Kyle Busch and the No. 54 Monster Energy team not only won Saturday night’s History 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, but dominated it, leading 186 circuits of the 200-lap event. Already the winningest series driver, Busch recorded his 57th victory in 253 starts and his seventh career win at the 1.5-mile track – breaking a series win tie with veteran Mark Martin. The Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 54 team continued their successful path with the first-place finish, recording six victories in 10 events run so far this year.
Busch accomplished the win from the second qualifying position, quickly taking the lead upon green-flag start. The Toyota team visited pit road three times and performed fast stops, making slight adjustments to Busch’s Camry, keeping him at the front of the field all day. Over the final 25 laps, Busch overcame several late race cautions, battling restarts and competitors with fresher tires. A late charge on Busch in the final laps by second-place finisher Kasey Kahne, kept Busch on his toes, however the 28-year old prevailed and brought home the checkered flag. Busch celebrated in style with a huge smoke show at the line, then expressed from victory lane, “This one is special. We win a lot, but I love Charlotte -- it’s my favorite race track so I love winning here in Charlotte. We’ve had some fast cars this year and I don’t think we’re done yet.”
Ten years after his Nationwide Series debut, Busch continues to prove his skills on his favorite track. He was a Truck Series winner at the facility last week in his own Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra race truck, his fifth victory in that circuit at Charlotte. Sunday he looks to make it a clean sweep of all three series events with a win in the Coca-Cola 600. Busch has finished in the top eight in 10 of the last 11 Sprint Cup races at the Charlotte track but has never won in that series.
Upon completion of victory lane activities Busch described his day to the media, “Mark (Martin) -- he’s really, really good in the Nationwide Series and there’s a lot of things that I’m beating him at, which is cool for me. He might be watching at home. This one means a lot to beat a guy like Mark Martin, Jack Ingram and all the Nationwide guys that have set previous records before. This is cool for us. It’s great for this team -- all of Joe Gibbs Racing and especially for Monster Energy and Toyota. I can’t say enough about Nationwide Insurance and of course the fans. It’s fun to come out here to Charlotte -- I love this place. This is my favorite race track and it has led to a lot of Nationwide and Truck wins for me, but we have yet to win a Cup race here. I feel like this weekend is a good weekend for us and we’ll dig in on that tomorrow with 600 miles.”
Busch continued, “The car was really, really good. I tell you what, those late cautions there were throwing us for a little bit of a loop. You had to keep up with the restarts and who was lining up behind you and all that stuff in order to get good ones. I felt like the last two I got were pretty good. All in all it was a great day for us.”
The No. 54 Monster Energy team owned by J.D. Gibbs maintains first place in the Owner’s Point standings, now leading the No. 7 of Kelley Earnhardt-Miller by 34 points.
Kahne, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick filled out the top-five finishing positions. There were seven caution periods for 33 laps of the race along with nine lead changes across five drivers.