SPARTA, Ky. – Though Kyle Busch remains outside NASCAR’s championship playoff looking in, his prospects continue getting stronger.
There was no doubting the strength of his No. 18 Toyota Camry on Saturday night, especially in the clutch.
Busch outdueled Joey Logano late to win the Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, moving a little closer to making the 10-race championship playoff.
Busch dominated the 400-mile race, leading 163 of 267 laps after starting ninth for his second victory here in five starts. But he had to outlast Logano during one late segment in which they traded leads for several laps.
Busch finally got the upper hand on Logano’s No. 22 Ford on Lap 248 and he went on to his second victory in three races after missing the first 11 events due to leg and foot injuries sustained in February at Daytona.
“He got away from me and I was nervous [that] I wasn’t going to be able to get back to him,” Busch said, “but I knew to just try something different to go get him.”
Busch also gained two spots to stand 35th in points, five below the position needed to qualify for the Chase.
“That right there is what we have to do,” he said. “Just to score as many points as we possibly can and score those wins.”
Busch’s teammates Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth followed Logano as Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas dominated the top five.
Busch, who won last month’s road race in Sonoma, Calif., in his fifth start back, won the inaugural 2011 race at Kentucky from the pole.
Defending race champion Brad Keselowski, whose No. 2 Ford was the strongest car at many points in the race, led 62 laps after starting second. But he struggled late to overcome pit road issues and finished sixth.
A scary incident occurred on Lap 125 when Keselowski hit his right front tire carrier as he tried to exit his stall. Keselowski was cleared to go but couldn’t see the crew member, who slipped while trying to move the heavy tire and was tapped as he furiously moved out of the way.