Dustin Long - @dustinlong
If you don’t drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series at Darlington, then you don't have much of a chance.
Kyle Busch continued the organization’s dominance by winning Friday night’s VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway. Busch’s victory marked the seventh win in the last eight races at Darlington for JGR. For Busch, it was his fifth victory of the season and 56th in his Nationwide career.
Gibbs cars swept the top three spots and took four of the top five positions. After Busch, JGR had Elliott Sadler second, Brian Vickers third and Matt Kenseth fifth. Joey Logano placed fourth.
Sadler overcame a spin on lap 50 of the 147-lap race to score his best finish of the season. Vickers had to pit during under green because of a loose left rear wheel yet tied his season-best finish. Even Busch had his struggles, losing a few spots during a pit stop when his jackman slipped and fell.
Busch took the lead for good with 17 laps left when he got around Logano. It wasn’t hard as Busch had fresher tires than Logano, who didn’t pit during the final caution.
“I tried to stay in front of those Gibbs cars, but they’re so fast it was just hard to do,’’ Logano said.
Busch waited for Logano to slip before taking the lead. It was a sign, drivers said, of how tires are starting to wear more on this track as the pavement ages.
“The falloff is certainly there,’’ Busch said. “It’s kind of fun, but it’s kind of nerve-racking, too, because you’re trying to push it to the limit as much as you can. You’re inches from the fence so anything can happen.’’
Rookie Kyle Larson finished sixth in his first series start at this track.
Regan Smith finished seventh and remains the points leader. He has a 28-point bulge on Sam Hornish Jr. heading into the May 25 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Sadler is third in the standings, 42 points out of the lead.
Justin Allgaier is fourth (43 points behind the leader) and Vickers is fifth (49 points out of the lead).
The Nationwide Series returns to action on May 25.