Kyle Busch Captures 88th NASCAR XFINITY Series Victory In Kentucky On Saturdayby Hunter Thomas July 8, 2017
SPARTA, Ky. – Kyle Busch captured his 88th career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory after he held off Ryan Blaney in the Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Busch started on the pole in his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Rowdy Toyota. Throughout the day, he led on three occasions for 70 laps. The victory marks his second of the season and his third at Kentucky Speedway.
“That’s what racing is all about, these guys keep getting better and we just bide our time a little bit as well today,” Busch said. “We did what we needed to do to be there at the end and gave it our best opportunity there. We took four tires and that kind of got us behind there with two pit stops to go and then some of those guys came in again. Obviously our car was really fast out front and once I got in clean air I didn’t think anybody had anything for us.”
Busch’s day still isn’t over. He will start one the pole in tonight’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts.
Finishing second was Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney. The runner-up finish was quite an impressive effort, because the driver of the No. 12 Snap-On Ford overcame a penalty for outside half of the pit box tire violation/team member not in contact with the outside tires on lap 168 during the eighth and final caution. Blaney has now finished inside the top-10 in seven of his eight series starts at the speedway.
Erik Jones led a race high of 77 laps in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Reser’s American Classic Toyota, but he crossed the finish line in the third position.
“He (Kyle Busch) had almost 30 laps better than us is what it was,” Jones said. “We put on two tires those last couple stops and it just wasn’t good enough. Lefts just mattered more than what we thought and we couldn’t really hang on. We saw the 12 (Ryan Blaney) come back through the field with better lefts than everybody and just drove by everyone. Just need to get a little bit better and hopefully get the Reser’s Camry to victory lane again.”
Kevin Harvick finished fourth, followed by Ty Dillon in fifth.
Rounding out the top-10 on Saturday afternoon was Joey Logano, William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick.
The 16th NASCAR XFINITY Series race of the season was supposed to have been run on Friday night at Kentucky Speedway, but Mother Nature had other plans as rain fell and soaked the track.
During the 200-lap race, there were seven lead changes among four drivers. There were also eight cautions for 44 laps.
Only one caution throughout the afternoon was for a multi-car accident, and it came on the race’s initial green flag. The field stacked up on the start of the race and drivers, Blake Koch, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones and Brendan Gaughan piled up on the frotnstretch.
“These past few weeks have been really trying, but our team never gives up,” said Koch after finishing 23rd. “We can’t dwell on our bad luck and have to just keep making ourselves better and working on what we can control. I’m so proud to be a part of Kaulig Racing and have the best team in the garage. We will hold our heads up as we move on to Loudon next week.”
The bizarre accident immediately ended Jones’ day. Gaughan’s crew attempted to fix his car, but he crashed hard into the outside wall, ending his day on lap 6.
Elliott Sadler currently leads his JR Motorsports teammate, William Byron by 45 points in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings.
Up next on the schedule for the series is the Overton’s 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 15. The NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) will broadcast the race live at 4 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images