MADISON IL. (AP) – Kyle Busch dominated the NASCAR Nationwide Series again, cruising to victory in the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 on Saturday.
Busch, who leads the series standings by 212 points (3,121-2,909) over Carl Edwards, won for the sixth time in 19 races season and also captured the 27th win of his career. The 27 wins ties him for fourth all-time in Nationwide wins with Jeff Burton.
Reed Sorenson finished second and Carl Edwards was third. Mike Bliss and Brad Coleman rounded out the top five.
"The car drove really well," Busch said. "It was like a rocket ship. We just drove right up to the front."
Busch, who started from the fifth row, has finished first or second in the last seven Nationwide races including wins at Loudon, N.H., and Nashville, Tenn.
"We’ve really worked hard to improve on our short track program," said Jason Ratcliff, Busch’s crew chief.
Busch was o! ne of four full-time Sprint Cup series drivers competing in the event with the Sprint Series taking the weekend off. Edwards, Sorenson, and Kevin Harvick also race regularly on the Sprint Series.
The win was the first for Busch in three career starts at the 1.25-mile oval.
Busch took over the lead on lap 172 of the 200-lap event when Harvick ran out of gas. Busch finished 1.001 seconds ahead of Sorenson.
Harvick, who finished 17th, led 92 of the first 150 laps, but made a mistake in calculating his fuel down the stretch. Busch felt he had the best car and would have passed Harvick even if Harvick had not run out of gas.
"That was a bummer for him," Busch said of Harvick’s bad break. "But we had a little bit better car at that point in the race."
Busch jumped out from the start and hustled up to third place after the first 10 laps. He remained in the top three during 189 of the final 190 laps.
A Las Vegas resident, Busch also has wins at R! ichmond, Virginia and Fort Worth, Texas this season.
Edwards was pleased with his third-place finish even though he lost 20 points in the overall series standings.
"We gave it all we had, all night," he said. "We were just a little off. We just weren’t quite good enough."
Sorenson continued to race well at Gateway. His second-place finish was his fourth top 10 in five races at Gateway.
The race featured seven cautions covering 34 laps with an average speed of 103.286. There were 12 lead changes among five drivers in the 2-hour, 27-minute race.<
NOTES: The leader in the Nationwide Series standings after 19 races has won the season title nine times in the past 10 years …. Brad Keselowski won his second pole in 88 races, but finished eighth … Edwards arrived at Gateway by riding his bike 190 miles from his hometown of Columbia, Missouri on Tuesday … The first 67 laps were run without a caution, the cleanest start in the 13-year history of the event… Steve Wallace was penalized one lap for an improper hand ! gesture toward Scott Legasse Jr. following a mix-up on lap 84.