Kyle Busch earned his 12th NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the year today at Phoenix International Raceway, while Austin Dillon’s lead in the NNS driver’s championship is now at eight points over Sam Hornish Jr. going into next weekend’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Dillon finished third after losing the runner-up spot to Justin Allgaier on the final lap, while Hornish held off Sprint Cup title contender Matt Kenseth for fifth after battling an ill-handling car for much of the afternoon.
After the race, Dillon had a talk with Allgaier about their racing over the final laps but later demurred about the subject.
“They’re gonna race hard, it’s just in the nature of race car drivers,” Dillon said to ESPN. “I can’t get too upset. It’s just we’re running for a championship…I’m happy with our guys. They made a great call during the race and we kept up the track position all day.
“We had a great car, just not good enough to run with Kyle. It was a good day other than that.”
Meanwhile, Hornish was pleased to be within striking distance to Dillon with one race remaining.
“We had the opportunity to go down to [Homestead] and test, so I feel like we’ve got that on our side,” Hornish said. “I like Homestead, it’s been really good to me in the past. We’re gonna go out there and do it to the best of our ability.”
“Eight points is a [bigger deficit] than what we want, but it is manageable and we can go there and race hard. We lead a lap, lead the most laps, and we’re gonna have a shot a it.”
Busch’s win from the pole position also enabled the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing team to pull within four points of the No. 22 Penske Racing team in the NNS owner’s championship.
On Lap 143, contact between Brian Scott and Brad Keselowski (in the No. 22) sent the latter spinning into the Turn 3 wall. Keselowski recovered to finish 19th, keeping the owner’s title battle tight heading into South Florida.
“I hate it that he had trouble when both of us are racing well and racing potentially for a win together,” Busch said of Keselowski’s incident in Victory Lane. “But all in all, that’s just what this sport is all about – last week, we had bad luck and it wasn’t any of our doing. We just stayed out and got too loose on the long run, wore the right-rear out and spun into the fence. But the guys turned the car around, tried to salvage it as best we can and the 22 did that as well today.
“You go into next week, you push hard, you do the best you can, try to come out of there with as many points as you can, and see where it all tallies up in the end.”