KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Another day, another Kyle Busch victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
This time it was in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300, a race in which Busch decimated the field, leading 150 of 200 laps en route to his ninth win of the season and the 85th of his career.
However, it took patience and a run through the field amid four cautions in the final 42 laps before he could celebrate in victory lane.
Busch made his final pit stop at lap 148, during a green-flag pit cycle that was planned to be the final set of stops for all of the frontrunners. However, a caution 10 laps later – for debris in turn three – interrupted the flow and left Regan Smith out front for a restart with 37 circuits remaining.
Smith led the field back to green flanked by Ty Dillon, but the run lasted only two laps before a mammoth, multi-car crash sparked by Brandon Jones redisplayed the yellow and collected Darrell Wallace Jr., Justin Allgaier, Ryan Reed, Cole Custer and Ryan Sieg among the casualties.
“(That was a) pretty hard hit,” Wallace said after climbing from his destroyed machine. “It’s pretty unfortunate. We were making some good calls and led some laps, but this is part of it. People have asked if there’s a wild-card race in these next three … here you go. This took out a couple Chasers.”
The next restart saw Kyle Larson restart fourth and Busch fifth as Ty Dillon shot to the lead from the outside lane.
Larson moved to second for a moment before getting loose and sliding back to where he started, while Erik Jones dispatched Dillon for the top spot with 25 to go – moments before Brendan Gaughan went spinning through the frontstretch grass to draw another caution.
That set up a restart with 18 to go, one which saw Jones and Dillon make contact racing for the lead and sent Jones to pit road with a major tire rub. As Jones pitted, his teammate Daniel Suarez assumed the lead, but the yellow flag returned for the final time courtesy of debris and set up the race’s deciding restart with 13 laps remaining.
Though Suarez challenged from the top groove, Busch got a huge shove to the lead from points leader Elliott Sadler – taking the lead for good and never looking back as he took his third straight XFINITY victory at Kansas.”
“There was a lot of things there trying to work against us towards the end. We just persevered and made it through everything,” said Busch. “Our car was awesome today! We had really great speed and I think we showed it all weekend; it was just a matter of being able to put it all together and being able to end up here in victory lane where we deserve to be. We had a fast enough car to do that and made it happen in the end.”
“All in all we have a good time racing these XFINITY cars and I can’t say enough about these guys. They do an awesome job preparing really good cars every weekend. I wish we could have sealed the deal with this car at Chicago, but things worked against us that day. They tried again today, but we got it done.”
Sadler hung on for a distant second, 4.025 seconds behind Busch at the checkered flag.
“Man, there were a lot of cautions today, especially during the middle part of the race,” the series points leader said. “I don’t know what they all were, but it just seemed like Kentucky all over again.”
“But either way, it feels good to be on top with a two week break ahead of us. We know what we need to do in these next two weeks to get the car ready for Texas and Homestead and work through that. We have a really good plan laid out, but it definitely helps to get your best foot forward and I think we did that today, for sure.”
Suarez finished third and leaves Kansas tied with Sadler for the series points lead.
Joey Logano and Larson completed the top five after a late-race duel saw them trade slide jobs and make contact twice prior to the finish.
Blake Koch stayed out of trouble and came home ninth, leaving Kansas third in points and five markers ahead of the elimination line with two races to go in the Round of 8.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to action on Nov. 5, with the running of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge from Texas Motor Speedway.