Kyle Busch holds off Ryan Blaney for Xfinity win at Kentucky
Time was on Kyle Busch’s side on Saturday.
Busch won Saturday’s rain-delayed Alsco 300 after starting on the pole but he had to hold off a rocket in Ryan Blaney, who rallied back from a pit road penalty to finish second.
The win at Kentucky Speedway was Busch’s second in NASCAR Xfinity Series in five starts this season, the 88th of his career and third at the track.
Busch will attempt to double-up his performance, as he starts Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky from the pole as well.
Busch’s victory burnout left rubber literally burning on the track once he was finished.
“It’s certainly nice to get to Victory Lane anytime you can,” Busch said in Victory Lane. “It’s been a heck of a year on the bad front for us, but certainly nice to have this as a little bit of a turnaround.
“It’s fun to have the opportunity to run in this series. I enjoy it. I like running as much as I can, it just gets me a little bit better for the night time.”
Erik Jones finished third, Kevin Harvick was fourth and Ty Dillon completed the top-five. William Byron (seventh) was the highest finishing Xfinity Series regular.
Ray Black Jr.’s spin in Turn 2 brought out a caution on Lap 167 of 200 and Busch and Harvick remained on the track while the rest of the lead-lap cars – including Blaney – elected to pit.
Blaney’s team, however, was penalized for a tire violation and on the restart on Lap 173 he started 23rd. He took the runner-up position on the final lap.
“We had to work hard to get back up there at the end,” Blaney said. “I thought we had the best car by the end (of the race). We really debated on whether to pit on that caution.
“I wish it was 202 laps – that would have been nice. It’s something to build off because we know we did have the fastest car.”
Blaney led every green-flag lap in the second 45-lap segment on his way to the Stage 2 victory.
Busch remained behind Blaney much of the time but Jones – who won Stage 1 – moved into second with about 15 laps remaining in the Stage but could never get in position for a pass for the lead.
Blaney also completed the entire Stage on tires he had put in during Stage 1, which showed new tires did not necessarily make a tremendous difference.
Busch finished third, Harvick was fourth and Paul Menard completed the top-five.
Ryan Reed, who was among those who were caught up in the Lap 1 wreck, retired from the race due to overheating issues.
“We just got KO’d on Lap 1 there. They brought us down really slow and took off and stopped again,” Reed said of the initial start of the race. “I saw those guys check up and I laid off (Blake Koch) and whoever was behind me came with a full head of steam and picked my rear tires up and shoved us into (Koch).”
Jones dominated much of the first 45-lap segment and had little trouble holding off Busch to take the Stage victory. He led 40 laps while Busch led the other five.
“It’s been good for us so far, we’ve been up front most of the time,” Jones said during the Stage break. “I don’t know what (new) tires are going to be worth, but they seem to fall off with the heat.”
Joey Logano finished third, Menard was fourth and Tyler Reddick completed the top-five.
Not every car had yet taken the green flag to start the race before the first wreck began. Several cars in the mid-pack slowed up, which triggered a chain reaction that went through the field.
Four drivers ended up involved in the incident – Brendan Gaughan, Brandon Jones, Koch and Reed. Gaughan, Jones and Reed all received significant damage in the accident.
“Just a prime example of why you don’t start in the back,” Jones said after the accident. “If anyone says qualifying doesn’t matter, it does matter.”
|21||48||Brennan Poole||Chevrolet||199||1 lap|
|22||51||Jeremy Clements||Chevrolet||199||1 lap|
|23||11||Blake Koch||Chevrolet||199||1 lap|
|24||8||B.J. McLeod||Chevrolet||198||2 laps|
|25||14||J.J. Yeley||Toyota||197||3 laps|
|26||0||Garrett Smithley||Chevrolet||196||4 laps|
|27||07||Ray Black Jr.||Chevrolet||195||5 laps|
|28||01||Harrison Rhodes||Chevrolet||195||5 laps|
|29||40||Chad Finchum||Chevrolet||194||6 laps|
|30||78||Angela Ruch||Chevrolet||192||8 laps|
|31||99||David Starr||Chevrolet||188||12 laps|
|32||96||Ben Kennedy||Chevrolet||178||22 laps|
|33||52||Joey Gase||Chevrolet||125||75 laps|
|34||2||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||102||98 laps|
|35||74||Mike Harmon||Dodge||58||142 laps|
|36||16||Ryan Reed||Ford||55||145 laps|
|37||93||Jeff Green||Chevrolet||53||147 laps|
|38||13||Timmy Hill||Toyota||31||169 laps|
|39||62||Brendan Gaughan||Chevrolet||6||194 laps|
|40||33||Brandon Jones||Chevrolet||0||200 laps |
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