Kyle Busch began one celebration on Saturday and Chase Elliott got a head start on another.
Busch passed Joey Logano with 42 of 200 laps remaining then maintained his lead through a late round of green-flag pit stops to win the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.
The victory was the 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series, and Busch has accounted for 58 of those wins.
“I’m really proud of our whole Nationwide Series program. When we first started, it took us about five years to win a race but we got it going,” said JGR team owner Joe Gibbs. “We really appreciate this.”
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The win was Busch’s seventh in the series this season and 70th of his career. It was also Busch’s seventh win at Texas.
“It’s a special moment for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Busch. “Everybody at the body shop, engine shop, chassis shop, they’ve worked hard for a long time to get this many wins and they’ve done a great job.
“I’m just glad to be a small part of the effort.”
Logano finished second, Ryan Blaney was third, Elliott was fourth and Matt Kenseth was fifth.
With two races remaining in the season, Elliott now holds a 48-point lead over his JR Motorsports teammate, Regan Smith, in the series championship standings.
With over a race worth of a lead, Elliott is virtually assured to win his first series championship this season.
“I felt this was one of our best performances from start to finish in a race,” said Elliott. “Hats off to everyone on our team. We had phenomenal pit stops, and we were right there with (the leaders) at the end.”
Elliott can clinch the series title next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway if he holds at least a 48-point lead following the race.
Elliott Sadler missed qualifying Saturday morning because of a stomach virus. He started the race but got out his No. 11 Toyota under the first caution. Clint Bowyer drove the remainder of the race and finished ninth.