Kyle Busch scores 90th career Xfinity win at Watkins Glen
Surprisingly enough, it is still possible for Kyle Busch to reach new milestones in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Busch held off a fast-approaching Joey Logano in a three-lap dash to win Saturday’s Zippo 200 and earn his first series victory at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
The win is Busch’s fourth of the season and 90th of his career but his previous best finish at the Glen was second on three occasions.
Brad Keselowski finished third, Justin Allgaier was fourth and Paul Menard ended up fifth.
“Just finally being able to win here at Watkins Glen in the Xfinity Series is box we’ve been wanting to check off for a long, long time,” Busch said after the race. “It feels good. It feels good in front of this crowd here at Watkins Glen.
“The fans here really support their race track and their races. It’s fun to see. Tomorrow, I hear (the Cup race) is a sellout. That’s awesome. Congratulations to the staff here at the track.”
Busch’s victory didn’t come easily.
Busch spun out while leading the race on Lap 6 and lost several positions. He also was penalized during a pit stop for driving through too many pit stalls.
“I tried to screw it up a couple times but thankfully I was able to drive back up there and the pit strategy worked to our advantage,” Busch said.
Logano had won the previous two Xfinity races at the Glen from the pole. He won the pole earlier Saturday and was trying to become the first series driver to win three consecutive races at the Glen from the pole.
With six of 82 laps remaining, Casey Mears stalled on the track and NASCAR displayed the caution flag, erasing a sizable lead Busch had built up.
The race restarted with three to go, with Busch leading the way, followed by Keselowski, Logano, Erik Jones and Menard.
Menard, who led a significant part of the race, drove the final two dozen laps of the race with what he believed to be a broken right-front shock.
Menard survived a two-lap shootout to end the second 20-lap segment and held off Logano to claim the Stage 2 victory.
An extended caution for oil dropped on the track by the No. 78 Chevrolet of Stephen Young set up the late Stage restart.
Keselowski finished third, Busch rallied from a pit road penalty (driving through too many stalls) to finish fourth and Elliott Sadler completed the top five.
Menard moved into the lead on Lap 25, passing his Richard Childress Racing teammate Daniel Hemric, who had elected not to pit under the Stage break.
The second Stage began with Kevin Harvick wheel-hopping into Turn 1 and sliding into his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Cole Custer, who also went for a spin. Both drivers were able to rejoin the race as no caution was displayed, but well back in the field.
J.J. Yeley’s blown engine forced the first 20-lap segment to end under caution with Keselowski claiming the Stage victory over Logano.
Yeley’s No. 14 came to a rest in Turn 7 and there was not enough time to extricate his car and restart the stage.
“Car is pretty good, just driving the best I can, and hardest I can,” Keselowski said during the break. “You have to be really careful with how hard you push it. We have a long ways to go.”
Busch, who led most of the first Stage until he spun out while leading with six laps left in the segment, finished third. Jones finished fourth and Allgaier completed the top-five.
During the round of pit stops at the conclusion of the Stage, Busch was penalized for driving through too many pit stalls and was forced to start Stage 2 from the rear of the field.
Kyle Larson’s race came to an early end after he was forced to the garage on Lap 12 with smoke coming from under the hood of his No. 42 Chevrolet.
Spencer Gallagher brought out the first caution as he wrecked on the exit of Turn 7 on Lap 4. He took his No. 23 Chevrolet to the garage and eventually returned to the race, 13 laps down.
Busch’s victory elevated Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity Series wins total to 139, surpassing Roush Fenway Racing for the all-time record on the tour.
|18||1||Elliott Sadler||Chevrolet||81||1 lap|
|19||4||Ross Chastain||Chevrolet||81||1 lap|
|20||24||Dylan Lupton||Toyota||81||1 lap|
|21||28||Dakoda Armstrong||Toyota||81||1 lap|
|22||11||Blake Koch||Chevrolet||81||1 lap|
|23||01||Harrison Rhodes||Chevrolet||81||1 lap|
|24||0||Garrett Smithley||Chevrolet||81||1 lap|
|25||98||Casey Mears||Ford||80||2 laps|
|26||07||Devin Jones||Chevrolet||80||2 laps|
|27||39||Ryan Sieg||Chevrolet||80||2 laps|
|28||8||Josh Bilicki||Chevrolet||79||3 laps|
|29||52||Joey Gase||Chevrolet||79||3 laps|
|30||99||David Starr||Chevrolet||79||3 laps|
|31||40||Enrique Baca||Dodge||78||4 laps|
|32||23||Spencer Gallagher||Chevrolet||67||15 laps|
|33||90||Brian Henderson||Chevrolet||59||23 laps|
|34||74||Cody Ware||Dodge||52||30 laps|
|35||51||Jeremy Clements||Chevrolet||36||46 laps|
|36||78||Steven Young||Chevrolet||33||49 laps|
|37||13||Timmy Hill||Dodge||27||55 laps|
|38||93||Jeff Green||Chevrolet||26||56 laps|
|39||14||J.J. Yeley||Toyota||16||66 laps|
|40||42||Kyle Larson||Chevrolet||12||70 laps |
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