Kyle Busch outduels Joey Logano for Nationwide win in Dover

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‘Twas a tale of two races today at Dover International Speedway for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with a pair of Sprint Cup veterans at the center of it all.

Pole sitter Joey Logano held the point for the first half of today’s 200-mile event. But on a round of yellow-flag stops just before halfway, Kyle Busch went to the front and held on to not only capture his fifth NNS victory of 2014, but a sweep of the NNS races this year at the “Monster Mile.”

Busch’s fifth career NNS win at Dover also helped him become the all-time leader in NNS triumphs at the track, too.

Meanwhile, Chase Elliott overcame damage from an early incident and rallied to finish third, pushing his NNS championship lead to 26 points over JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith (finished eighth) with five races left.

Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher held steady for a fourth-place result, and Busch’s JGR teammate, Elliott Sadler, completed the Top 5. Kyle Larson, Brian Scott, Smith, Trevor Bayne, and Ty Dillon rounded out the Top 10.

The opening stint of the race featured two cautions for multi-car wrecks, but the second of those yellows looked to have a big impact.

On Lap 40, Tanner Berryhill and Kevin Swindell wrecked off of Turn 4 right in front of Elliott, who tagged the outside frontstretch wall and then got into the back of Swindell before driving away.

Under the caution, Elliott took right-side tires to take the lead off pit road but came back to have the damaged front end of his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet taped up.

Also occurring in that caution period was Larson leaving his pit box with a gas can and briefly dragging his gas man along for the ride. Said gas man was uninjured after tumbling to the ground, but Larson was hit with a pit road penalty.

Both Larson and Elliott took the Lap 47 restart outside the Top 20. Immediately, the two young phenoms charged toward the lead pack but while Larson’s run stalled around 11th place, Elliott kept going into the Top 5 by Lap 90.

“I was gonna give it my best shot, regardless of however the thing looked like,” Elliott said about driving back to the front. “I’m really, really proud and frustrated at the same time. I felt like we had a good car from the get-go and I made a mistake just following too close behind those guys off [Turn] 4.

“I saw it coming and I couldn’t get stopped fast enough…I got on the brakes and I couldn’t get it whoa’ed down. Just a big thanks to [crew chief] Greg [Ives] and all these guys for not giving up on me and getting this thing patched up the correct way where nothing else was gonna tear up and the body would fall apart.”

Logano stretched his lead, eventually pushing it past the five-second mark before a caution came out at Lap 97 for possible fluid on the track. That led to the second stop for the leaders and the critical lead change, as Busch’s crew was able to get their man out of the pits ahead of Logano.

At this point, it was Busch’s turn to dominate proceedings but a debris yellow with 53 laps left erased his advantage of several seconds. However, in the subsequent round of stops for the leaders under caution, Busch was able to maintain his spot at the front of the field over Logano, Elliott, Buescher, and Scott.

Logano tried to hang with Busch on the restart with 47 laps left, but Busch staved off the attack and then expanded his lead again. He ultimately took the checkered flag by a margin of 2.545 seconds.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?