Kyle Busch wins Xfinity race at Kansas Speedway
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) Kyle Busch reached two milestones Saturday in his NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Kansas Speedway.
Busch edged Matt Kenseth for his record-extending 75th Xfinity win and became the first driver to win four NASCAR races at the track. He also won Xfinity races in 2007 and 2014 and a Truck Series event in 2014.
”This place is so fast,” Busch said ”It’s hard to pass for the lead. There’s so much speed on the top side of the race track. It’s a true testament to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and what kind of equipment these guys put out and how much fun it is to drive, and the results we get.”
After teammate Kenseth led the first 117 laps and 148 in all in the 204-lap race, Busch grabbed the lead for good in his Toyota with 15 laps to go en route to his fifth victory in 12 starts this year. He beat Kenseth by 0.607 seconds.
Joey Logano was third, followed by Ty Dillon, Regan Smith, points leader Chris Buescher and Chase Elliott. Buescher tacked one point onto his advantage and leads defending series champion Chase Elliott by 27 points with three races to go.
Busch appeared to have seized control on the 147th lap, but during a caution, he ran into debris that damaged the right front and dropped him back into the field. When the racing resumed, Busch returned to contention and rode Kenseth’s bumper before taking the lead.
”I was nervous a little bit, how big a hole it was and if we could get it repaired and how good the repair would be,” Busch said. ”The guys did a great job there at putting it back together for me and getting a good patch on there. Re-starting seventh, I thought, `Man, we just threw it away.’ I didn’t think we were going to be able to come back from that far back. But we got a really good re-start on the outside lane didn’t, and I just chased down Matt after that.”
Another caution with four laps to go extended the race to a green-white-checkered finish.
”My tongue was hanging out,” Busch of the frenetic finish. ”I can’t imagine what Matt felt like. He was driving way harder than I was. When you have two really good race cars like that, you just need to bring them home.
”Joe (Gibbs) might get mad at us tearing something up. He raced me really, really hard and was on my door down the straightaways and through the corner, and my car was really good in the middle of the race track.”
Kenseth, a Sprint Cup regular, was making his fifth Xfinity start of the season and likely last one of his career. He finished second for the fourth straight time.
”I thought most of the day we had the best car, and at the end we got too loose,” Kenseth said. I’m still trying to figure out how Kyle went from seventh on the re-start and to second I have no idea how he did that. At the end of the day, he beat us.”
While Busch was happy to win his 75th Xfinity race and fourth race at Kansas, he’s more concerned with winning Sunday’s Sprint Cup race and qualifying for the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
”To me, I’m supposed to win trucks races and Xfinity races; that’s what I do,” said Busch, who has 152 career wins over all three national series – 75 Xfinity, 33 Sprint Cup and 44 Ttruck. ”But Sunday is a big day to showcase our ability to get a win at this race track, let alone to put us through to the next round of the Chase.”