FORT WORTH, Texas — Kyle Busch raced to his third consecutive NASCAR Nationwide victory this season and his sixth overall at Texas, leading the 91 of 200 laps Friday night.
Busch is the first six-time winner in any series at the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked Texas track.
While driving a car he owned last season, Busch didn’t win in the Nationwide Series. He is back in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this year. After finishing 22nd in the season opener at Daytona, he has four wins and a runner-up finish to push his series victory record to 55.
Busch finished 2.27 seconds ahead of Brad Keselowski, while Austin Dillon was third and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fourth.
The race featured a Texas-record 11 leaders and 22 lead changes.
Contact between Sam Hornish Jr. and Jeremy Clements on Lap 141 changed the complexion of the race and eliminated Hornish, who entered the event as the series leader. From that point on, Busch had the dominant car.
Hornish finished 34th and kept the points lead but saw his advantage over Regan Smith trimmed from 28 points to two.
In a scenario that augured well for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup tires, new tires made an enormous difference on Friday. In caution for debris on Lap 66, Keselowski, Hornish and Busch were among those who opted for fuel only, and those three drivers restarted at the front of the field on Lap 70.
Their stay at the point was short-lived. On Lap 73, Kasey Kahne, on new tires, passed Hornish for the lead. One lap later, Brian Vickers, also on fresh rubber, blew past Hornish into the second position. By Lap 90, Hornish had slipped to ninth, more than eight seconds behind Kahne.
The tradeoff was that Hornish, Keselowski and Busch each had saved an extra set of tires and they took advantage during pit stops under caution on Lap 95.
Kahne also changed four tires under the caution, leaving him with one set for the last half of the race.
After the restart on Lap 99, the roles were reserved. Hornish, on new tires, took the green in 16th and stormed through the field, wresting the lead from Matt Kenseth.
News Services contributed