Susan & David Stone
 Official Photographers 1999-2006
  NASCAR Southwest Series


 Nationwide SERIES




Kyle Busch Leads Every Lap In Phoenix Nationwide Win

February 26, 2011

Reid Spencer

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Kyle Busch held off a frenetic challenge from Carl Edwards in the closing laps of Saturday’s Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway and collected his 44th NASCAR Nationwide Series victory.

Having won Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the 1-mile track, Busch will try for a weekend sweep Sunday in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 Sprint Cup event.

Busch became the only driver to sweep races in NASCAR’s top three series at the same track on the same weekend when he accomplished the feat last August at Bristol.

Edwards, who finished .514 seconds behind Busch, made a contest of the race over the final 20 laps, running side by side with Busch for extended stretches as the race neared its end.

Busch became the first driver to lead every lap of an event in one of NASCAR’s top three series since Dale Earnhardt Jr. accomplished the feat July 4, 2003, in a NASCAR Nationwide series race at Daytona.

Danica Patrick finished 17th, three laps down, and posted her third straight top-20 result in the series.

As Busch continued his domination in the desert, the fortunes of 2010 series champion Brad Keselowski continued to ebb. On Lap 105, Keselowski blew a right front tire and clobbered the Turn 4 wall to bring out only the second caution of the race.

Keselowski, who had finished 102 consecutive Nationwide races before falling out of last week’s Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona, suffered his second straight DNF.

“All I know is that we blew up a right front tire, and I ended up throwing the car into the Turn 4 wall,” Keselowski said.

Goodyear provided a softer right-side tire for all three series this weekend, one designed to enhance grip. The tire was chosen based on tests conducted at Richmond.

“Our team never saw this tire until we got to the track this weekend,” Keselowski said. “It’s a combination of the new tire and the new (Nationwide) car, and that was the recipe for disaster.”


                  Stewart Wins Fourth Consecutive Daytona 500 



With a shove from Landon Cassill, Tony Stewart surged past Clint Bowyer at the finish line to win Saturday’s season-opening Drive4COPD 300, his fourth straight NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Daytona International Speedway.

Bowyer ran second .007 seconds behind Stewart. Cassill came home third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had pushed Bowyer for six laps after a restart on Lap 115 of the 120-lap race. The margin of victory was the third-closest in series history and the closest ever for a NASCAR Nationwide finish at Daytona.

Danica Patrick finished 14th, one lap down, her best result in 14 NASCAR Nationwide starts.

Cassill also was involved in another pivotal moment of the race.

With the field bunched after a restart on Lap 104, Cassill moved down on drafting partner Brad Keselowski, knocking Keselowski’s No. 22 Dodge into the infield grass. Keselowski, the defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, turned back across the track and sandwiched the No. 39 Ford of Josh Wise against the outside wall in the tri-oval, then bounced off the wall himself.

The crash ended Keselowski’s streak of 102 straight races without a DNF (did not finish).

It was restrictor-plate racing like no one had ever seen before. By Lap 55 of 120, a paired-up four-car breakaway involving the tandems of Keselowski-Trevor Bayne and Kyle Busch-Joey Logano had opened a 17-second lead over Stewart and Bowyer, who were running fifth and sixth at the time.

By the time NASCAR called a debris caution on Lap 100, there were only 12 cars on the lead lap—unheard of in modern-day restrictor plate racing, which typically features large packs of cars racing in close quarters within a few seconds of each other.

Note: Pit road at Daytona has been a veritable briar patch for Earnhardt, and Saturday was no exception. Stopping under caution on Lap 17, Earnhardt drove past his No. 5 pit stall and headed for the No. 88, his NASCAR Sprint Cup number. The crew remedied that by holding out a No. 88 pit sign for Earnhardt on the next stop, meaning that both Earnhardt and JR Motorsports teammate Aric Almirola had No. 88 signs.





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