Busch wins Kentucky Xfinity race, adds another race to his schedule
A costly mistake by Erik Jones helped Kyle Busch to his fifth NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in nine starts this season.
Busch dominated much of the race, but when a caution was displayed with 26 of 200 laps remaining in Friday night’s Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway, Jones had just completed a pass for the lead.
While the race was under caution, Jones suddenly slowed as the second and third-place cars continued on without him. NASCAR penalized him for failure to maintain caution speed, putting him in third and Busch moved back into the lead on the restart with 21 laps to go.
Busch has one last hiccup – he had to hold off a furious charge from Austin Dillon on a two-lap overtime to clinch the win.
“It was a great effort for this team and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Busch said in Victory Lane. “I want to thank the fans out here and the ones watching on TV. (The track) was repaved and it probably wasn’t one of the best races from a visual perspective.
“A couple of odd thing definitely happened there at the end. Jones got me on that restart and then he dropped back (under caution) when his motor wouldn’t re-fire.”
Busch said the final restart, where Dillon used a three-wide move to move into second, was dicey.
“I heard ‘three-wide’ for a second and I didn’t know how we would all get through there,” Busch said. “I tried to give him a little bit of room there before I turned down. It was exciting from my vantage point.”
Daniel Suarez finished third, Jones ended up fourth and Darrell Wallace Jr. was fifth – for his third top-five finish of the season.
“I made a really good run through (Turns) 1 and 2 and I didn’t think he could he hold the outside like that. In (Turns) 3 and 4 he did a heck of a job holding me down there,” Dillon said. “I didn’t race him dirty. I should have held it wide open and went through there.”
Jones said he wasn’t sure why he was penalized by NASCAR and would seek some clarification after the race.
“I fell back and apparently it was too far. I wasn’t more than 20 or 30 feet behind the pace car but I guess that was too much,” Jones said. “I’d like to learn more than that. It’s unfortunate. We had a good (car) and one that could have won the race.
“Just a really unfortunate night. I just wish it would have worked out better.”
Busch adds a race to schedule
Also Friday night, JGR officials confirmed Busch will drive JGR’s No. 18 Toyota in next weekend’s race in place of Matt Tifft, who continues to recover from brain surgery.
Tifft, 20, had surgery last week to remove a slow-growing tumor. He is awaiting pathology reports before doctors can determine when can return to the race track.
Tifft was scheduled to compete in 13 Xfinity races for JGR this season. His next scheduled race after New Hampshire is July 30 at Iowa.
Busch, the all-time series wins leader (81), has four series wins at New Hampshire, most recently in 2013.
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