CONCORD, N.C. – Kyle Busch repeatedly has shown he can win at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the Nationwide and Truck series. The question remains whether he can capture an elusive first Sprint Cup victory.
Busch dominated Saturday, racing to his sixth Nationwide Series victory of the season and record seventh career win at the 1.5-mile track. He also was the Truck Series winner at the track last week, his fifth victory in that circuit at Charlotte.
Ten years and a day after his Nationwide debut, Busch won for the record 57th time in the series. And he did it in dominating fashion.
Busch started on the front row and led 186 of the 200 laps. That’s the most laps led at this race since Dale Earnhardt led 194 in 1986.
Busch managed several late restarts to break a tie with Mark Martin for the most Nationwide victories at the track.
“Mark is really, really good in the Nationwide series and there’s a lot of things I’m beating him at, which is cool,” Busch said. “This is cool for us and great for this team. It’s fun to come to Charlotte. It’s my favorite track.”
With 13 laps to go, Busch beat Kasey Kahne off the restart and was never challenged the rest of the way.
“I got to the outside and just didn’t get the run,” Kahne said of the final restart. “It was over at that point. Kyle Busch is tough to beat in this series.”
Busch actually stole a page from Kahne’s book late in the race, noticing his primary competitor had found success — and was gaining ground — when he moved up to the top of the track.
“I hadn’t been up there all day so it was a little scary,” Busch said.
Once Busch made the move, his lead began to expand.
Four of the top five finishers were Sprint Cup drivers. Kahne was second, followed by Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick.
“We have to find a way to beat that Kyle Busch guy, but he’s pretty good,” Logano said.
The Nationwide Series points leader, Regan Smith, was 10th.
FORMULA ONE: Nico Rosberg set the fastest qualifying time at the Monaco Grand Prix to secure his third consecutive pole position and a fourth straight for Mercedes.
Rosberg finished ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. With Monaco’s track the hardest to overtake on in Formula One, Mercedes has a chance to clinch its first win of the season Sunday.
Rosberg, 27, who has spent much of his life in Monaco, climbed out of the cockpit and clenched both fists.
“Very special for sure, I’ve grown up here, gone to school here,” he said. “The way I race through the tunnel is the way I went to school.”
BRIAN FRANCE, the NASCAR chairman, said the organization isn’t talking with IndyCar about making it easier for drivers who want to try racing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.
“It’s not on our front burner to work on that,” France said.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway has shown a willingness to work with NASCAR. Last December the IMS president, Jeff Belskus, said he would consider moving up the start time so Tony Stewart could follow through on an offer to run the double for Roger Penske. Stewart, who in 2001 became the first driver to complete all 1,100 miles of racing on the same day, wound up turning down Penske’s offer.
Robby Gordon was the last racer to run both events in 2004.