Kyle Busch gets 7th Nationwide win
Even Kyle Busch acknowledged that his landmark victory in Friday's NASCAR Nationwide series race at Chicagoland Speedway probably wouldn't have happened if not for Brad Keselowski's costly mistake.
With Joey Logano out front and an overtime restart looming, Keselowski ran out of gas just before the green flag fell. Busch was able to move closer to Logano, then pounced on the restart and held on for the win.
''I don't think I would have had a shot to win the race, because it was going to take too much to get alongside Joey had the restart gone with Keselowski in place,'' Busch said.
It was Busch's 37th victory in NASCAR's second-tier series, moving him into sole possession of second place in the series' career wins list. Only Mark Martin has more, with 48.
Toyotas swept the top five spots as Logano finished second, followed by Brian Scott, David Reutimann and Jason Leffler.
Danica Patrick finished 24th, her first finish inside the top 30 in five Nationwide races this season. Patrick was two laps behind the leaders at the finish.
''I definitely learned a lot,'' Patrick said during a postrace TV interview. ''It was really nice to run a clean race with no accidents, really, especially in the first part. It's so tough when you spin at the beginning of the race. But we didn't do that, so we just trucked along.''
It was the seventh Nationwide win of the season for Busch, who also won the Nationwide race at Chicagoland in 2008.
Logano took the lead from Busch on a restart with 53 laps to go, and appeared to be cruising to victory when NASCAR officials issued a caution for debris with 15 laps left.
It's safe to say Logano wasn't surprised by, or thrilled with, the decision.
''It's almost like you can guarantee a caution's going to come out,'' Logano said. ''You know it's going to happen ... if you have more than a five-car-length lead. You can almost promise that's going to happen. So, of course, that happened.''
Logano and most of the leaders pitted, but Keselowski missed his pit — and for a while, it looked like it was going to help him, as he wound up leading the field back to a restart.
''It was going to be great for us; it was going to give us a second-place finish, maybe even better,'' Keselowski said.
Instead, he finished 21st, but still leads Carl Edwards by 227 points in the Nationwide standings.
''Momma said there would be days like this,'' Keselowski said. ''I ran out of gas here last year, which broke my string of top-10 finishes, and I'll be damned if I didn't do it again.''
With Keselowski out of the way, Busch grabbed the lead less than a lap after the green flag fell, and the race came to an end with a six-car wreck back in the pack after he took the white flag.
''He beat me,'' Logano said. ''I'm embarrassed, more than anything else.''
Busch dominated the early stages of the race, but hit a speed bump when NASCAR officials penalized him for going too fast on the entry to pit road.
After a pass-through penalty on lap 60, Busch fell outside the top five. He recovered quickly, working his way back into the lead just before the race's halfway point.
Busch made a green-flag pit stop with 65 laps to go, then cycled back into the lead six laps later, but his win appeared to be in danger when Logano moved in front on the restart with 53 laps left.
Jamie McMurray made an impressive charge through the pack after he was sent to the back for the start as a penalty for arriving late to the pre-race drivers meeting. McMurray won the pole for Saturday's Sprint Cup series race on Friday afternoon.
Despite starting at the back, McMurray worked his way into the top 10 just past the race's halfway mark and finished ninth.
There was no such charge by Patrick, who lost a lap to the leaders early on.
Earlier Friday, Patrick acknowledged suggestions by other drivers, most recently Kurt Busch, that she might have to concentrate full-time on stock car racing to truly make it in NASCAR. Patrick, who also races in the IndyCar series, said she still planned to race only part-time in NASCAR through the 2011 season, but would re-evaluate her career direction after that.