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Driver Kyle Busch watches cars qualify for the NASCAR Nationwide series Indiana 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis on Saturday.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - Kyle Busch had a commanding lead wiped out with one ill-timed caution.
He snagged it back just in time to extend his dominant run in the Nationwide Series - and seal his latest win with a kiss.
Busch was the newest driver to kiss the bricks, leading 92 of 100 laps Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He turned his baseball cap around, dropped to his hands and knees, and planted a big one on the bricks.
How'd they taste?
"Like bricks," he said.
Busch even gave the bricks a celebratory slap.
Not bad after a late scare off a restart dropped him to third with six laps left and nearly turned Brian Scott into the surprise winner.
Busch fell back after some hard racing with Joey Logano that almost wiped out his near-flawless racing. But his No. 54 Toyota was the fastest car all day and he roared back to take the lead with three laps left. He won for the eighth time in 15 races this season.
He took his usual bow before he grabbed the checkered flag. Then, off to the bricks.
"It's Indianapolis. It's pretty awesome to be able to win here, whether you are driving Nationwide or Cup, sports cars, Formula One, MotoGP, anything," he said. "It's pretty cool, this place, with the history and all the automobiles that have raced on this surface and the surfaces before it. And all the fans who have been here over the years, it's awesome."
Crew chief Adam Stevens became choked up atop the pit box. That's what winning at Indy can mean, even in the second-tier NASCAR series.
It was the wave of emotion Scott wanted to feel. Scott, who has never won a Nationwide race in 128 starts, briefly took the lead and was in position to become the upset winner.
He just couldn't hold off Busch. Few can in Nationwide. He has a record 59 Nationwide wins in 259 starts.
"I should have won here last year but I messed up, I almost messed up again and gave it away," Busch said. "I was able to persevere there to get it back. Such a great race car."
Busch won from the pole and gave Toyota its first NASCAR win at Indianapolis and second ever at the track.
Scott had a career-best second-place finish. Logano was third. Brian Vickers finished fourth and picked up a $100,000 bonus from series sponsor Nationwide as the highest finishing driver in the "Dash 4 Cash" program.
Scott said he was "just praying" to pull away from Busch and reach Victory Lane.
"I feel like he was able to get by me because I was a little too cautious on corner entry," Scott said. "I'd give anything to rewind, go back and be able to do it again. It's great to have a second-place finish, but it's frustrating to be so close and have to sit there and watch the other team celebrate."
Busch said he had "no friends" on the final restart following a debris caution when he got scraped by Logano. His easy ride turned into a hard, final push.
"Brian got by me, and I had to go to work," Busch said. "Had to put the driver hat on to run him down and get back past him. He was doing a lot of blocking, running a line we don't usually run to take the air, which is what you are supposed to do."
Newman knocks Johnson off Brickyard pole
INDIANAPOLIS - The Rocket Man got his fuel back.
Ryan Newman snatched the pole away from Jimmie Johnson with a blistering lap of 187.531 mph around Indianapolis Motor Speedway to set a track record for NASCAR races at the Brickyard.
Newman was the last of the 45 drivers to make a qualifying attempt Saturday as Johnson's No. 48 was atop the scoring tower for well over an hour with a lap of 187.438. Driver after driver had failed to knock Johnson from the pole, and the four-time Brickyard winner watched and waited to see if Newman could get the job done.
Newman, an Indiana native, pulled it off as Johnson smiled his approval.
"You can't count Ryan out, and he put up a whale of a lap," Johnson said.
It's the 50th pole for Newman, who established himself as an elite qualifier with six poles his rookie season. He set a NASCAR record with 11 poles in 2003, and won at least one pole a year for 11 seasons.
But he'd been in a drought of late, and Newman's last pole was late in the 2011 season.
Now he's got another one, and the 50th of his career is good enough for ninth on the career list, and it comes at a critical time for Newman. Team co-owner Tony Stewart told Newman he's not being re-signed for next season two weeks ago, and Newman is currently looking for a job for 2014.
"I guess it helps, but I don't know if my phone will be ringing tonight. Maybe, hopefully, Monday morning," said Newman, a normally stoic driver who admitted he grew emotional on the backstretch of his cool-down lap.
Carl Edwards qualified third at 187.157, and was already seated for the post-qualifying news conference when he watched on television as Newman knocked Johnson and Edwards down a notch.
"I felt really good - second is the worst," Edwards said about qualifying third. "It's the worst to qualify second, and nobody wants anybody to go through what Jimmie just had to go through. We all don't feel too bad for Jimmie, but that was pretty dramatic. I didn't really expect that."
Denny Hamlin qualified fourth followed by Stewart, a two-time Indy winner.
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