October 04, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) Extending his NASCAR Nationwide Series record to 69 victories was nice. Winning for the second week in a row and the sixth time this season were, too.

What really mattered to Kyle Busch, though, was the chance to get some more competitive laps at Kansas Speedway going into the Sprint Cup race Sunday.

''Some good things happened today that I was able to pick upon,'' Busch said after making a late pass on Kevin Harvick and then holding on down the stretch. ''Just the way the car drove, and the way we were able to make different lanes work, whether it was on restarts or whether it was during the race, picking off traffic. Just things like that.''

Busch, also the winner last week at Dover, picked up his first Nationwide win of the year on a 1.5-mile track. Sunday's race begins the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup's new elimination format.

''I feel like this is our biggest challenge,'' Busch said. ''I feel like if we can pass through this challenging round, then it's going to be a positive for us come the next round.''

Harvick, who will be on the pole for Sunday's race, pulled away in his Chevrolet at the final restart with 40 laps to go, but Busch's Toyota got around him with 20 to go and won by 0.767 seconds.

''They gave us a good opportunity with strategy there, but we just couldn't hold him,'' Harvick said. ''The 54 was quite a bit better as we got going into the run. We could hold him off for a short run, but in the end his car would maintain speed and ours would slow down.''

Ryan Blaney was third in a Ford after starting on the outside of the front row.

Rookie Chase Elliott tightened his hold on the points lead with four races to go, finishing 10th after avoiding a collision with Jamie Dick shortly after the three-quarter mark in the 200-lap, 300-mile race. That padded his lead to 38 points.

Regan Smith, who came into the race 26 points behind JR Motorsports teammate Elliott, crashed in practice Saturday morning and finished 22nd in a backup car.

Paul Menard was fourth, followed by pole winner Ty Dillon, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Trevor Bayne, Brian Scott and Elliott.

''Getting the pole today was a huge boost,'' Dillon said. ''Running the way we did today, having a car that was capable of me making mistakes and still coming back through the field, was a nice relief.''

The race was marred by nine cautions for 42 total laps, and by the midpoint of the race only 22 drivers remained on the lead lap. With 50 laps remaining, that number had dropped to 11 - and 12 drivers were out of the race.

The dropouts included rookie Chris Buescher, who started third and led 20 of the first 90 laps before a collision with Kyle Larson with 110 laps remaining. Larson's car got loose and then drifted across the track into Buescher's path, the collision peeling away the right-side panels of Buescher's Ford. He went behind the wall for emergency repairs and was 49 laps down when he returned, finishing 28th and 51 laps down.

But the day was roughest on Smith.

Smith, who signed an extension Wednesday through 2015 with JR Motorsports, qualified 24th and then had to start at the rear after his crash in practice. He was well back in the pack when a swaybar arm fell of his car with just over 50 laps to go, forcing him behind the wall, and he finished seven laps down.

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