Joe Gibbs Racing put on a show in the closing laps of the Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300.
In the final 25 circuits, Sprint Cup regulars Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth battled for the point with the No. 54 Monster Camry coming out on top.
I was nervous a little bit at how big the hole was and if we could get it repaired and how good the repair would have been. (The team) did a great job
Kyle Busch on mid-race damage sustained
Although Busch expected to sail off to the finish, the No. 52 Chevy of Joey Gase blew up in Turn 2 with five laps remaining in the Xfinity Series contest to ignite the eighth and final caution.
Busch vs. Kenseth
When the race went green, Busch held the lead in overtime to score his 75th career NXS win and his third victory at Kansas Speedway.
“My tongue was hanging out man, I can’t imagine what Matt felt like,” Busch said. “He was driving way harder than I was. When you have two really good race cars like that, you just better bring them home without tearing something up.
“He raced me really, really hard on the straightaways and through the corner my car was really good in the middle part of the race track and Matt, I could see him and he was trying to move around, he just couldn’t really find anything that would tighten up his car enough to be able to put the gas down and I had plenty of that.”
Kenseth, who led 148 laps, finished second. Joey Logano, Ty Dillon and Regan Smith rounded out the top-five finishers. For Kenseth, it was his fourth-consecutive second-place finish in the Xfinity Series this season.
Buescher maintains advantage in championship
Despite finishing fourth and picking up two points on NXS points leader Chris Buescher, Dillon, the top Xfinity regular, was frustrated his result wasn't better.
“It was a hard fought battle,” Dillon said. “I just couldn't get track position.”
Buescher finished sixth — one position ahead of Chase Elliott, to extend his lead by 27 points over the defending champion. Buescher’s issues started on the first lap of the race when the No. 60 Ford was sandwiched between Smith and Dillon. He recovered from a speeding penalty during the second caution and was forced to start from the rear of the field in 14th on Lap 49 and quickly returned to the top 10 after starting the race second.
Still, Buescher acknowledged committing mistakes throughout the race.
“I’ve got a couple of thing I’ve got to clean up on my end,” Buescher said. “The pit road speeding penalty was not helping anything, so trying to make up that and then stalled it once leaving pit road and all those are things I’ve got to do better with. But the guys did a nice job. The car was pretty good all day. We were a top-five car and just had to use up a lot to try and get back up there and was not looking for that last yellow.
“We just got too free there at the end. I think (Busch) got his car better and I just couldn’t hold on,” Kenseth said. "We were really loose. I fought as hard as I could, but he got by me. It was a heck of a recovery – I’m still trying to figure out how he went from eighth on the restart and out of turn two in second. I have no idea how he did that. At the end of the day, he beat us.”
On Lap 199, while running under yellow, Brian Scott’s car ran out of fuel — on what would have been the final circuit. Kevin Harvick came to pit road for a splash of fuel to avoid the same fate. The drivers finished 23rd and 15th, respectively. Daniel Suarez, who is currently seventh in the standings, restarted fourth but also ran out of fuel coming to the white flag. He finished ninth.
Busch fights back from minor setback
Busch’s race was not without incident. The No. 54 Toyota received a speeding penalty on Lap 82. On Lap 148, he hit debris on the frontstretch from a wreck involving Jennifer Jo Cobb and Korbin Forrister and damaged the right front of his car.
Despite restarting seventh on Lap 155, it didn’t take Busch long to carve through traffic and contend for the win.
“I was nervous a little bit at how big the hole was and if we could get it repaired and how good the repair would have been,” said Busch, who led 56 of 204 laps. “(The team) did a great job there at putting it back together for me and getting a good patch on there. Restarting seventh I was like, ‘Man, we just threw it away,’ I didn’t think we were going to be able to come from that far back, but we got a really good restart and the outside lane didn’t and I got up to the outside getting into turn one there and then that was pretty much our race.
“We were really running really, really hard and this place is so, so fast for the Xfinity cars, you’re barely out of the gas if at all any. Those last two laps there at the end of the race with that green-white-checkered finish, I was wide open the whole time. I was just praying it was going to stick and it was going to be good enough to win.”