Kyle Busch put on a dominating performance but had a hard-fought battle with Brian Scott in the closing laps to win Saturday's Indiana 250 Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Busch started on the pole and led 92 of 100 laps. But Busch lost the top position after a restart with six laps remaining when he and fellow Sprint Cup Series competitor Joey Logano made slight contact and nearly wrecked on the backstretch while battling for the position. That allowed third-place runner Scott to slip past them and take the lead.
Scott was attempting to win a Nationwide race for the first time in his career, but Busch spoiled Scott's opportunity when he came roaring back and passed him for the lead with less than three laps to go.
Busch beat Scott to the finish line by 2.1 seconds to score his 59th win in 259 Nationwide starts. Five of his eight wins this season have come from the pole, which set a series-season record. Earlier in the day, Busch earned his record 31st career Nationwide pole. He had been tied with Mark Martin for the record.
"It's Indianapolis, and it's pretty awesome to win here, whether you're driving Nationwide, Cup, sports cars, Formula One, Moto GP or anything," Busch said. "It's cool to win at this place with all of the history and all of the automobiles that have raced on this surface."
When Nationwide ran at this historic 2.5-mile oval for the first time one year ago, Busch led the most laps with 51 but lost the top spot when he encountered a slow pit stop late in the race and then bumped into Elliott Sadler and spun around in the closing laps to finish 22nd. Brad Keselowski went on to win the inaugural race.
"We should have been here (in victory lane) last year, but I messed up," Busch noted. "I almost messed it up and gave it away again, but I was able to persevere there and get back."
Prior to the Nationwide race, Busch qualified 19th for Sunday's Brickyard 400.
Scott's second-place run marked his career-best finish in Nationwide. He is in his first season driving for Richard Childress Racing after spending the past two years with Joe Gibbs Racing.
"I thought we had a chance to win it," Scott said. "I was a little too focused on my corner entry and making sure I got to the bottom and really cover it up so he couldn't get any clean air. I just over-slowed going into turn 1 and allowed him to get to my bumper and move me up the racetrack. Unfortunately, the win was so close. It kind of slipped out of our hands right there."
Logano ended up finishing third, while Brian Vickers placed fourth and claimed the $100,000 "Dash 4 Cash" bonus from series-title sponsor Nationwide Insurance. Vickers was the highest finisher among the four eligible drivers for Indy, the final event in this year's bonus program. Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr. and Sadler were eligible here as well.
"It was a great day for us, a hundred thousand dollars in the bank and a good points day," Vickers said.
Kevin Harvick finished fifth, followed by Paul Menard, Matt Kenseth and rookie Kevin Swindell. Michael Annett and Travis Pastrana completed the top-10. Pastrana had to start from the rear of the field in a backup car after he crashed his primary vehicle in qualifying.
After finishing 12th, Dillon took over the top spot in the point standings. Sam Hornish Jr. entered this race with a seven-point lead, but Hornish's engine overheated just past the halfway point. He wound up finishing 34th.
"I got some grass on the (front) grille, and it went from about 230 degrees to 290 in a couple of corners because it was completely packed full," Hornish said. "By the time I got to pit lane and was able to get some water in it, we really didn't get it all in there while trying not to lose any laps. It melted the engine down, because it was too hot."
Regan Smith also encountered overheating problems at the same time Hornish did, but Smith continued on and finished 19th. He is six points behind Dillon. Sadler's 13th-place run moved him to within 13 points of the leader. Hornish is now 14 behind. Vickers moved up to fifth in the rankings (-28).