Coming off his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) victory of 2013, Kyle Busch continued a strong season start on Saturday by earning a second-place finish at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, a track he calls “home.” The second-place result by Busch tied his best NNS performance at the 1.5-mile desert facility – equaling a runner-up result in 2007. He also has one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) victory at Las Vegas in 2009. In three weeks the No. 54 Monster Energy team owned by J.D. Gibbs has moved from 32nd to 11th and now to fifth in the series owner’s points standings, 23 points from the lead.
Due to a set field on 2012 owner’s points, brought on by bad weather that prohibited qualifying, Kyle Busch and the Toyota Camry team started from the 23rd position in the Sam's Town 300. Busch made quick work of the pack, reaching the top-10 by lap 23 and then driving to within the top-five on lap 60. He eventually led the field at 140 of the 200-lap race, going on to hold the lead position three times over 13 laps. His black Camry was fast but not quite as sleek around the track, often battling both tight and loose car-handling conditions as the race progressed. The No. 12 of Sam Hornish Jr., who regained the lead from Busch on a last caution restart, led the pack to the checkered flag.
Busch commented afterwards, “It was a really good run for us. All the guys on this JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) Camry did a great job. The Monster Energy car was fast -- just came up a little bit short today. Pit stops were great and the car was great. We unloaded a little bit off, but they worked on it and made some good changes through 45 minutes of practice today and then came out here and raced, starting deep in the field, but coming back up through there was good. I learned some things for tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll use some of that to our advantage. It stinks to see a car that fast in front of you when you’re running second and know that you’re that close but there’s only one guy in front of you that’s beating you. I’ve been that guy before plenty of times.
There at the end I wanted to make sure that we got a good start. The restart before, Sam (Hornish Jr.) spun his tires really bad and I spun my tires a little bit. There on that last restart, I just wanted to make sure we didn’t get passed or go three-wide into the first corner with guys behind us that are pretty hungry, too. It was a good run. Sam and I, we battled hard side-by-side there. I almost had
him cleared in turn three and felt like if I could have done that, I might have had something to hold him off with, but he was fast – really, really fast. This Monster Energy Camry was good -- the guys did a great job on pit road. Pit stops were good. Solid day -- just not good enough.”
Sam Hornish Jr. recorded his second NASCAR Nationwide Series victory, the first win for him in 2013. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler finished 3rd and 5th respectively. Busch, Vickers, Trevor Bayne and Sadler completed the top-five finishers. There were eight caution periods for 37 laps of the race along with 19 lead changes across 9 drivers. Six drivers failed to finish the race.