Kyle Busch kicked off a homecoming weekend with a trip to victory lane, taking the checkered flag in the Star Nursery 100 at the short track where the NASCAR Cup Series champion started his career.
Busch qualified eighth in the Super Late Model race at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (NV), and started sixth after a pill draw reset the lineup. He took the lead on lap 65 after a battle with four-time SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour champion Derek Thorn.
The race was Busch’s first appearance at the 3/8-mile oval since the 2007 Fall Classic. It had been a long time since Busch had been able to win in front of hometown fans at the Bullring, with a lot of changes and a couple of NASCAR Cup Series championships along the way.
"It's been a long time since I've won here -- a really long time. I certainly want to give a shout out to the Rowdy Nation fans that are always there to support me, all the ones from The Bullring days back when I was a kid. My mom and dad and my wife and my son now -- my, how times have changed."
While Busch finished the night in victory lane, it was anything but a leisurely cruise. From searching for speed in the car after practice and qualifying to the late-race battle with a West Coast champion, it was a battle to the finish.
"I worked my guys butts off these last few days -- it's a good thing I had a lot of Rowdy Energy to keep them going. Appreciate everyone at KBM, Rowdy Manufacturing, Toyota and TRD - our Rowdy Energy Camry was super-fast once we got into the second-half of the race tonight. Always enjoy battling with Derek Thorn -- he's the guy to beat out here on the west coast and I knew that if we were going to win tonight it was going to be him that we were battling. Hopefully we put on a good show for my hometown fans."
Christian McGhee finished second, with Thorn coming home third. Tyler Fabozzi finished fourth, while Sammy Smith rounded out the top five in a second KBM entry.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Kyle Busch Motorsports