The more the lead changed, the more the excitement stayed the same Saturday in the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Kyle Busch used a strong push from Joey Logano down the backstretch to slice through the field and complete the 56th and final lead change of the race, giving Busch his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Talladega. The 56 lead changes (among 18 drivers) smashed the old NASCAR Nationwide Series record of 36 that was also held by Talladega Superspeedway.
Busch's pass was perhaps the most exciting one in a race that was filled with thrilling moments. He and Logano created a new lane down the middle of the backstretch, cutting between cars on either side and barely squeezing through the narrow gap.
"I saw daylight, and I said if I can see daylight I'm shooting for it," Busch said. "I knew that was it, that it was the only opportunity I'd have. Somehow we made it through there.
"I didn't think it was wide enough for a car to fit through, but I certainly made it wide enough. I closed my eyes and held my foot to the floor and prayed for the best."
Logano remained tight on the bumper of his Joe Gibbs teammate. He said there was no way he was going to back off, being only a half-lap away from the finish line.
"There wasn't much of a hole there, but at that point I wasn't lifting," said Logano, who finished second. "So we were just going to force a hole and make it a little bit bigger than what it is."
For Logano, it was the third consecutive Nationwide race at Talladega in which he had pushed the eventual winner to victory on the final lap
"I just have to be on the other side sometime," Logano said. "It's cool for JGR to be able to get 1-2. I just want to be number one instead of number two."
Busch was quick to give Logano plenty of credit for the victory, which was the 47th of his Nationwide career, only two shy of Mark Martin's all-time series record of 49.
"Joey was a great teammate today. He deserved to win just as much as we did," Busch said. "This was a team win. It comes down to who you can get with, who you can work with at the end of the race. We had a teammate out there in Joey who was really good to work with.
Joe Nemechek finished third, followed by Brad Keselowski in fourth, Elliott Sadler fifth, Trevor Bayne sixth, Justin Allgaier seventh, Dale Earnhardt Jr. eighth, Reed Sorensen ninth and Aric Almirola 10th.
The two-car drafts that have become prevalent this year at restrictor-plate tracks created a pass-happy spectacle that both the fans and the drivers enjoyed.
"This is a lot of fun to do a couple of times a year," said Jason Leffler, who finished 15th and moved into the lead in the Nationwide standings by two points over Allgaier and five points over Sadler. "I don't know if I'd want to do it every weekend, but it was fun today."
The 47-year-old Nemechek agreed.
"It was definitely intense," Nemechek said. "My heart is still beating fast and my head is really spinning. But it was really fun. It's been a long time since I've had a really good run like that. I had a blast."