LOUDON, N.H.– For the second time this season and the 89th of his career in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Kyle Busch wins the Overton’s 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 77 laps en route to the victory. Busch, won the pole earlier on in the afternoon and ran second for the majority of the afternoon.
Under the last round of green flag pit stops with 40 laps remaining, race leader Brad Keselowski was penalized for his gas can leaving the stall. Keselowski led 102 laps until the penalty and was forced to do a stop and go penalty. This then gave the lead back to Busch, this time for good.
“You can’t always count on the fastest car winning the race.” Busch said. “We count on teamwork, we had that today and the guys did a great job in the pits. They gave me a great piece and we were able to go out here and contend with them. We put the pressure on and made it close enough to where when we pitted, I knew they would have to pit right after us. They were probably in a hurry because they knew we had a lap on our tires.”
“Overall, it’s just a great day. Thanks to all the fans, I appreciate all the fans that came out to NHMS. This is fun, this is one of the most fun days because we see so many classes of racing here, so if you don’t come out here you’re certainly missing out. I was nervous that we were going to see a caution at the end, but it all played out and it stayed green all the way to the end. Good job to my teammate, Ryan Preece. For his NXS debut with Joe Gibbs Racing and finishing second, that’s pretty impressive.”
Busch led the field to the green flag but faded back to third as Keselowski took command of the lead. Then with 30 laps remaining in the opening stage, weather once again was a factor and the race was red flagged for an hour. When racing resumed, most of the front runners came to pit road for fuel and fresh tires. NXS regular, Justin Allgaier and teammate Elliott Sadler stayed out to take command of the front row on the restart. The old tires were no match however, as Kyle Larson made a run from eleventh to the race lead in less than 10 laps. Larson went on to win the opening stage.
In stage two, Keselowksi flexed his muscle as he led wire to wire to win the second stage. Allgaier suffered issues and went to the garage and returned 26 laps down and out of contention for the race victory.
In the final 110 laps, it appeared to be a Keselowski victory all but in sight until the final stop. When he left the pit box with the gas can still attatched to the car. He was forced to make a stop and go penalty. This opened the door for Busch to take command of the top spot once again and bring teammate Ryan Preece into the second position where he would ultimately finish.
Preece is no stranger to the New England track as he won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series, All-Star race on Friday afternoon and topped it off with a second place finish earlier in the morning on Saturday.
“This is something I dreamed about.” Preece said. “I didn’t know how the day was going to go, I had a limited time in practice and qualified sixth, I was a little disappointed in myself. I told Chris before the race started, that I usually get better in the race. Obviously he made a great call there to take two tires instead of four. Man, this one is for all the short track guys out there that might not ever get the opportunity. I work hard, week in and week out with the modifieds. So, to be able to have this opportunity means a lot to me.”
“I don’t take back what I did last year. It was great, people still don’t even know that I ran full-time, but I got laps and that’s what you need sometimes. I have been doing this all my life, all I needed was the right opportunity and Joe Gibbs came to me. Congratulations to Kyle, my teammate, that’s pretty cool to say. I’m really happy that we finished second, now I look forward to Iowa and be as prepared as I can.”
After winning back to back races, William Byron finishes in the third position. Larson and Keselowski round out the rest of the top-five.
Ben Kennedy, Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, Cole Custer and Brennan Poole complete the rest of the top-10.
The next action for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is the Lilly Diabetes 250 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (NBCSN, Sirius XM).