UPDATE: Kyle Busch wins rain-shortened Nationwide race

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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.

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
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Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

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