Driving the #18 Nos Energy Drink Toyota, Busch cruised to his sixth career NXS checkered flag at the “Magic Mile” and his 89th in the series.
It didn’t come easy for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver as he battled Brad Keselowski in the #22 Discount Tire Ford. That was until Keselowski’s team picked up a pass-through penalty in the pits on lap 170 setting the Penske Racing team back 25-seconds they never recovered.
Early on Busch and Keselowski were back and forth with the lead. They traded the lead four times in the first 28 laps. On lap 28 Keselowski was able to pass Busch to take the lead before a caution after #99 David Starr spun out. The race was then under a red flag delay on lap 31 due to heavy rain.
After the 54 minute delay, the sun came back out. But with the sunshine, came a change in track conditions. This weekend NHMS added PJ-1 a sticky substance to apply friction to their often-slick track. With the rain and the work to get the track dry the substance changed a bit when the green flag dropped.
“The key word here is ever-changing. Between the rain and substance, it comes down to adapting.” Busch said on the different variables early in the race.
When the action picked back up, many teams went into the pit to gear up for the end of stage one. Justin Allgaier in #7 Brandt Chevrolet took advantage until Elliot Sadler, #1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet snuck by him. On lap 41, Kyle Larson’s #42 ENEOS Chevrolet took the lead that he would finish the 45-lap first stage with.
In the second stage, Busch and Keselowski would once again trade position. But, it would be Keselowski who would take the lead on lap 72 and would take the stage two victory.
Busch once again took the lead from #22 on lap 94, but eight laps later Keselowski would take the top spot and pull ahead to 1.5 second lead on Busch until the disaster on Pit Road happened to Keselowski with his gas can getting stuck in the car as he pulled away from pit road and it flew into an opponents stall. At the time Keselowski was in the lead, but the miscue forces a stop and go penalty that put him well on the tail end of the lead lap.
Busch would cruise to victory lane opening up a 10.4 second lead on runner-up Ryan Preece in the #20 MoHawk Northeast Inc. Toyota. #9 AXALTA/Peerless Chevrolet driver William Byron would finish third, followed by Larson and Keselowski. Brian Kennedy in the #2 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet finished sixth and the final driver on the lead lap.
After the race, Busch once again attributed his success in Loudon, New Hampshire to adaptation.
“Being able to adapt to the different things that have come along here,” Busch said of his success at the track.
The victory in the NXS Overton’s 200 has proved that Busch has been able to succeed under any variables.
The next race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Lilly Diabetes 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 22 at 3:30 p.m.