Kyle Busch won the pole but had to come from deep in the field after a penalty to brush aside the competition to win the Dollar General 200, fueled by AmeriGas NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday afternoon.
Busch was dropped from the lead position to 25th place when he was caught speeding off pit road after a stop on lap 40. It took only 45 laps to pass the 24th rival, teammate Matt Kenseth, to regain the point on the 40-car field.
"We put on a show," Busch admitted. "I had to be patient a few times and aggressive a few times (to get through the field). The car was phenomenal all day."
Brad Keselowski finished second after taking the lead by staying out on the track while most leaders pitted with 48 laps to go. Also staying out were Trevor Bayne, Aric Almirola, and Sam Hornish, Jr. That left Busch fifth on the restart on lap 157. It took only seven laps to regain the lead this time.Hornish did his own battling back for a seventh-place finish. His Ford was smacked by the Chevrolet of Johanna Long, and Long wrecked a moment later to bring out the event's first caution flag on lap 3.
Hornish made multiple trips to pit road to repair his car's front end and returned to the track in 35th place. It took him only 15 laps to make the top 20, and his late-race strategy sealed his top-10 finish.
Busch was so dominant that race fans often had to look elsewhere to enjoy racing action. One of the most fascinating battles pitted a pair of Californians, a rookie against a champion. Young Kyle Larson enjoyed a pitched battle with Jimmie Johnson for 12th place over much of the second half of the race, and the five-time Sprint Cup champion taught the youngster some lessons in tire management.
Justin Allgaier took third place, while Bayne held on to fourth at the end. Wrapping up the top 5 was Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Elliott Sadler.
Busch, Keselowski, Johnson, Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick, who suffered a late race blown tire to ruin a top-10 finish, will all be chasing pole sitter Mark Martin in tomorrow afternoon's Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Tickets remain for the weekend's feature race.