Broom time: Kyle Busch completes NNS season sweep at Dover
Over the last eight Dover Nationwide Series races, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano had won four races apiece.
Throughout Saturday's Dover 200, it was clear the two Sprint Cup regulars would battle amongst themselves and that one of them would earn his fifth win at the Monster Mile.
It turned out to be Busch, and it wasn't even that close by the end.
Starting from the pole, Logano dominated the first half of the race. But at the halfway point, Busch was able to take the lead on pit road and hang on to the top spot until the checkered flag fell.
Crossing the line ahead of Logano and rookie Chase Elliott, Busch earned his fifth-career Dover victory and his fifth of the 2014 season. By sweeping both races at Dover this season, Busch’s win marked the fifth consecutive year in which one Nationwide driver has won both Dover races in a season.
"I knew we had a good car," Busch said in Victory Lane. "I was just biding my time and I was just chilling. Trying to make a pass on those guys, but the opportunity never presented itself quick enough I thought.
"The second half of the race there when we beat the 22 guys off pit road, these guys here (on the pit crew) they did a great job on that pit stop to be able to do that. It was good for us to be able get out front like that and get out in clean air and show what this car had for speed."
Restarting the race with 47 laps to go, Logano had one last shot at Busch and put the pressure on for the lead as they battled side-by-side. However, Busch drove away with the lead off Turn 4 on Lap 154 as Logano was forced to deal with the No. 9 of Elliott.
Finishing the day in the second spot, Logano has now gone a full year without a victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. As the race moved into the second half, Logano lost the handle of his No. 22 Ford as the car tightened up throughout the run.
"I just got tight," said Logano. "I’m trying to understand why and what happened there. I’m not really sure yet. We’ll look back at it and try to figure it out. The first half of the race went perfect. We were leading a lot of laps and had a fast Hertz Mustang. Just lost the handle in the second half."
Chase Elliott’s road to a third-place finish was not easy by any means.
VIDEO: Chase Elliott escapes close call on Lap 39 without major damage
The points leader and rookie contender suffered damage to the nose of his No. 9 Chevrolet when two lapped cars tangled off Turn 4 on Lap 39. When the No. 93 of Kevin Swindell came off the top of the corner and made contact with the No. 17 of Tanner Berryhill, he did so right in front of Elliott, who was in second at the time.
Checking up to try and avoid the wreck ahead of him, Elliott caught the outside wall and hit the rear of Berryhill’s No. 17. Coming back in after his initial pit stop, Elliott's crew chief Greg Ives directed the No. 9 crew to take their time and make the repairs as best they could.
After leaving pit road, Elliott asked if the team was able to get everything fixed -- and when he got confirmation told the team to reset and forget it every happened.
Restarting the race on Lap 47 in the 24th spot, Elliott worked with Kyle Larson -- who restarted 23rd after leaving his pit stall with his gas can -- to work through the field and back to the front of the field.
Looking like a veteran, the rookie driver with one previous Dover start clawed his way back into the top 10 by Lap 62. He continued his march forward, moving into the top 5 by Lap 90.
While Elliott was working his way through the field, Logano was dominating the first half of the race out front in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford. Logano would lose the lead on Lap 99 when the field hit pit road under caution or the second time of the day, as Busch was able to beat him off pit road.
When the race restarted on Lap 104, Busch was able to hold off the charge from Logano and drive away for the lead while Elliott moved up to the third spot.
Once in third, Elliott could not get past Logano for the second spot, but made the most of what could have been a disaster of a day.
"I was proud and frustrated all at the same time," Elliott said. "I felt like we had a super-fast car really from the get-go and was really just biding my time that first run. I made a mistake following those guys way too close. That was totally my fault and I drove us into a wreck and got behind."
Fighting his way back through the field, Elliott was able to extend his lead in the series standings to 26 points headed to Kansas.
Rookie Chris Buescher was also impressive in Saturday’s 200-lap race, finishing fourth, followed by Elliott Sadler, Kyle Larson, Brian Scott, Regan Smith, Trevor Bayne, and Ty Dillon.
When the first caution came out on Lap 9 for a wreck involving Jamie Dick and Derrike Cope, last week’s winner Brendan Gaughan brought his No. 62 Chevrolet to the garage for an issue stemming from something that happened during their qualifying run. Gaughan would rejoin the race after adjustments, but finished the day 28th, nine laps down to the Busch.
Saturday’s race was slowed four times for cautions and featured four lead changes among four different drivers. Next weekend the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Kansas Speedway for the Kansas Lottery 300.
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