Kyle Busch‘s victory at Loudon on Saturday night brought his win total to 49 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, equalling the record held by Mark Martin.
Martin was in Victory Lane to congratulate Busch and was quick to make the point that the night’s winner, at 26 years of age – exactly half of Martin’s – had plenty of time and wins left in him yet. The record number of wins will almost certainly be the younger man’s before this season is over.
This is starting to feel like the year of the Kyle Busch steamroller in all three categories as he adds to his tally of wins. One contentious figure is the number of wins in all three national series. Saturday’s was number one hundred, when added to the twenty nine in the Truck Series and twenty two in the Cup, and Busch carried out his victory celebrations in the car with a flag which simply said 100. There are those that argue only the top-flight victories count in a drivers total, especially when trying to compare with the record of Richard Petty whose two hundred wins all came in the senior category.
There are others who argue a century of wins in any of the three series is worthy of inclusion and will have come as the result of beating off tough opposition. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
Saturday night’s win was no pushover for Busch, in fact until the last part of the race the most likely contenders for leading at the checkered flag were Kevin Harvick, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski. The latter ran in the top three for three quarters of the race but then after being passed for the lead by Stenhouse on lap 152 faded away to eventually finish in eighth.
Bayne’s efforts were neutralised when he was embroiled in a wreck started when Joey Logano was knocked into Bayne’s Ford Mustang by Steve Wallace who managed to restrict himself to just three wrecks for the evening, seeming to be on some destructive mission. Reed Sorenson was also innocently caught up in the smash, destroying his chance of challenging for the lead in the title race.
Whilst Bayne and Sorenson continued to eventually finish 13th and 15th respectively, the luckless Logano registered a lowly 29th place. Wallace, as the instigator, somehow kept going to finish in ninth.
Much was made after the race of a comment from runner-up, Harvick. “I was told a few weeks ago that if we touched the 18 car [of Busch], we’d be parked,” he said. “I’ve just got to be really careful. I would have liked to have gotten the track position and slid up and do what I needed to do. But I’ve just got to be really careful. That’s the way NASCAR put it to me.”
The phrase everybody really picked up on, though, was the follow-on remark, “It would have been a lot easier to win if you didn’t have handcuffs put on you, but that’s the way NASCAR said we had to do it,” Harvick said.
The New England 200 proved to be a great race for the JR Motorsports team with Kasey Kahne in the no. 7 GoDaddy Chevrolet sometimes raced by Danica Patrick finishing third and his teammate, Aric Almirola in the Grand Touring Vodka version coming home two places behind, with Stenhouse splitting them.
The race result had no real impact on the title chasers with the top ten drivers holding their places bar Almirola and Jason Leffler who swapped fifth and sixth places between them.
We may as well, though, finish on another Kyle Busch statistic. Only he and Carl Edwards have multiple wins in the series this year, six to Busch, four to Edwards. Nobody else has won more than one race. And of the races Busch has entered he has won a full forty percent of them. So, you see, he really will have the record number of wins in the future. In the very near future.