Busch brothers’ day at Darlington: 2 poles, 1 Nationwide win

McClatchy news servicesMay 11, 2013 

DARLINGTON, S.C. — Kyle Busch took the lead from Joey Logano 18 laps from the end to win his fifth NASCAR Nationwide Series race this season and his second in three years at Darlington Raceway on Friday night.

The victory also capped a dominant showing by the Busch boys at the track “Too Tough To Tame.” Older brother Kurt set a qualifying record to win the pole for today’s Sprint Cup Series Southern 500. Kyle was third in Sprint Cup qualifying and won the Nationwide pole before dominating the Nationwide race.

“All in all, this was a good night,” Kyle Busch said, “and we look forward to tomorrow.”

Kurt Busch’s Sprint Cup qualifying lap of 181.918 mph surpassed the two-year-old mark of 181.254 mph held by Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne.

Kahne, who is sixth in the Sprint Cup driver standings, qualified fourth for today’s race and finished ninth in Friday’s Nationwide race.

Vancouver, Wash., native Greg Biffle will start ninth today. He is 10th in driver points.

The Busch brothers nearly gave their mother, Gaye, a special present on Mother’s Day weekend.

Drivers’ mothers typically accompany them during pre-race introductions of the starting order on the day before Mother’s Day. Had Kurt and Kyle finished 1-2 in qualifying, Gaye Busch would have been able to walk across the stage with one of her boys on each arm.

Jimmie Johnson, however, edged Kyle for the second spot, prompting Kyle to joke with Johnson that it meant Busch’s mother would get to walk across the stage twice.

“She’s happy I finished second,” Johnson jabbed with a smile.

The younger Busch was the strongest car throughout the Nationwide race after starting from the pole. He led for 107 of the 147 laps and finished one second in front of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Elliott Sadler. JGR also had the third- and fifth-place finishers, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth.

“Our teammates were so strong,” said Busch’s crew chief, Adam Stevens. “Just an impressive weekend for JGR.”

Logano, a former JGR driver, was in front when the field restarted following the last of four caution periods, and Kyle Busch was in third. Busch quickly got past second-place Austin Dillon and began reeling in his former teammate.

Busch swept past Logano on lap 129 and found mostly clear sailing the rest of the way.

Busch is the Nationwide leader with 56 career wins.

He will try for his third double-double this season at the Southern 500 today after winning both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races earlier this season at Texas and at Fontana, Calif.

Busch won the 2008 Southern 500 at Darlington.

On Sunday, Kurt Busch went airborne near the end of the Aaron’s 499 and crash-landed upside down on Ryan Newman.

Five days later, he earned his third career Sprint Cup pole at Darlington.

“Last week, we ended on our lid, and this week, we’re here with a track record,” he said.

In between, he had an Indy Car test session with Michael Andretti at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday.

“It’s been surreal,” Busch said. “It’s been an amazing ride.”

Martin Truex Jr. will start fifth today. Denny Hamlin, who suffered a compression fracture in a vertebra in his lower back on March 24, qualified sixth and said he plans to run a full race for the first time since his injury.

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