DARLINGTON, S.C. – It looked as if a Nationwide Series regular might get that group's first win of the season.
As expected, Kyle Busch had something to say about that.
Busch passed Elliott Sadler with 23 of 147 laps remaining, ran out to a big lead and held off Denny Hamlin to win Friday night’s Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway.
The win is Busch’s fifth in the series this season and first at Darlington. It’s also his 48th career win in 211 series starts.
“It’s really cool. I love coming to Darlington. It’s a tough, tricky, treacherous place for me. These guys on this team did a great job,” Busch said. “This place is so tough and so demanding.
To beat the guy we beat tonight – Denny Hamlin – that’s pretty cool, too. We made some changes on the car today that made it better, which I think it made it better than what (Hamlin) did today.”
Sadler finished third, series points leader Justin Allgaier was fourth and Steve Wallace finished fifth. Allgaier leads Sadler by five points after 10 races.
“We took two (new) tires, he took four and it was too much to overcome,” Hamlin said of finishing second to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate.
Although disappointed he couldn’t get the win, Sadler said his team has been making strides toward being able to go toe-to-toe with Sprint Cup drivers in the field.
“This is a great run for us to finish third. I’m having so much fun,” said Sadler, who has six top-fives in his last seven races. “It’s a great, great finish for my race team.
“We’re inching closer to running with the Cup guys on a regular basis. But it’s one thing to run with (Busch), it’s another to beat him.”
A multicar wreck late in the racce took out several contenders, including Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola.
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