Kyle Busch wins Nationwide at Kansas, looks ahead to Sunday’s Chase race

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Considering how badly Kyle Busch has fared in the Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway, he’ll certainly take any momentum he can get going into tomorrow’s Contender Round opener at the 1.5-mile oval.

Today, he got some.

Busch passed fellow Cup regular Kevin Harvick for the lead with 20 laps to go and went on to pick up his sixth Nationwide Series win of 2014 and his second in as many weeks.

So what can “Rowdy” take away from today’s victory and perhaps apply toward what he hopes will be a solid day tomorrow?

“You learn enough here,” Busch said to ESPN. “There was a bit of some moving around today – trying to run bottom, trying to run top, seeing where the different lines were in traffic and stuff like that.

“I feel like our Cup car is okay, and if we can get out of here with a Top-10 day tomorrow, that’d be pretty good.”

Ryan Blaney finished third for Team Penske, while Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard and Ty Dillon finished fourth and fifth respectively.

In addition to Busch’s triumph, today may also prove notable for serving as the effective conclusion to the 2014 NNS title race.

Chase Elliott finished a perhaps sub-par 10th, but extended his championship lead over JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith by an additional 12 points to 38 with four races remaining.

Smith was already having a bad Saturday after he spun and crashed in qualifying. Forced to race a backup car, Smith was making enough progress to minimize points damage – until he suffered a broken sway bar arm in the second half of the race.

After an extended repair on pit road, Smith eventually finished eight laps down in 22nd place.

The first half was marred by seven cautions within the first 90 laps, the last of those involving Sprint Cup rookie star Kyle Larson spinning off Turn 2 and then collecting early leader Chris Buescher.

Elliott Sadler held the lead at the halfway point, but at Lap 125, Busch took the lead from him with an inside pass. Green-flag stops then ensued just before Lap 140, with Busch himself giving up the lead for service at Lap 139.

The cycle had yet to be completed when Dakoda Armstrong spun off Turn 2 at Lap 144. Harvick was leading at this point and because he had not yet pitted under green, he became the only driver on the lead lap.

Harvick pitted under the caution and Busch, being the first driver one lap down, got the free pass while the others had to take the wave around. As that was being sorted out, Smith went to the pits for repairs after his car sustained the aforementioned broken sway bar arm.

The green returned with 48 laps to go, but one lap later, Elliott found himself caught in lapped traffic and after taking contact from Mike Bliss on the inside, he ended up clipping Jamie Dick on the outside and sent him into the wall.

Elliott, bearing some left rear damage, was among several leaders that chose to pit during the yellow. Back up front, Harvick held the point off of the restart with 40 to go.

But with less than 25 laps remaining, Busch pulled to within a couple of car lengths of Harvick. Then, with 20 to go, Busch went inside of Harvick off Turn 4 and cleared him coming out of the tri-oval.

IMSA results, points, stats package after Sunday at Road America

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Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor delivered Team Penske’s first victory this season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, winning at Road America from the pole position Sunday and moving up to sixth in points after finishing no better than seventh in the first three races this season.

The Team Penske No. 7 Acura DPi led a race-high 48  of 63 laps, including the final four after Castroneves seized a restart to take first from Renger van der Zande, who finished second with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 10 Cadillac DPi.

Other class winners at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course were the No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 of Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley in LMP2, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in GTLM and the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 of Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo in GTD.

RAIN-SOAKED RELIEF: Castroneves delivers Penske’s first win with late pass

Here are the race stats, points and results from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America:


RESULTS: Click here for the overall finishing order and here for the class breakdown.

POINTS: In the DPi standings, the No. 10 Cadillac of Briscoe and van der Zande leads by six points (124-118) over the No. 5 Cadillac of Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais.

The No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor leads the GTLM standings with 130 points, 10 more than the No. 912 Porsche of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.

In GTD, the No. 12 Lexus of Bell and Montecalvo moved into the lead by four points (121-117) over AIM Vasser Sullivan teammates Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz in the No. 14 Lexus.

The No. 38 of Performance Tech Motorsport leads in LMP2.

Click here for the points standings for drivers and teams after Road America.

STATS PACKAGE FOR ROAD AMERICA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Leader sequence

Lap chart

Race analysis by lap

NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT classes will race Aug. 21-22 at Virginia International Raceway.