LOUDON, N.H. – Kyle Busch spent most of his
race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway where he's most familiar.
Out in front.
Busch won the Nationwide Series race at New
Hampshire on Saturday and became the career laps led leader in NASCAR's
second-tier series with 8,118.
Busch bowed to the crowd, which saluted his
sixth win of the season in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch
earned his 36th career victory and passed Mark Martin on the career
laps led list (8,117).
"That's pretty cool," Busch said. "There's one
more record I'm after and that's the win record. I want to try and beat
him and see how many I can set."
Busch is tied with Kevin Harvick for second on
the career Nationwide win list. Martin leads the series with 48.
Busch held off Brad Keselowski, who finished
second and had his solid run derailed by a poor pit stop. Carl Edwards,
Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne round out the top five.
Keselowski stretched his points lead to 247
Busch left with a lengthy list of milestones.
He won here last year and is the first driver to win multiple Nationwide
Series races in the track's 24-race history dating back to its
inaugural event on July 15, 1990.
"I'm proud of the fact we made it happen and
we had everything go right for us today," Busch said.
Danica Patrick finished 30th, five laps down.
Patrick tangled with Morgan Shepherd early and went into the wall only
seven laps into the race. The IndyCar regular posted her best finish in
four Nationwide races.
"It was a bummer to get lapped so many times,"
Patrick started 25th in her first NASCAR race
since February and ran into trouble in her No. 7 Chevrolet almost
Shepherd got loose and sent Patrick into the
wall. She radioed to her crew "he totally took me out."
Patrick returned to the track a lap down and
never got any momentum. She later tapped Shepherd to let him know she
didn't appreciate getting caught up in the early accident.
"I was thinking out there at the end that it
reminds me a lot of my first couple of short oval races in an IndyCar,"
she said. "I got lapped liked a ton of times in those. It's part of the
process, it's part of learning and I know these things are going to
The 68-year-old Shepherd – 40 years older than
Patrick – was apologetic.
"Anybody who tries to pass her needs to be
patient. She's got a very fast race car," he said. "I hate that I got
Patrick fared no better than 31st in three
starts on the Nationwide Series in February. She said a top-15 or top-20
finish would be a success. She returns to the series in two weeks at
"There's a lot for me to learn," she said.
Busch has it mastered.
He maneuvered up front on the strength of some
long runs and held off a nipping Keselowski. Keselowski, who started
from the pole, could have made it a two-car race to the finish until a
slow pit stop with about 50 laps to go dropped him to seventh. Busch led
125 of the 200 laps.
"I wish there was money for laps led," Busch
said. "That would be pretty cool. It's a testament to this team and I
was at Hendrick Motorsports, too."
Patrick's arrival overshadowed the rest of the
drivers in the race. She had her own press conference on Friday and
reporters dashed out to talk to her Saturday – one of the rare times the
30th-place driver was the star of the show.
"I thank all those people out there that still
want to keep watching me because it can't be fun to watch the driver
you're cheering for go laps down and get passed," she said. "But, you
know, I'm learning and it'll help me get better."