LAS VEGAS – It took successful a gamble, a serendipitous caution and a couple of overtimes for Las Vegas native Kyle Busch to win a second NASCAR Xfinity Series race on his home track, but Busch beat the odds in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300.
A lap down at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel, Busch rallied to win his 93rd Xfinity race, extending his series record and bringing his victory total across NASCAR’s three national series to 197.
Having also won Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event, Busch will now go for the third three-race weekend sweep of his career in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race (12:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
After a wreck in the first overtime ruined the chances of reigning champion Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric and Zane Smith, Busch held off John Hunter Nemechek in the second overtime, clearing the No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet off
But it was an early caution in the second stage of the race that put Busch in position to win. Busch had come to pit road with the loose wheel on lap 15 and lost a lap to the frontrunning cars. At the end of Stage 1, won by Cole Custer, Busch’s crew chief, Ben Beshore, took a gamble in keeping the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on the track under caution for the stage break.
Busch returned to the lead lap with a wave-around but had to fight through traffic on old tires. A caution on lap 59, however, gave Busch the opportunity he needed to pit for tires, and after restarting 17th on lap 63, Busch charged to third by the end of the stage on lap 90.
Passing Reddick for the lead on lap 111, Busch was out front for a total of 98 laps, as the race went 13 laps beyond its scheduled distance.
“It was really tough to come back from one of those setbacks. I wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to do it down a set of tires. We got a lucky break with
a cautionduring the second stage.
“That kind of got us back on cycle, and we were able to put the first set (of tires) back on with fresh wheels so we didn’t have any more issues there.
With Bell winning last week at Atlanta, the new Toyota Supras have won two straight races.
“It’s cool to be able to back up Christopher’s win last week and get the Supra back in Victory Lane with me,” said Busch, who won in his first of seven Xfinity starts this season. “I wanted to be the first one, but he had to show me up a little bit last week.”Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing
Busch is the only driver to sweep three national-series events in the same weekend, a feat he accomplished twice at Bristol, in 2010 and 2017. But a sweep at his home track would be all the more meaningful.
“I thought this was going to be the toughest of the three (races
),because we could never get the balance right. I was either way too tight or way too loose. I could never find a happy medium.
“Overall, I feel like our Cup car is pretty good. The car has some speed. We ran a lot out there in the pack and in traffic, and it’s going to be an interesting race (on Sunday). Make sure everybody tunes in.”Kyle Busch –
Las Vegas native Noah Gragson ran third, followed by Austin Dillon and Daytona winner Michael Annett.
Ryan Sieg, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, Custer and Justin Haley completed the top-ten.
Nemechek ran side-by-side with Busch but couldn’t keep up off turn four on the penultimate lap.
“We gave him a run for his money. I’ve been beaten by Kyle too many times, in late model races and now in the Xfinity Series. Hopefully, we can come out on top and build momentum off of this.”John Hunter NEmecheck, driver of the No. 23 for GMS Racing
Bell grabbed the lead from Busch on lap 181 but brushed the outside wall soon thereafter, and Busch regained the top spot on lap 182. Busch was a quarter-lap away from the white flag when contact between Custer’s Ford and the Toyota of Brandon Jones caused the sixth caution and forced overtime.
On the first attempt, Reddick spun beneath Busch’s Toyota in Turn 4, knocked Bell’s Toyota sideways, and triggered a wreck that also collected Smith and Cindric.
That accident set up Busch’s winning dash and primed him for a possible sweep on Sunday.
“To do it here in Las Vegas at my home track would be huge.”Kyle Busch
NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 23rd Annual Boyd Gaming 300
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nevada
Saturday, March 2, 2019
1. (8) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 213.
2. (10) John Hunter Nemechek, Chevrolet, 213.
3. (4) Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 213.
4. (31) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 213.
5. (16) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 213.
6. (18) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 213.
7. (15) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 213.
8. (28) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 213.
9. (1) Cole Custer, Ford, 213.
10. (13) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 212.
11. (20) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 211.
12. (35) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 211.
13. (3) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 210.
14. (12) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Accident, 208.
15. (17) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 208.
16. (19) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 208.
17. (11) Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 208.
18. (22) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 208.
19. (27) David Starr, Chevrolet, 208.
20. (29) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 208.
21. (2) Chad Finchum, Toyota, 207.
22. (5) Austin Cindric, Ford, Accident, 206.
23. (34) Timmy Hill, Toyota, 206.
24. (6) Zane Smith, Chevrolet, Accident, 205.
25. (24) Ja Junior Avila, Toyota, 205.
26. (14) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 202.
27. (30) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, 200.
28. (9) Brandon Jones, Toyota, Accident, 198.
29. (25) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 196.
30. (37) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, 194.
31. (7) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Engine, 119.
32. (26) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Suspension, 99.
33. (38) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 61.
34. (21) Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 24.
35. (36) Stan Mullis, Toyota, Vibration, 14.
36. (32) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, Electrical, 13.
37. (23) Donald Theetge, Chevrolet, Accident, 1.
38. (33) Joey Gase, Toyota, Accident, 1.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 123.518 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 35 Mins, 12 Secs. The Margin of Victory: 0.192 Seconds.
Caution Flags: Seven for 37 laps.
Lead Changes: 12 among seven drivers.
Lap Leaders: C. Custer 1-8;A. Cindric 9;C. Custer 10-48;T. Reddick 49-93;G. Gaulding 94-95;T. Reddick 96-111;K. Busch(i) 112-147;C. Bell 148-149;K. Busch(i) 150-180;C. Bell 181;K. Busch(i) 182-204;T. Reddick 205;K. Busch(i) 206-213.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch(i) four times for 98 laps; Tyler Reddick three times for 62 laps; Cole Custer two times for 47 laps; Christopher Bell two times for three laps; Gray Gaulding one time for two laps; Austin Cindric one time for one lap.
Stage #1 Top-Ten: 00,19,2,20,23,1,7,22,11,9
Stage #2 Top-Ten: 2,20,18,00,23,7,19,1,39,98