It was a familiar result at a familiar venue.
Kyle Busch easily held off Sam Hornish Jr. to win Saturday’s Royal Purple 300 at Joe Gibbs Racing Speedway.
No, it’s not really called Joe Gibbs Racing Speedway, but in the NASCAR Nationwide Series of late Auto Club Speedway could well make the name change.
Busch’s victory is the ninth consecutive by a JGR driver at the 2-mile California track – a streak that dates to 2008 and covers three different drivers.
The last non-JGR driver to win a Nationwide event at ACS was Jeff Burton in 2007, driving for Richard Childress Racing.
“You work hard and you give it all you can. This is awesome,” said Busch, who earned his 54th career series victory.
“We made a good adjustment on the last stop and I kept working at it. The car was working really well and we were able to get by Sam. We played around with it until we got it right.”
The victory was Busch’s sixth at the track in 15 starts – with three coming from the pole, including Saturday’s.
Following a caution, Busch restarted third on Lap 116 behind Brad Keselowski, who didn’t take new tires, and Hornish.
Ten laps later, Busch finally made his way around Hornish for the lead.
Regan Smith, who suffered a cut tire early in the race, rallied to finish third. Parker Kligerman was fourth and Austin Dillon fifth. Hornish continues to lead the series standings by 28 points over Smith.
“I just didn’t have enough to beat Kyle today. I ran hard and got him a couple times on restarts,” Hornish said. “I got within 10 car lengths of him late there and slid into the wall.
“I just need to be careful. I want to win the championship as much as winning races.”
The race was slowed four times by caution covering 17 of the 150 laps. There were 17 lead changes among seven drivers. Busch (92) led the most laps.
Royal Purple 300
Saturday, Fontana, Calif.
|2||7||Sam Hornish Jr.||Ford||150|
|16||5||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Chevy||150|
|29||38||Juan Carlos Blum||Ford||146|
*Reason out: 1-overheating, 2-accident, 3-engine, 4-handling, 5-vibration, 6-rear gear.
Race Statistics: Average Speed of Race Winner: 141.528 mph. Time of Race: 2 hours, 7 minutes, 11 seconds. Margin of Victory: 0.834 seconds. Caution Flags: 4 for 17 laps. Lead Changes: 17 among 7 drivers. Lap Leaders: E.Sadler 1-18; K.Busch 19-35; J.Clements 36; K.Busch 37-40; S.Hornish Jr. 41-42; K.Busch 43-49; S.Hornish Jr. 50-52; K.Busch 53-54; S.Hornish Jr. 55; K.Busch 56-81; J.Nemechek 82-84; K.Busch 85-95; B.Scott 96-98; S.Hornish Jr. 99-110; B.Keselowski 111-115; S.Hornish Jr. 116-125; K.Busch 126-150. Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Busch, 7 times for 92 laps; S.Hornish Jr., 5 times for 28 laps; E.Sadler, 1 time for 18 laps; B.Keselowski, 1 time for 5 laps; B.Scott, 1 time for 3 laps; J.Nemechek, 1 time for 3 laps; J.Clements, 1 time for 1 lap. Top 10 in Points: 1. S.Hornish Jr., 210; 2. R.Smith, 182; 3. B.Scott, 179; 4. J.Allgaier, 178; 5. A.Dillon, 172; 6. T.Bayne, 163; 7. K.Larson, 156; 8. P.Kligerman, 154; 9. E.Sadler, 154; 10. A.Bowman, 152.