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Winning ugly: Kyle Busch goes to Talladega's Nationwide Series victory lane

Kyle Busch (18) crosses the finish line ahead of Joey Logano to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Kyle Busch (18) crosses the finish line ahead of Joey Logano to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway.

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

TALLADEGA, Ala. - Kyle Busch must have had a notion.

On the radio before the final restart of Saturday's Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Busch pointed out to crew chief Jason Ratcliff that the fastest car - not the prettiest - got to go to victory lane.

In a wild ending that had Mike Wallace's Chevrolet spinning upside down and landing on its roof, Busch won his fourth Nationwide race of the season and the 47th of his career when a caution flag on Lap 124 froze the field with Busch in the lead.

Overcoming damage from a wreck on Lap 88, Busch got the win on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the race seven laps past its scheduled distance at the 2.66-mile track. Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano had just pushed Busch to the lead when Wallace's wreck brought out the record 11th caution of the race.

Logano was credited with second place, followed by Joe Nemechek, Brad Keselowski and polesitter Elliott Sadler. Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Reed Sorenson and Aric Almirola completed the top 10.

"Look at this thing," Busch said in victory lane. "I got hit three times on the left side and I thought it was killed-I said it was killed-but these guys (the No. 18 crew) did a great job of putting it back together with great leadership from Jason Ratcliff.

"The (car) doesn't look the best, but it was certainly the best there at the end, especially with the guy that was pushing me. Joey was a great teammate."

A huge 21-car chain-reaction crash on the backstretch after a Lap 88 restart thinned the field and involved several of the strongest cars, among them the No. 18 of Busch, the No. 1 of Jamie McMurray and the No. 66 of Steve Wallace.

Contact between Busch and Clint Bowyer started a spin that collected Michael Waltrip and sent half the field sliding and spinning out of control.

Waltrip blamed Sadler and McMurray who were separated on the track but were trying to hook up together in a two-car draft.

"It happened on the radio before the restart," Waltrip said. "The 2 (Sadler) decided that he would manipulate the restart so that the 1 could get behind him, and they could work together like they had before.

"It's the way you race, but the 1 and the 2 messing around got me crashed."

McMurray agreed that he and Sadler were trying to get back together.

"I really don't know what happened," McMurray said. "I was obviously trying to get back to Eliiott-we worked together really well all day. Elliott was trying to get away from the 99 (Waltrip) so that I could get hooked up with him.

"I pulled to the inside, and I think the 18 behind me gave me a big shove, and I thought I was just going to have to go with him, because of the momentum we had, and then I just kind of got hit in the right rear."

After a stoppage of 6 minutes, 45 seconds-the second red flag of the afternoon-the race restarted on Lap 93, with Earnhardt in the lead.

Earlier, on Lap 69, contact between the Fords of Roush Fenway Racing teammates Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sent Stenhouse, the series points leader entering the race, into the outside wall and out of the race.

After the wreck, NASCAR red-flagged the race for 5 minutes, 33 seconds to clean the debris from the racetrack.

NOTES: Jason Leffler (15th Saturday) took over the series lead by two points over Allgaier and five over Sadler. ... Busch is now two victories behind all-time leader Mark Martin. ... The race produced 56 lead changes, a Nationwide Series record. ... Rookie of the year competitor Timmy Hill posted a career-best 14th-place finish.