Driver Kyle Busch celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series New England 200 auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Saturday June 26, 2010.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa) By Charles Krupa
Kyle Busch celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide New England 200 auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Saturday, June 26,2010.(AP Photo/Jim Cole) By Jim Cole
LOUDON, N.H. (AP) -- Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday and become the career laps led leader in NASCAR's second-tier series.
Busch bowed to the crowd, which saluted his sixth win of the season in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch has led 8,117 laps in his career and earned his 36th career victory.
He held off teammate Brad Keselowski, who finished second and had his solid run derailed by a poor pit stop. Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne round out the top five.
Keselowski stretched his points lead to 247 over Edwards.
Danica Patrick finished 30th, five laps down. Patrick went into the wall only seven laps into the race. The IndyCar regular posted her best finish in four Nationwide races.
"It was a bummer to get lapped so many times," Patrick said.
Patrick started 25th in her first NASCAR race since February and ran into trouble in her No. 7 Chevrolet almost instantly.
Morgan Shepherd got loose and sent Patrick into the wall. She radioed to her crew "he totally took me out."
Patrick returned to the track a lap down and never got any momentum. She later tapped Shepherd to let him know she didn't appreciate getting caught up in the early accident.
Patrick fared no better than 31st in three starts on the Nationwide Series in February. She said a top-15 or top-20 finish would be a success.
"There's a lot for me to learn," she said.
Busch has it mastered.
He maneuvered up front on the strength of some long runs and held off a nipping Keselowski. Keselowski, who started from the pole, could have made it a two-car race to the finish until a slow pit stop with about 50 laps dropped him to seventh.
"I wish there was money for laps led," Busch said. "That would be pretty cool. It's a testament to this team and I was at Hendrick Motorsports, too."
Busch passed Mark Martin on the career laps led list.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)