Busch sped away after a restart on Lap 197 of 200, as Crafton and third-place finisher Ryan Blaney battled for the second spot.
The victory was owner/driver Busch’s second of the season, his second win in a row, his third at Dover and the 32nd of his career. Chase Elliott, who started on the outside of the front row, overcame two pit road speeding penalties to finish fourth, one spot ahead of Brendan Gaughan, who posted his fourth straight top-five finish.
For Busch, however, the 21st victory on concrete in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series combined was not a typical dominating win.
Busch started fifth and had to fight traffic throughout the early stages of the race, while his crew made adjustments in the pits. Busch didn’t take the lead until he blew past David Starr on Lap 142 after a cycle of green-flag pit stops.
“It was unbelievable how loose it was following those guys,” Busch said of the early racing. “I had to get outside of their wake and kind of move around, and that’s where I started making up some ground. It was more later in the run than it was early in the run.
“These things are just so fast going around here, early in the run with a lot of tire grip and a lot of aero grip, but as the rubber goes down, it certainly gets slick and everybody has their hands full. These guys (his crew) made some nice adjustments for me to keep us on top of the race track and up front.”
Polesitter Darrell Wallace Jr. (10th Friday) led the first 119 laps of the race but surrendered the top spot Matt Crafton during a green-flag pit stop on Lap 120. By the time the round of pit stops had cycled through, Busch, who pitted on Lap 117, was at the front of the field with an advantage of more than five seconds over Wallace.
Saving fuel for a possible 83-lap run to the finish, Busch saw his lead dwindle to just over two seconds before crew chief Rudy Fugle gave him the green light to run at full speed. But a caution for debris in Turn 2 on Lap 158 made fuel strategy moot and gave the lead-lap cars a chance to pit.
Crafton won the race off pit road and surged ahead of Busch after a restart on Lap 164, but five laps later, Busch passed Crafton to the outside and began to stretch his advantage as Wallace and Timothy Peters battled for the fourth spot behind him.
Busch’s margin was just under a second when NASCAR called the fifth caution of the race on Lap 179, for debris on the frontstretch. Busch chose the outside lane for the restart on Lap 185 and got the jump on Crafton into the first corner.
Busch opened a lead of more than one second before Tim George Jr. blew a tire and smacked the Turn 3 wall on Lap 191 to cause the sixth caution and set up the dash to the finish.
Crafton now leads the series standings by 30 points over rookie Jeb Burton in second place.
by Reid Spencer – NASCAR Wire Service