In his usual style and in spite of a pit road speeding penalty, Kyle Busch powered his way to his twelfth race win in the CampingWorld.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
Busch, who started from the pole position, brought his No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota to the checkered flag, taking his traditional victory bow to the delight and omnipresent booing of the Cali race crowd.
Busch put it simply in Victory Lane. “To get No. 12,” Busch said. “It’s awesome.”
With the early part of the race being relatively caution-free, several late race cautions and restarts challenged Busch and the rest of the field. One of the biggest wrecks involved Danica Patrick, fresh off her good IndyCar run and now focused fully on her NASCAR career in her No. 7 Tissot/Go Daddy.com Chevrolet.
Patrick was running well and was on the cusp of achieving her goal of a top-15 finish when James Buescher got into her from behind, spinning her and sending her car almost airborne before collecting Ricky Carmichael, who just seems to keep ending up on the short end of the luck stick.
Because of the accident, Patrick ended the race in the 30th position. But she was most upbeat even after the wreck, talking with the media and explaining her run just like a NASCAR pro.
“I think we’re getting closer. I really do,” Patrick said after the race. “We’re going to have a lot of confidence going into Charlotte, I think.”
Winning the award for the most angry and frustrated driver was California home boy Kevin Harvick, whose pit crew yet again let him down. Harvick lost the lead not once but twice in large part due to errors on the part of his pit crew.
Harvick voiced his frustration after the first pit road misstep, saying “Come on guys, can we win a damn race?”
After the first pit road disaster, Harvick then told his crew over the radio that he was “terrified to come down pit road” after another caution flag flew. Harvick powered his way back to finish in the third position but openly criticized his pit crew after the race, noting that “there would be changes.”
Brad Keselowski, currently in the points lead in the Nationwide Series, finished in the runner up to Kyle Busch position. The driver or the No. 22 America’s Tire Dodge now has a 384 point advantage over second place in the points Carl Edwards.
Edwards, however, had a good run in his No. 60 Copart.com Ford. While mixing it up in the top five for much of the race, Edwards finished the race in the fourth position.
Joey Logano finished in fifth, with Aric Almirola right behind in the sixth spot. Ryan Newman, Justin Allgaier, Mike Bliss and Reed Sorenson rounded out the top ten.
In just his second start for Roush Fenway Racing, Trevor Bayne continued to show off his stuff by finishing in the 11th position. Two rookies, Colin Braun and Brian Scott, both finished in the top fifteen, claiming the 13th and 15th positions respectively.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who had just taken possession of the lead in the Nationwide Rookie standings, did not have a stellar day, getting damaged in the Danica Patrick melee. Stenhouse was able to nurse his No. 6 Blackwell Angus Beef Ford to the checkered flag just ahead of Patrick in the 29th position.
The Nationwide Series will head next to the heart of NASCAR country to run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race will run under the lights on Saturday, October 15th and will be covered on ESPN2 beginning at 7:30 PM ET.