Kyle Busch keeps Joe Gibbs’ Fontana streak alive


Associated Press

FONTANA, Calif. — Another Nationwide Series race at Fontana, another victory for Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Busch certainly isn’t tired of the same old story.

Busch earned JGR’s ninth consecutive Nationwide victory at Fontana on Saturday, comfortably beating Sam Hornish Jr. for his third win in five races this season.

Gibbs’ Toyotas haven’t lost a Nationwide race on their unofficial home track since 2007, with Busch, Joey Logano and Tony Stewart navigating the wide, bumpy track with unmatched ease. Through changes in cars, drivers and crew chiefs, JGR has maintained its record streak.

Busch pushed ahead late in a back-and-forth duel with Nationwide points leader Hornish’s Ford to win his second straight Nationwide race, wrapping it up when Hornish brushed the wall with two laps to go.

“It’s really cool,” Busch said. “They’re known for having great stuff, but you’ve still got to be able to wheel it. I don’t think we were the best car, but we just chased down that 12 car. Didn’t want to see him win in front of our hometown crowd.”

Busch raced to his record Nationwide 54th victory, including six at Fontana, in front of fans from Toyota and other sponsors’ home offices, capping a doubly celebratory day for the winningest driver in Nationwide history.

What’s more, Parker INDKligerman drove his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota to a career-best fourth-place finish. Regan Smith was third, and Austin Dillon came in fifth ahead of Kyle Larson.

Busch started from the pole with crew chief Adam Stevens, who was Logano’s crew chief during his Nationwide victory at Fontana last year for JGR. Busch led 67 laps and cruised to the finish, keeping Hornish comfortably behind him with his veteran knowledge of Fontana’s quirks.

Hornish logged his fifth top-seven finish of the Nationwide season, but couldn’t catch up when the race finished with 35 straight green-flag laps. Hornish couldn’t make up more than fractions of a second on each lap, and he made contact with the wall with two laps to go in a last-ditch attempt to make up time.

SPRINT CUP: Denny Hamlin won the pole Friday for today’s race at Fontana, while Brad Keselowski will chase his fifth straight top-five finish to start his series title defense from the back after engine trouble.

INDYCAR: The same driver will lead the field to the green flag through the streets of the St. Petersburg for the fourth consecutive year.

Only Will Power will have some new faces right behind him today in the season-opening IndyCar race.

Power earned his fourth consecutive pole at St. Pete by posting a best lap Saturday of 1 minute, 01.2070 seconds on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit.

 

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