Kyle Busch Extends His All-Time Best NASCAR NNS Series Win Mark To 54 With Victory In Royal Purple 300
Busch, the pole-sitter, led 92 of the 150 laps to win the Royal Purple 300 race at Auto Club Speedway for the sixth time in the past eight years, pushed his all-time leading NNS race victory total to 54 (over 249 career NNS races), and extend Joe Gibbs Racing’s record NNS win streak at the Fontana track to nine.
“It was really cool. They’re (Joe Gibbs Racing) known for having great stuff but you still got to wheel it,” Busch said. “We’ll see if we can do it on Sunday. I think it’s really, really awkward that JGR has not won a Cup race here.”
Busch overtook Sam Hornish Jr. and carried the lead the last 25 laps to the checkered flag. The 27-year-old from Las Vegas entered the winner’s circle on the circuit for the third time this year and notched his sixth NNS triumph in 15 races at Auto Club Speedway. Three of those wins came while riding pole position.
“This is awesome,” Busch said. “We persevered. The car was great. It worked really good on the high side. I don’t think we were the best car today but we just got up there and chased him down. We got up on the wheel and just tried to push hard on the top side. I was able to do a draft move by him. You just got to move around. I think that’s what makes good drivers good.”
Hornish Jr. (No. 12 Wurth Ford), however, took over the NNS points lead with his second-place finish. Though he led on four separate occasions, for a total of 28 laps, once he relinquished the lead to Busch for the final time, Hornish Jr. believed his car was in no condition to realistically catch Busch over the last 25 laps.
“I just didn’t have enough to beat Kyle today,” Hornish Jr. said. “I didn’t really have much right rear (tire) to go on. When there’s still smoke inside the car coming down the back straightaway, I was worried that we were going to end up with a flat.”
Regan Smith (No. 7 Taxslayer.com Chevrolet) moved up from his 16th starting position to place third. Smith is second overall in the NNS points standings, 28 points behind Hornish Jr.
Busch posted a lap time of 40.312 seconds at an average speed of 178.607 mph Saturday morning to grab the Coors Light Pole Award. It was his third pole in 15 races at Auto Club Speedway, his second pole in 2013, and his 28th pole in 249 career NNS races.
The race featured four caution flags (at laps 35, 46, 95 and 111) for a total of 17 laps.
About Auto Club Speedway: Located 50 miles east of Los Angeles in Fontana, California, Auto Club Speedway is California’s premier motorsports facility, hosting over 320 days of track activity each year including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 weekend in March and the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships Finale weekend in October. The two-mile D-shaped oval is one of the fastest tracks on the INDYCAR and NASCAR circuits. The Speedway is also home to numerous movies, television and commercial productions, photo shoots, new car testing, club racing and a variety of racing schools. For more information on events at Auto Club Speedway call 1-800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com . For more information on event lodging, visit the Hilton Garden Inn, Fontana, the official hotel partner of Auto Club Speedway and Auto Club Dragway.