It doesn't seem to matter if it's the new or old Kyle Busch that shows up on race weekend; both of them find a way to win. The Nationwide race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was no different.
On Saturday morning, Busch qualified his No. 18 NOS Energy Toyota sixth, with fellow double duty Carl Edwards sitting on the pole for the Tech-Net Auto Service 300.
From the start it seemed it would be an exciting race, beginning with Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick made it three wide to make up for his 18th place qualifying effort. On lap three, the first caution of the race came out when Paul Menard and JR Motorsports' Steve Arpin, Jr. got together. The incident collected Mike Wallace and Mark Green, as well.
Brian Scott had a gear problem when the field restarted on lap eight, causing a domino effect behind him and taking out several cars. Chad McCumbee, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and David Gilliland were also collected.
Following those two early incidents, the field when on a long green flag run. Edwards continued to lead the field until, on lap 16, Keselowski passed him for the spot. He would pace the field and began lapping cars 35 laps into the race. Further back, Justin Allgaier in the No. 12 Penske Dodge was making strides from his 11th place spot, and ran fifth.
In desperate need of changes, Busch came down pit road on lap 48, a little soon for pit stops, but it wasn't the green flag stop that seemed to be the nail in his coffin. NASCAR made Busch come down pit road again for a speeding penalty. He would fall two laps down.
Scheduled green flag stops began just a few laps later. Allgaier, who was making such a strong run, had lugnut problems and lost several positions. The big winner was Kasey Kahne, who once stops cycled was the new race leader.
Kahne's lead over Keselowski grew to eleven seconds, and had all but 13 cars on the lead lap. On lap 92, though, all of that vanished when a battery change forced Kahne to pit road. He would fall two laps down.
Just as the field passed halfway, caution came out for debris and the leaders hit pit road. Keselowski retained his lead while Newman, who had been challenging the No. 22, had a horrible pit stop and fell from second to 11th.
Dicey racing throughout the field continued when Keselowski took the green flag on lap 109, and soon Joey Logano was challenging him for the top spot. He and Greg Biffle would trade the lead between laps 127 to 131, with Logano leading when caution once again came out. This time, it was for an off the pace Trevor Bayne, who had made contact with the wall.
Pit stops came under the fourth caution of the day, and who came out first? A hard charging Kyle Busch, who just beat his young teammate off pit road.
The No. 18 of Busch took the green flag on lap 143, and was able to clear his teammate Logano, who was being charged by Biffle and Keselowski for position. After intense side by side racing, the No. 12 was able to take the spot from Logano.
Kasey Kahne's unfortunate day would continue when, on lap 157, he made contact with the wall and came down pit road. Back up front, Keselowski and Logano continued their battle.
Busch led the field to the restart on lap 191, but Keselowski stayed with the No. 18 and they raced side by side. The following lap, caution six came out when Brian Ickler, making his first start in the Roush Fenway No. 16, got loose and hit the wall, collecting Steve Wallace.
A lap following the restart on lap 196, Bayne's troubles continued when he again found the wall, this time also collecting Scott Lagasse, Jr., bring out the seventh caution of the day. Once again the race would go into overtime.
On the green white checkered, Busch was able to pull away as Logano battled Keselowski side by side, and he was able to win his fifth Nationwide race of the year.
"We had a really great race car, but in the beginning, we were really tight, and then we made some changes, and I got really loose, and I was just trying to fight it and find out what I needed," Busch said. "[Crew chief] Jason [Ratcliff] made some great race calls towards the end in getting the car to handle right."
The rest of the Tech-Net Auto Service 300 were Keselowski in second, followed by Logano, Allgaeir and Newman. Harvick, Leffler, Sorenson, Edwards and Bowyer round out the top ten.
Keselowski continues to hold the points lead, 11 points ahead of Busch and 64 ahead of Harvick, both of whom aren't running the full Nationwide schedule. He's 220 points ahead of Carl Edwards.
The next time the Nationwide Series drivers will take the track will be at Nashville Superspeedway, beginning a set of stand alone events for the series, for the Federated Auto Parts 300. The race begins at 7:30 ET and can be seen on ESPN2.
Thanks to NASCAR.com, TSN.com and Racing Reference for the information and statistics used in this post.