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Busch stands tall at Texas

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Saturday, Apr. 13, 2013

Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are two of the best at Texas Motor Speedway, particularly in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Busch now is just a little bit better.

Busch held off Brad Keselowski to win Friday night’s O’Reilly 300, earning his record sixth series win at the track. He broke a tie he shared with Harvick.

Together, the two drivers have combined for 11 series wins at the track since the 2001 season.

“It was a tough race, you know. It was a good race, but we had to work ourselves to have a better race car there through about half the race,” said Busch, who earned his fourth win in six starts this season.

“Brad (Keselowski) was strong and so was Sam (Hornish Jr.), and it just kind of played into our favor there through some of the pit stops and pit strategy.”

Busch said winning at Texas never feels old.

“It feels really good,” he said. “I love cowboy hats (which the winner receives). There’s nothing like it.”

Much like the Sprint Cup race winners last weekend at Martinsville, Va., Busch needed to employ some strategic tire management to gain the victory.

Teams in the Nationwide Series were limited to seven sets of tires, and for a while it appeared several strong cars would end up without fresh tires at the end.

“We got our tires on the last caution and that washed everything out and everybody was back even again on the same strategy,” said Busch’s crew chief, Adam Stevens.

“Kyle did a phenomenal job managing what he had and keeping his head on his shoulders and making sure we had something to race with at the end.”

While Busch had a great day Friday, series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. had a terrible one.

Hornish and Jeremy Clements wrecked on Lap 142 of 200 and Hornish required extensive repairs in the garage area before he was able to get back on the track late in the race.

“I’m not sure exactly what happened. I’d have to look at the replay, but it’s frustrating for sure,” Hornish said.

“At the end of the day, the guys worked hard to get the car back out there. We didn’t want to take a couple of weeks off there (with no races) to cool off. We were pretty happy with how we were running.”

Hornish finished 34th but still managed to hold onto the series points by two points over Regan Smith. The series is off next week and races again April 26 at Richmond, Va.

Utter: 704-358-5069

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