Battered Busch Wins Talladega
By: MRN Staff on April 16, 2011 | 6:15 P.M. EST
Busch has now won in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions at the 2.66-mile Alabama track. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kyle Busch survived damage from an earlier race accident to win his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in Saturday's Aaron's 312.
Busch has now won in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions at the 2.66-mile Alabama track as he scored his fourth victory of the season. Talladega is the seventh track where Busch has completed that three-peat.
"Look at the thing," Busch said surverying his damaged Toyota which was involved in the day’s biggest accident, a 21-car melee. "I got hit like three times on the left side. I thought it was killed!"
The win was Busch’s 47th in 209 career series starts.
Busch was declared the winner on the race’s second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish as he was in the top spot on lap 124 when Mike Wallace flipped on the backstretch after getting his from behind by Elliott Sadler. That brought out the caution and officially ended the race with Busch ahead of the field.
"I closed my eyes, held my foot to the floor and prayed for the best," Busch said of his pass for the lead and ultimately the win.
Before the untimely end to his race, Wallace teamed up with fellow veteran Joe Nemechek to race to the front and had designs on pulling off a major upset.
Unfortunately in the end it wasn’t meant to be.
“It was fun racing. I guess the push was just too great and I got sideways, and the next thing I know I was flying,” Wallace said.
“I drove it back and probably screwed up the motor, but I told (my team) I was going to finish the race.”
The 21-car accident took place on lap 88 just as the field went back to green on a restart.
The incident began when Busch and Clint Bowyer made contact and set off a chain reaction behind them that involved Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Jamie McMurray, Steven Wallace and others.
“I really don’t know what happened,” McMurray said. “I was obviously trying to get back to Elliott, we worked together really well all day. Elliott was trying to get away from the 99 (Waltrip) so that I could get hooked up with him.
“I pulled to the inside, and I think the 18 behind me gave me a big shove, and I thought I was just going to have to go with him, because of the momentum we had, and then I just kind of got hit in the right rear.”
Waltrip blamed the Sadler and McMurray for igniting the pile-up.
“It happened on the radio before the restart,” Waltrip said. “The 2 (Sadler) decided that he would manipulate the restart so that the 1 could get behind him, and they could work together like they had before.
“It’s the way you race, but the 1 and the 2 messing around got me crashed.”
NASCAR red flagged the race for more than six minutes to clean the track.
It was the second red flag of the afternoon the first coming earlier to clean oil on the track left behind from a Ricky Stenhouse crash after he made contact with teammate Trevor Bayne.
In addition to the pair of red flags, the race was also slowed 11 times by caution.
Joey Logano was second to give Joe Gibbs Racing a one-two finish. Nemechek, Brad Keselowski and pole sitter Eliott Sadler rounded out the first five finishers.
Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Reed Sorenson and Aric Almirola completed the top ten.
The race set a new Nationwide Series record of 56 leads changes, shattering the previous mark of 36 set in April of 2007.
Jason Leffler has the Nationwide Series point lead by two over Allgaier as the series heads to Nashville Superspeedway next Saturday afternoon.