Kyle Busch Holds Off Elliott in Berlin's Rowdy 251
Like many top-notch athletes recalling defeats instead of victories, Kyle Busch had little trouble remembering the only time he lost a race at Berlin Raceway.
It happened three years ago in the inaugural Rowdy race, but he remembered.
"That was Brian that won that one, wasn't it?" Busch said of the inaugural Rowdy 251, the one he lost to Berlin veteran Brian Campbell. "We were missing a little bit of something so the next year I questioned him and questioned him and stole all his secrets."
After winning the 2012 Rowdy 251 on Tuesday night, Busch is 3-for-4 in the race named after him. He grabbed the lead from Tom Thomas following a caution on lap 212 and outran young Chase Elliott to the finish line in an ARCA/CRA series race.
Most of the nearly 6,000 fans were hoping for Busch's third win here. They did not leave disappointed.
Elliott, on the other hand, would have liked a different outcome.
"He's probably one of the best short-track racers around and he's tough to beat," Elliott said. "We've run decent at some places this year and then we come here and everybody gets whupped.
"Right, wrong or indifferent, I kind of stuck with what I was doing in practice and obviously it wasn't quite good enough."
Busch started 15th in the 30-car field and picked his way through traffic, chasing the likes of Berlin veteran Johnny VanDoorn as well as up-and-comers Ross Kenseth and Elliott.
Busch grabbed the lead from VanDoorn on lap 122 from and collected the $2,000 award for leading at the halfway point, lap 126.
Some young fans selected from the stands drew numbers for the starting six spots for the second half of the race. VanDoorn got the luck of the draw with Terry VanHaitsma, Busch, Tom Thomas, Zeeland's Ross Meeuwsen and Campbell starting the second half in that order.
Tim DeVos, another Berlin regular, grabbed the lead from VanDoorn with exactly 100 laps to go with Busch sliding into second place a few laps later. Meeuwsen's solo spin on the front stretch brought out a caution and all the leaders pitted for fresh tires.
Tom Thomas stayed out, but that strategy backfired when Busch and Daniel Hemric charged past, with Busch grabbing the lead on lap 212.
The final 25 laps came down to a shootout between Busch and Elliott with Elliott winning by 1.26 seconds. VanDoorn, Thomas and Ross Kenseth rounded out the top five. Campbell finished sixth and Meeuwsen finished two laps off the pace in 16th after his spin.
"I wasn't sure how it was all going to play down," Busch said. "Chase was really fast there at the end and I was running all I had. Anybody who thinks there's saving (tires) at the end, there's no saving it on those laps.
"That's three in a row, man. Let's see if we can't come back next year and make it four."