Busch drives closer to Nationwide overall leader
CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Busch would like to keep driving in the Nationwide Series — and for good reason.
The defending series champ has won two consecutive races, four of the last eight events and has moved within a point of leader Brad Keselowski.
But he has a bigger goal to chase this year: a Sprint Cup championship.
Busch overcame some early troubles to win the Nationwide's TECH-NET Auto Service 300 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway yesterday. It was his final race in the second-tier series for three weeks. He's planning to step away to focus solely on the Cup series. It's a tough call, especially now.
"I thought we had a great year last year in winning the championship, setting a lot of records and doing what we did then," Busch said. "There's no question we couldn't do it again. I'd like to do it, but it's time ... you've got to win a Cup championship.
"For us, I feel like we're in the best position we can be this year. I'm real excited about the summer months. I'm going to miss running in the Nationwide car, but yet I'm pretty pumped about what we can have in the Cup car."
Busch is second in the Cup points standings, and he and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin have combined for five victories in the last seven races.
Busch has been just as good in the Nationwide ranks.
Even when he fell two laps down yesterday, he stayed calm and told his crew they could do something they've never done before.
"Let's do it," Busch said.
Then he did. Busch battled back for his fifth win of the season, holding off Keselowski and others in three late restarts that included a green-white-checkered finish. Keselowski was second, followed by Joey Logano, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick.
"It was all about the restart and he just beat us," said Keselowski, who was hoping to get team owner Roger Penske's big weekend off to a strong start.
Coca-Cola 600: Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, winners of five of the last seven Sprint Cup Series points races, believe they can continue Joe Gibbs Racing's recent dominance and win today's Coca-Cola 600.
Doing so is going to require beating four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, who is pretty darn good at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Johnson has long considered this suburban Charlotte track, located just minutes away from Hendrick Motorsports' home base, his own personal playground. He's got six career victories here, four of them in NASCAR's longest race of the season.
And based on how he ran in last week's All-Star race, the entire field should be frightened by the No. 48. Johnson easily led 56 of the 100 laps and probably would have won if not for a quirky format that required a four-tire pit stop before the final sprint to the finish.
Lucky for everyone, Johnson didn't bring that same Chevrolet back for Sunday.
"It's a different car so we're sitting here thinking we wish we had the other car," Johnson said after yesterday's practice.