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Kyle Busch gambles, wins NASCAR Nationwide race at Fontana

March 26, 2011 |  5:27 pm

Kyle-busch_350 Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday in Fontana after his crew chief gambled on changing only two tires on Busch's car late in the race while other leaders changed four.

Busch's victory in the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway was his second consecutive Nationwide win, and he's won three of the first five Nationwide races this season.

On a chilly, overcast day, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick had the dominant cars for most of the 150-lap race, with Busch running third or fourth.

But when the field was forced to make pit stops with less than 20 laps remaining, Jason Ratcliff, the crew chief on Busch's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, called for changing only two tires while Edwards and Harvick changed four.

That gave Busch the lead he needed to hold off Edwards and Harvick during the final laps, with those drivers finishing second and third, respectively.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth, Elliott Sadler was fifth and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne finished sixth.

NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup Series races Sunday at Fontana in the Auto Club 400.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Kyle Busch celebrates with his crew after winning the NASCAR Nationwide race on Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Credit: Will Lester / Associated Press