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Kyle Busch dominates Nationwide Series race at Bristol

By Lee Montgomery
lee.montgomery@nnsracing.com

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Kyle Busch closed in - again - on all-time NASCAR Nationwide Series victories leader Mark Martin by dominating Saturday's Scotts EZ Seed 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Martin began the 2011 season with 48 career wins, the most in the series, with Busch second at 43. Busch won at Phoenix by leading every lap, but Martin went to victory lane in the Nationwide Series' most recent race at Las Vegas.

Busch won at Bristol in convincing fashion, leading all but one lap after getting the lead with 268 laps to go.

 

The 25-year-old also became the first driver in Nationwide Series history to lead 10,000 laps, topping that mark late in Saturday's race.

Polesitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the first 28 laps until NASCAR threw a competition caution for teams to swap out right-side tires. After discovering a wear problem in Friday's Nationwide and Cup practices, Goodyear decided to ship 1,300 new right-side tires to Bristol for this weekend's races.

Nationwide Series cars qualified Saturday morning on the older tire, and since it was an "impound race," the cars started on that tire. Teams switched to the new right-side tire under that yellow.

Busch took the lead on lap 32 and dominated from there. He was helped by a timely caution on lap 182 when many other leaders had already stopped under green. Busch was one of only seven cars on the lead lap at the time.

Stenhouse Jr. was caught a lap down under that caution and later lost another lap after being penalized for lining up improperly on a restart. He finished 19th.

Kasey Kahne changed four tires on a late restart and rallied to finish second. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, with Elliott Sadler fourth and Joey Logano fifth.

The rest of the top 10 were Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Jason Leffler, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola.

NOTES: Driver Jennifer Jo Cobb was replaced 10 minutes before the race when she refused to start-and-park the No. 79 Ford. Team owner Rick Russell asked Charles Lewadowski to start the race but eventually settled on Chris Lawson. The No. 79 was credited with 41st place. ... Points leader Reed Sorenson blew an engine and finished 34th.