Kyle Busch is two for two this weekend at the Dover International Speedway. After dominating the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Friday afternoon, Busch scored his 66th career win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and now has a total of 134victories in NASCAR’s top-three divisions.
Busch led 124 of the 200 laps in the Buckle Up 200, providing the eighth win at Dover for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. He restated his dominance, especially on restarts as he was able to pull out front within the first two laps of each restart, providing the No. 54 car with a comfortable lead for the long green flag runs. Entering this weekend’s events at Dover, no driver had previously won both the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series events at the Monster Mile. Busch will be looking to complete the Dover triple on Sunday afternoon during the FedEx 400.
Late in the race, Trevor Bayne was able to get around Joey Logano, who had won four straight Nationwide Series contests at Dover prior to this weekend. Logano led 59 laps on Saturday’s spectacle, but just didn’t have a car capable of keeping up with Busch who was setting a staggering pace after the second round of pit stops.
"This team has made some really big gains this week. We have been eighth to 10th every week and it kind of stinks to be that close. I will never complain about a second place finish, but when you can get that close, you want to keep going," Bayne said.
After being more than two seconds behind Busch, Bayne close the gap to less than half of a second with 15 laps to go. However, Bayne just could not keep up with Busch who showed signs of getting stronger within the concluding 10 markers. This marks Bayne’s second top-five of the year, and now sits fourth in points.
Regan Smith leaves Dover with a four point lead over Elliott Sadler as the two were battling for the ninth position late in the race. After leading the race early, Chase Elliott ended up finishing fifth, and is now 22 points behind his teammate, Smith, for the points lead.
Cale Conley was running 18th, just trying to earn experience when James Buescher got loose off of Turn Four, and slid into Ryan Reed. Reed tried to save it, but slammed into Conley, tossing his No. 33 Chevrolet into the outside wall in Turn One.
Dylan Kwasniewski had a track bar issue late in the race, sending his No. 31 Chevrolet to pit road where he went 12 laps down.
Joey Logano will be leading the NASCAR Nationwide Series field to the green flag on Saturday afternoon for the Buckle Up 200. Logano set a blistering pace during the second qualifying session at 23.155 seconds to win his 24th career Nationwide Series pole award and his first of 2014.
Entering Dover, Logano is winless in the Nationwide Series this year. However, he is currently seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings with two wins which should lock him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Logano has won four straight races at Dover International Raceway, and has an average finish of 5.4 in 10 starts at the track.
Logano set the pace in the first round as well with a time of 23.289 seconds. Brian Scott fell just short of Logano’s time at 23.289 seconds in Round One.
Chase Elliott will start on the outside pole after pacing both practice sessions. Elliott was less than a tenth of a second off of Logano’s lap, but was not able to get a run off the corners like Logano. This will be Elliott’s eighth start inside of the top-10 in 2014 and his second start on the front row. Chris Buescher was the second highest qualifying rookie as he will start eighth in the No. 60 Ford.
After winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday afternoon, Kyle Busch qualified fourth in the No. 54 Toyota.
James Buescher will start 21st in the No. 99 Toyota. Dylan Kwasniewski was extremely loose during his run, and is going to start mid-pack. Morgan Shepherd will start last as he makes his first start of the year in the No. 89 Chevrolet.
Kyle Busch has scored yet another victory in NASCAR’s third-tier division. Busch dominated the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover, leading over 75 percent of the event. The victory marks Busch’s fourth victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Dover, and it is 39th victory in 119 starts. This also marks the eighth time Busch had recorded a perfect rating in the Truck Series.
Throughout the first 22 laps, there were three cautions as Busch started to utilize higher groove.
Busch’s teammate, Darrell Wallace Jr. tapped the wall on Lap 43, forcing him to pit while in the sixth position.
As Kyle Busch was pitting on Lap 75, the caution came out for Brennan Newberry slamming the wall on the front stretch. Busch went from first to eighth, but worked his way to third within a lap.
“We were well inside of the top-10 and the NTS Motorsports guys were really good. We are trying to get some more exposure for Qore-24. My crew chief, Gere Kennon, had the truck working good where we actually practiced in the dark and kind of had a cloud. We were just trying to buy our time, and we were just catching people all of a sudden. Racing is tight here at Dover, and we didn’t get the groove that we wanted, and we ran out of real estate and spun around,” Newberry said after the race.
Crafton slammed the wall exiting turn two on Lap 157, forcing an abrupt end to his day as he seemingly had a truck that could contend with Busch for the victory. He entered Dover with an 11 point lead over Timothy Peters. After the race, Crafton said he broke a wheel and that was it. Now, Peters is ahead of Johnny Sauter and Crafton by just one marker.
