After battling for several hours to dry the Phoenix International Raceway, another rain shower forced NASCAR to end the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 for the Nationwide Series 32 laps short of the scheduled distance, giving Kyle Busch his 64th career win in the series.
“Rowdy” led 155 of the 168 laps that were ran today. He immediately set the tone for the afternoon by taking the lead from pole sitter Brad Keselowski on Lap 6.
Busch, the all time leader in NNS wins, now becomes the first driver ever to win three consecutive Nationwide races at PIR. Kevin Harvick, Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth rounded out the Top 5 finishers.
Keselowski attempted to mount a challenge to Busch on a restart with 58 laps to go but after about a lap and a half of racing, Busch was able to clear him on the outside.
“There was a lot of trash on the outside line, but I knew I had to choose the outside just because I wanted that line,” Busch said to ESPN about his restart battle. “But there was a lot of trash from the previous caution with the oil-dry and everything else down the front straightaway.
“Essentially, I got into Turn One a little too deep and it didn’t turn like I was expecting it to just because it was all dirty. Brad can always hang in there on the inside for a little while – or the outside, for that matter. But our car’s just so strong, it’ll get going and once the momentum gets built up, you can see the gap widen.”
With 35 laps to go, amidst reports of rain falling on the one-mile PIR oval, Ryan Reed lost control coming out of Turn 1 and slid into the inside SAFER Barrier to bring out the caution flag.
As the rain picked up, the drivers came down pit road with 32 laps remaining and their cars were promptly covered as the red flag came out.
The rain delay officially lasted for two hours, seven minutes, and 54 seconds before NASCAR decided to end the race.
Accuweather.com is forecasting a 25 percent chance of rain in Phoenix for tomorrow’s Sprint Cup race, The Profit on CNBC 500.