FORT WORTH, Tex. - Kyle Busch moved one win closer to a Lone Star sweep with his victory this afternoon in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, the My Bariatric Solutions 300.
While his car wasn’t the class of the field on Saturday, Busch executed a perfect launch on the final restart to take the lead. Over the final eight laps, Busch held off Tyler Reddick to secure his ninth NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Texas Motor Speedway and the 95th of his series career.
“This Toyota Supra was awesome today,” Busch said. “It was really fast on the long run I could just never get people away from me on the front side of the run to get settled into my rhythm and be able to go. Every time I got to the outside, people would just drive by me on the bottom. Then when I’d get to the inside, somebody would bust it on the outside on me and make me loose.
“We were just all over the place today. Certainly a fast race car once I could get rolling. Christopher Bell ran a great race, he should have won this thing today.”
Bell, who finished third, led a race-high 128 laps. But the “fuel only” decision by crew chief Ben Beshore on the final pit stop afforded the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra to the lead for the last run. Busch extended his advantage over Reddick by .861-seconds at the finish line.
“Not taking any tires was certainly a help,” Busch said. “We jumped the field there and I was worried about the restart because I didn’t think there was going to be enough grip, but the car certainly had enough grip in it.”
Chase Briscoe, Jeb Burton, Michael Annett, Justin Haley, Jeffrey Earnhardt, John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Sieg rounded out the top 10.
Bell ran flag-to-flag in the first stage to score his fourth stage win of 2019. However, he was busted for speeding on pit road during his pit stop. Bell wasn’t the only JGR driver with a penalty. Brandon Jones left his pits with a jack still underneath the No. 19 Toyota Supra. Both drivers dropped to the rear of the field for the lap 54 restart.
The second stage was slowed by two cautions in the early laps. Tyler Hill and David Starr collided on lap 57. Before the drivers were up to full speed, Justin Haley’s car became loose and he slid into Brad Keselowski.
“Frustrating day,” Keselowski said after he was released from the infield care center. The 2010 Xfinity Series champion finished 35th.
Gragson took the lead from Busch on the lap 71 restart. Ray Black, Jr., went for a wild ride when he spun backward into the turn 2 wall on lap 79. Five laps later, the leaders pitted with just six laps remaining in the stage.
Ryan Sieg remained on the track and assumed the lead. Ross Chastain and Haley lined up second and third. Busch, the first car off of pit road, restarted fourth on lap 87. Sieg held on for the first stage win of his career followed by Chastain, Reddick, Busch and Bell.
Reddick restarted on the point, but the Joe Gibbs Racing tandem of Bell and Busch teamed up on the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Bell returned to the lead on lap 99. He held the position for 28 laps until Allgaier, who was battling the lapped vehicle of Gray Gaulding and Cole Custer for sixth, entered the spin cycle. The No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro went for a ride through the front stretch grass before a trip to pit road.
Reddick exited the pits with the lead. Bell, Busch, Jones and Custer lined up for the lap 131 restart. As the field completed the first lap and rolled into turn 2, Jones and Custer collided to trigger the eight caution of the day. Entering Texas, Custer and Jones were second and fourth, respectively in the standings. They were scored 32nd and 33rd.
Bell and Reddick battled for the next 15 laps until the No. 20. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra finally checked out. The final 20 laps became an exercise in fuel management before Jeremy Clements ran out of fuel on pit road to bring out the ninth and final caution.
Bell led the field onto pit lane but when the No. 20 team opted for tires, Busch exited the pit with the lead.
“I was starting to struggle on that long run,” Bell said. “It was frustrating to be beat by guys with no tires, but that’s just how it goes at Texas.
Busch nailed the restart and sailed off to a .824-second lead after taking the white flag. He easily held off Reddick for his third Xfinity win of the season and his ninth victory across NASCAR’s top three series this season.
While Busch has swept the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck, Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races before at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2010 and 2017, he’s never pulled off the feat at Texas.
“Excited for my group to bring home a win for Joe Gibbs Racing,” Busch said. “I look forward to hopefully getting another one tomorrow.”
Reddick retained the lead in the Xfinity Series standings by 12 points over Bell.
“He wasn’t better anywhere, he just had track position,” Reddick said of Busch. “I want to beat him one of these days. We’re getting there. Every time I race against Kyle, it makes me a better driver.”
Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe and Michael Annett are qualified for the Dash 4 Cash program starting next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. All four drivers will have a chance to compete for the $100,000 bonus.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Texas Motor Speedway – Fort Worth, TX
My Bariatric Solutions 300 – March 30, 2019
1. (5) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 200.
2. (3) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 200.
3. (1) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 200.
4. (15) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 200.
5. (6) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 200.
6. (13) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 200.
7. (11) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 200.
8. (14) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 200.
9. (8) John Hunter Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 200.
10. (19) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200.
11. (9) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 200.
12. (4) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200.
13. (16) Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 200.
14. (22) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 200.
15. (23) Ronnie Bassett, Jr, Chevrolet, 199.
16. (18) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 199.
17. (21) Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 199.
18. (12) Kaz Grala, Chevrolet, 198.
19. (24) Tommy Joe Martins, Toyota, 198.
20. (31) David Starr, Chevrolet, 198.
21. (20) Gray Gaulding(i), Chevrolet, 198.
22. (30) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, 198.
23. (35) Chad Finchum, Toyota, 197.
24. (37) Joey Gase, Toyota, 196.
25. (34) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 196.
26. (17) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 196.
27. (29) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 194.
28. (33) Tyler Hill(i), Toyota, 191.
29. (36) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, 189.
30. (26) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 184.
31. (38) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, Engine, 160.
32. (28) B.J. McLeod, Chevrolet, 138.
33. (2) Brandon Jones, Toyota, Accident, 133.
34. (7) Cole Custer, Ford, Accident, 132.
35. (25) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, Accident, 79.
36. (10) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, Accident, 68.
37. (32) Timmy Hill, Toyota, Brakes, 20.
38. (27) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Brakes, 16.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 118.356 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 32 Mins, 5 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.861 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 9 for 50 laps.
Lead Changes: 11 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Bell 1-47;K. Busch(i) 48-70;N. Gragson # 71-83;K. Busch(i) 84;R. Sieg 85-92;T. Reddick 93-98;C. Bell 99-128;T. Reddick 129-139;C. Bell 140-150;T. Reddick 151-152;C. Bell 153-191;K. Busch(i) 192-200.
Leaders Summary: (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led) Christopher Bell 4 times for 127 laps; Kyle Busch(i) 3 times for 33 laps; Tyler Reddick 3 times for 19 laps; Noah Gragson # 1 time for 13 laps; Ryan Sieg 1 time for 8 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 20,18,7,00,19,2,22,12,23,9
Stage #2 Top Ten: 39,4,2,18,20,9,8,00,11,19
Top 10 in Points: 1. Tyler Reddick – 268; 2. Christopher Bell – 256 (1 Win); 3. Cole Custer – 226 (1 Win); 4. Michael Annett – 209 (1 Win); 5. Austin Cindric – 209; 6. Justin Allgaier – 204; 7. Brandon Jones – 194; 8. Noah Gragson – 191; 9. Ryan Sieg – 190; 10.John Hunter Nemechek – 179.