German Quiroga got into Gray Gaulding entering turn three, sending the No. 20 Chevrolet spinning into the outside wall, and collecting Ben Rhodes in the process.
“ The No. 20 and No. 77 were battling hard and I was working on staying up high and setting him (Quiroga) up so I can work on the No. 20, but they got together entering the corner and the No. 77 was aero loose. They came together at the wrong time and collected me in the wreck,” Rhodes said.
Brandon Jones recorded a career-best finish of fourth after getting the lucky dog on the fifth caution of the day. Jones ran as high as second, but was able to earn his first career top-10 finish. Ryan Blaney was able to take advantage of Crafton’s wreck after running third all day, and finished runner-up to Busch.
There were a total of seven cautions with four different leaders and six lead changes.
Jimmie Johnson is the all-time wins leader at Dover International Raceway with eight trophies. The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet is coming off of a victory at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and is looking to lock up his ninth career victory at the Monster Mile.
Johnson, 38, has all but owned Dover since he swept both races at the Delaware track in his rookie year. He has led at least one lap at Dover in all but five of the 24 times he has taken the green flag at the high-banked oval. He has recorded all but of Hendrick Motortsports' 14 wins at Dover.
But what is so vexing about Johnson’s success at Dover?
With Chad Knaus at the helm, Johnson has been able to tame the “monster” no matter what body NASCAR has thrown onto the cars. Whether it was the Generation Four vehicle or the Generation Six – Johnson’s dominance has been a never ending train ride which has helped propel him to the top of the Sprint Cup Series. Even though NASCAR has changed up the aero package from last season, Johnson believes he is going to be a contender once again, and he proved that by putting up a solid lap time during first practice on Friday morning.
“There’s a sensation that I look for, especially at this track. We all have a certain sensation that we look for. It’s just you need to find the speed that fits the track, and it has worked well for me, for Chad and the team. It has just been a really strong track for us,” Johnson said.
“ I just pay attention to what I am looking for, what we are able to work through and whatever challenges are thrown at us. There are different tire combinations and different generations of the car, and this is still the Gen Six car, but there is a different rules package for it. Regardless of change, there are just some tracks that you know what you are looking for.”
The NASCAR Nationwide Series is back at the Dover International Speedway this weekend for the 33rd running Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket. Joey Logano has dominated the past four Nationwide Series events at the Monster Mile. However, Logano has yet to win in NASCAR’s second-tier division in multiple starts this year as he has been enjoying success in the Sprint Cup Series with Team Penske.
If anyone will stop Logano’s dominance at Dover, it will occur this weekend. The Nationwide Series regulars have won nearly half of the events this season, and a track such as Dover falls into the hands of some younger drivers which often race well at the shorter tracks.
Regan Smith enters Dover with the points lead after 11 events in the Nationwide Series in 2014. After winning at Daytona to start off the year, Smith has been extremely consistent – finishing inside of the top-10 during each race this season. However, he has not led at any tracks this season other than the two restrictor plate races. In eight starts at Dover in Nationwide Series competition, Smith has recorded one top-10 finish.
“We just need to put ourselves in situations to get up front and lead laps. We are not lacking that much really. I think all three of our cars are capable of winning. Chase has two intermediate wins, and as you said – we have been top-10 all season long. It is just the little stuff. Maybe we need a better pit stop here or an adjustment there, or maybe a little better qualifying at some places,” Smith said. “I think in the first five/six races, we were really learning each other. We really had some struggles with the No. 7 car in particular. Around Darlington, we really started making a turn, getting better each week.”
Kyle Busch will be attempting to score his third victory of the season this weekend, and his fourth win at Dover in what will be his 18th career start at the track. Busch has finished inside of the top-five at each race he has been entered in this year, and is looking to score his 66th career Nationwide Series victory. Busch’s teammate, Matt Kenseth, is also racing in the Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. This will be Kenseth’s ninth start of the 2014 season, but he has been winless this year, albeit leading 253 laps.
“There’s always the argument being made that there are certain tracks where it is nice to get extra track time. It’s good at a track that you go to once a year and take two tires or something like that. It’s nice to get some extra time,” Kenseth said on how running the Nationwide Series races effects his Cup Series effort.
There are 40 drivers entered in the Nationwide Series event this weekend. Paulie Harraka is making his first start for TriStar Motorsports in the No. 44 Toyota. Todd Bodine returns to the Nationwide Series for his second start of the year in the No. 55 Chevrolet. Joe Nemechek will not be racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event this weekend, but is making his fifth Nationwide Series start of the year for his self-owned NEMCO Motorsports team. Morgan Shepherd is making his return to the Nationwide Series as well this weekend. Shepherd, 72, will make his 352nd career start in NASCAR’s second-tier division after resetting his previous record of being the oldest driver to start a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Phoenix earlier this year.
The Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket starts at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon.