FORT WORTH, Texas – After a series of lost opportunities this year, Kyle Busch cashed in Saturday with a victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway.
Busch dominated the O'Reilly 300, leading 126 of 200 laps after working his way up from a 31st starting position determined by rules when qualifying was rained out Thursday.
Kevin Harvick led early but sheared an axle as he took off after his first pit stop. Tony Stewart led, too, but a tire issue forced him into an unscheduled pit stop and that cleared the way for Busch to take charge.
Busch spent the rest of the day ahead by a comfortable margin over Jeff Burton, who finished second with the No. 29 Chevrolet that Scott Wimmer won in at the most recent race at Nashville.
Busch had finished second in the season's first two series races, both of which Stewart won, but had not finished better than 16th since.
"I finished second here twice but it's obvious I'd never won because I got lost trying to find Victory Lane," Busch said amid the celebration.
"This place is just so hard to win at, so it's really cool to be here."
Busch had led 153 laps at Atlanta but wound up finishing 24th after a breaking a shock absorber mount late in the race. He got crashed early at Bristol and finished 42nd, then led 125 laps at Nashville before spinning and finishing 16th in the race that Wimmer won.
There was no bad luck this time, however, as Busch simply buried the competition and earned his 12th career victory in NASCAR's second-tier series.
The last challenge came when Kyle Krisiloff crashed to bring out a caution with just 11 laps remaining. Busch stayed on the track, as did Burton and David Ragan, while Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray each came for two tires. The rest of the lead-lap cars got four tires, but even that wasn't enough to challenge Busch.
"I told them we made a terrible call to stay out," Burton said of his team's decision.
"But it was the right thing to do. The fastest car won today. He was just remarkably fast. He was just rolling."
The fresh tires did help Bowyer get up to third at the checkered flag, with Bobby Labonte fourth and McMurray fifth.
"The guys on this team work so hard on these cars and I have torn a couple of them up," Busch said. "I want to thank them and my fans for sticking with me.
"We finally won one."
Bowyer padded his lead in the series driver standings to 57 points over defending champion Carl Edwards and by 120 points over David Ragan.