By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
In a pure example of just how unpredictable NASCAR racing really is, Mike Wallace was leading the Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 with less than 20 laps to go. Wallace was up front and looked like he would be rolling the dice on gas mileage for the win, however a caution with 11 laps to go iced that strategy.
What looked to be the most unpredictable of finishes, was now left to be settled by the usual suspects, yet an unpredictable finish still ensued.
Kyle Busch led the most laps on the day with 64, but on lap 91 he spun while leading. This sidelined him for a while, but by lap 150 Busch was right back in the top-five.
Then with seven laps to go Busch inherited the lead thanks to great work by his pit crew, but he’d have to hold off Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and a lurking Brad Keselowski on the last seven laps.
On the restart Logano would work his way around Busch, and actually slid up in front of him in the middle of turns one and two. Then later that lap Aric Almirola spun and slammed the wall in turn four, ruining what was a great day for him. Almirola was relegated to a 22nd-place finish.
This would set up one final restart with three laps to go.
Logano would edge Busch through the end of the first lap, but on the final lap of the race, Busch went for it all in turn four, and lost second place to Brad Keselowski when he made slight contact with Logano.
Joey Logano would make it back to the checkered flag first, after setting the pole speed earlier in the day. This win marks his second of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, and the eighth of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career.
Following his victory celebration and the inevitable hat dance, Logano broke down his day and gave credit to his crew chief Kevin Kidd.
“Kevin (Kidd) did a good job today setting up my car, or yesterday I think. My car was really good in practice…”
“There was about a four car race, I think the four of us were all pretty equal on lap times. It all came down to the end there on restarts,” An excited Logano said.
When asked about why he raced his teammate so close on the next to last restart, Logano offered up a simple answer.
“You race for a win though, you know? When it comes down to a green flag checkered like that or five to go, you’re going to do whatever it takes to win a race,” the 20-year-old Logano said. “I didn’t put him in the wall, I ran him up the race track a little bit, which he probably would have done the same to me to win the race.”
Brad Keselowski finished second followed by Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.
For Keselowski he just couldn’t find enough speed out of his No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge to overcome being mired in the pack Saturday.
“The car was just pretty good at points, if not that it was good throughout the whole race. People used strategy to get up to the front, and we just didn’t quite have enough speed,” Keselowski said.
With his second-place showing, Keselowski’s point lead now grows to 374 points over Carl Edwards, who spun and slammed into the wall early in the race. Edwards would rebound to finish 14th.
Kyle Busch came away disappointed after running so strong early on, but kept his head held high on the fact that he didn’t crash when he spun out.
“Unfortunate there at the end to not be able to pull out a win, just really really tight on the last restarts,” Busch stated.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came home in sixth place on his 23rd birthday. He was very impressive all day long, and was actually mixing it up with the leaders in the middle to closing stages of the race. Stenhouse seems to have really turned a corner in his development as a driver.
With his sixth place finish, he now owns the top spot in the 2010 Raybestos Rookie of The Year standings. Following the race Stenhouse said that winning the award would be the biggest accomplishment of his career. However what may be the biggest thing for his team is what he said about learning how to drive for points.
“I don’t think Jack (Roush) has ever lost it (Rookie Of The Year Award) when he’s ran for it, So a little bit of pressure there. It’d be a huge honor. I’ve never really ran for points and I think that’s what I’m learning to do now,” Stenhouse explained. “When I ran sprint cars, I never ran a full series to run for points.”
Justin Allgaier finished seventh, while Paul Menard, Brendan Gaughan and Jason Leffler rounded out the top-ten finishers. Mike Wallace, who may or may not have won the race if he would have had a shot at trying the fuel gamble, still finished in 12th spot.