitter David Reutimann had the lead for 82 laps during the first half of the race.


Jeff Burton took the lead from Reutimann on the 88th lap, but debris brought out the third - and final - yellow of the night. A slow pit knocked Burton back to 10th on the restart.

The race started with a bang of sorts when Kevin Harvick ran into the back of Stewart, who also has five Nationwide wins this year. Stewart, who started on the front row with Reutimann, apparently missed a gear.

[Associated Press; By RICK GANO]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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