Kyle Busch beats Keselowski for Phoenix win in chaotic race

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Kyle Busch beats Keselowski for Phoenix win in chaotic race
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Nov 11, 2018, 11:16 PM

Kyle Busch added another victory to his impressive season and Kevin Harvick survived to make the Championship 4.

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Busch Light, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Parts

Busch held off a furious challenge from Brad Keselowski to win Sunday’s Can-AM 500 at ISM Raceway, picking up his eighth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, tying him for the series lead with Kevin Harvick.

The win is the 51st of Busch’s career and his second at Phoenix.

“It’s an awesome team and awesome group of guys. Can’t say enough about everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing," Busch said in Victory Lane. "All the men and women there that work so hard to prepare such great race cars that I get to drive. 

"This is a sport that everybody loves to come out and participate in and be a part of whether it’s the military, whether it’s the fans that support the military – it’s awesome to have all that here in NASCAR."
 
Asked if the win Sunday gives him momentum next week at Homestead, Busch said, "I’d like to think it gives us a lot, but I don’t know – talk is cheap. We’ve got to be able to go out there and perform and just do what we need to do. Being able to do what we did here today was certainly beneficial. 
 
"I didn’t think we were the best car, but we survived and we did what we needed to do today. It’s just about getting to next week and once we were locked in, it was ‘all  bets are off and it’s time to go.' "

Kyle Larson ended up third, Aric Almirola fourth and Harvick completed the top-five.

With the win, Busch locked himself into the Championship 4 next weekend at Homestead, Fla., where he will join Joey Logano (who won at Martinsville, Va.), reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. and Harvick (who both advance by points).

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Following the break between stages 2 and 3, Kyle Busch elected to remain on the track and stayed in the lead on the restart on Lap 159.

Stage 3

He was followed by Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth. Elliott lined up fifth, the first driver who stopped for new tires.

With 120 laps left in the race, Kyle Busch kept a small advantage over Keselowski, followed by Blaney, Hamlin and Chase Elliott.

On Lap 198, Elliott passed Ryan Blaney to move into the third position.

With 100 laps to go, Kyle Busch continued to hold a small lead over Keselowski. Elliott was in third, Blaney was fourth and Hamlin fifth. Harvick was seventh and Kurt Busch remained one lap down.

On Lap 220, Kyle Busch put Darrell Wallace Jr. a lap down, which knocked Kurt Busch out of the free pass position.

Hamlin was forced to pit road for a green-flag pit stop on Lap 222 after cutting a tire.

With 88 to go, Elliott moved to the inside of Kyle Busch and reclaimed the lead.

On Lap 229, Tanner Berryhill spun to bring out a caution as several drivers had already began a round of green-flag pit stops.

During the stops, Elliott was penalized for speeding on pit road, sending him to the rear of the field on the restart.

On the restart with 77 laps to go, Keselowski led the way followed by Blaney, Truex, William Byron and Ryan Newman.

Shortly after the restart, Blaney fell off the pace and dropped back through the field.

On Lap 239, Harvick got into the back of David Ragan, who was running two laps down, and sent him for a spin to bring out a caution. Kyle Busch appeared to get some damage in that incident and pit to make repairs.

On the restart with 68 to go, Keselowski led the way, followed by Truex, Jones and Byron.

With 60 to go, Keselowski remained out front while Kurt Busch (sixth) and Harvick (seventh) raced for the final spot in the Championship 4.

On Lap 264, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed into the Turn 2 wall and a fire briefly broke out in the rear of his No. 17 Ford. The wreck also spilled oil on the banking, which brought out a red flag to clean the track of debris.

Erik Jones, Kurt Busch and Hamlin elected to remain on the track and led the way when the race returned to green with 44 laps to go. Harvick restarted in sixth, Elliott in seventh and Truex in 10th.

On the restart, Hamlin drifted up the track while racing for the lead and slammed into Kurt Busch, knocking him into the wall. Busch’s No. 41 Ford then came back down the track and into Elliott, doing extensive damage to his No. 9 Chevrolet.

“I’m really sorry guys, I didn’t get the job done,” Busch said of his team radio.

On the restart with 37 to go, Jones led the way followed by Kyle Busch and Harvick. Kyle Busch reclaimed the lead shortly after the restart.

With 30 to go, Harvick moved into third as Almirola ran in fourth.

On Lap 287, Alex Bowman spun and hit the wall in Turn 1 to bring out another caution. A fire briefly broke out in Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet and he dropped oil all over the track, which required another red flag.

When the race returned to green with 20 to go, Kyle Busch led the way followed by Harvick, Almirola and Truex. Almirola moved into second shortly after the restart.

Yet another caution bunched up the field when Berryhill wrecked on Lap 296. On the restart with 12 to go, Kyle Busch led the way, followed by Almirola, Harvick and Keselowski.

With nine laps to go, Kyle Busch held a big lead after Keselowski moved into second.

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Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Laps Led
1 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 312   117
2 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 312 0.501 32
3 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 312 2.287  
4 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 312 2.884  
5 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 312 4.573 73
6 1 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 312 5.220  
7 6 United States Matt Kenseth  Ford 312 7.077  
8 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 312 7.776  
9 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 312 8.474  
10 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 312 8.739  
11 31 United States Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 312 9.142  
12 47 United States A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 312 9.389  
13 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 312 10.749  
14 78 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 312 11.140 8
15 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 312 17.819  
16 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 311 1 lap  
17 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 310 2 laps 11
18 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 310 2 laps  
19 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 310 2 laps  
20 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 310 2 laps  
21 32 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 310 2 laps  
22 95 United States Regan Smith  Chevrolet 310 2 laps  
23 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 309 3 laps 16
24 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 309 3 laps  
25 72 United States Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 309 3 laps  
26 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 308 4 laps  
27 7 Canada D.J. Kennington  Chevrolet 306 6 laps  
28 51 Cody Ware  Ford 306 6 laps  
29 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 303 9 laps  
30 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 285 27 laps  
31 97 Tanner Berryhill  Toyota 283 29 laps  
32 41 United States Kurt Busch  Ford 272 40 laps 52
33 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 262 50 laps  
34 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 237 75 laps 3
35 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 133 179 laps  
36 19 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 96 216 laps  
37 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 95 217 laps  
38 23 United States J.J. Yeley  Toyota 88 224 laps  
39 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 40 272 laps  
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Phoenix II
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter