CONCORD — This one was not a Kyle Busch runaway.
But it was still a Kyle Busch victory.
With some help from lapped traffic, Busch passed then-leader Sam Hornish Jr. with seven of 200 laps remaining and held on to win Friday night’s Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch has now won eight of the past nine NASCAR Nationwide Series races after starting from the pole and the win was his eighth in the series at Charlotte.
“I felt like I didn’t have a chance to win the thing for a while and then I found the top groove and was able to chase Sam (Hornish Jr.) back down and got by him,” said Busch, who is donating his race winnings to the Pretty in Pink Foundation, which provides financial assistance and support to underinsured and uninsured North Carolinians with breast cancer.
“It’s great to see the color pink in Victory Lane.”
While Busch has dominated most of the races he’s won this season (11), he had his hands full on Friday night with Hornish, points leader Austin Dillon and upstart Kyle Larson.
“You still a lose a lot more than you win,” Busch said. “It’s great to be able to win this much. I can’t say enough for the people on this (Joe Gibbs Racing) team, they do such a great job for me.”
Dillon ended up finishing second, Hornish was third, Kevin Harvick was fourth and Matt Kenseth was fifth. Dillon continues to lead the series standings by eight over Hornish.
With 20 laps remaining, Hornish finally moved his way around Busch to take the lead and began to put some distance between himself and Busch.
As the race drew to a close, Hornish was slowed by lapped traffic as Busch began to run the high line around the track and regained his momentum before reclaiming the lead.
“We caught Kyle there and got around him and I thought pulled away from him enough to be OK, but all of a sudden he started to reel me back in,” Hornish said. “I was just too free to run up there where he did (on the track).”
Besides battling for the win, Hornish was also never from Dillon – the two top contenders for this season’s championship.
“The was the best race I’ve been in all year with three guys battling it out there at the end,” Dillon said.
Busch “just edged us out there at the end – he just got it done. We were close – probably the closest we’ve been (to a win) in a while, I’m proud of that.”