NASCAR Xfinity Series

Kyle Busch dominates Pit Boss 250 from pole, 2 away from 100 Xfinity wins

4 Mins read
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It does not matter where and when it happened. If there is a NASCAR Xfinity Series race and Kyle Busch is entered, he is going to be a contender.

Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of the Americas marked the first time that NASCAR raced at the Austin road course, yet it did not take long for Busch to acclimate himself to the track as he led thirty-five of forty-six laps from the pole. With his ninety-eighth career Xfinity win, he is now two victories away from the century mark.

Busch, running his first Xfinity race of the year, was the fastest in qualifying ahead of fellow Cup Series driver Ross Chastain. Chastain was originally not entered for the race, but took over the #07 SS-Green Light Racing machine from Joe Graf Jr. after Graf strained his knee earlier in the week; Graf practiced on Friday, but found his injury hampered his performance too much and elected to sit out the event. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jesse Little, Kyle Weatherman, Josh Williams, Bayley Currey were all full-time drivers who failed to qualify for the race, as did Stephen Leicht and Caesar Bacarella. Daniel Hemric (transmission change), Kris Wright (engine change), and Ryan Sieg (engine change and unapproved post-inspection adjustments) were all sent to the rear.

After Busch led the first eleven laps, Boris Said and Ryan Ellis produced the first caution of the race when their cars stalled on the track. Said, a longtime road course ringer, was running his first race since retiring in 2017. Noah Gragson spun off course and suffered an engine failure, ending his race after thirteen laps.

The yellow resulted in a two-lap run to the end of the opening stage, one that A.J. Allmendinger won ahead of Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, Andy Lally, Jeremy Clements, Justin Allgaier, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Austin Cindric, and Miguel Paludo. Busch and various other drivers pitted during the yellow.

Allgaier stayed out between stages to take the lead for the restart. Cindric, who led Friday’s practice, took the lead on lap 18 and led two laps before Busch was back on top. Shortly after Busch claimed the top spot, Tommy Joe Martins suffered an engine failure and brought out a yellow flag. Another restart came on lap 23 as Busch continued to lead. Paludo retired from the race with a rear gear issue.

In a repeat of Stage #1, Busch and the others elected to pit before the segment’s conclusion. This cycled the lead to Justin Haley who took the stage win. Michael Annett, Jade Buford, Dillon, Busch, Clements, Allgaier, Allmendinger, Harvick, and Colby Howard rounded out the top ten. Wright and Timmy Hill joined Paludo, Martins, and Gragson as the race’s additional retirements during the stage after they also blew their engines.

Busch assumed the lead to start the final stage. Unlike its two predecessors, Stage #3 ran entirely green with the only incidents being mechanical problems or single-car spins. Facing little opposition, Busch drove off to the win with an eleven-second margin over second-placed Allmendinger.

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In addition to becoming the first Xfinity winner at COTA, Busch enjoys his third series road course victory and first since Watkins Glen International in 2017; the first was at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in 2007. The 2009 series champion has run at four road courses in NASCAR’s second tier, with Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal being the lone one that he failed to win at as he finished tenth in two starts in 2009 and 2012. Montreal is no longer on the NASCAR schedule, meaning a win there is impossible barring a return, though Busch has a chance to add to his slate at Road America in July.

“It’s really, really cool to come here for the first race at a new track and win,” Busch said after the race. “I’m kicking myself right now because I never won at Montreal, but I won at every other road course I’ve raced at, so it’s kind of a bummer, but overall real proud of the effort.”

Besides Busch, Harvick (fourth), Cole Custer (seventh), Reddick (eighth), Austin Dillon (thirteenth), and Chastain (thirtieth) were among the full-time Cup drivers running the Xfinity race in preparation for their main event on Sunday. Harvick scored B.J. McLeod Motorsports‘s best finish and only the team’s second top five after David Starr—who was replaced by Said in the MBM Motorsports #13 for COTA—did so at Daytona in 2017. Reddick and Dillon’s runs respectively débuted the Xfinity programmes for Jordan Anderson Racing and Bassett Racing after both teams had been locked out of the non-qualifying races to start the year.

Among the one-off drivers and road ringers, Preston Pardus finished fourteenth. Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly, who are team-mates in IMSA, finished next to each other in eighteenth and nineteenth; Pumpelly was making his NASCAR début. Said finished thirty-first as the last car running.

Race results

1154Kyle Busch*Joe Gibbs RacingToyota46Running
2716A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet46Running
397Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet46Running
4125Kevin Harvick*B.J. McLeod MotorsportsFord46Running
5822Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord46Running
61020Harrison BurtonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota46Running
7317Cole Custer*SS-Green Light RacingFord46Running
8531Tyler Reddick*Jordan Anderson RacingChevrolet46Running
9611Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet46Running
101110Jeb BurtonKaulig RacingChevrolet46Running
11351Michael AnnettJR MotorsportsChevrolet46Running
122102Brett MoffittOur MotorsportsChevrolet46Running
131777Austin Dillon*Bassett RacingChevrolet46Running
142291Preston PardusDGM RacingChevrolet46Running
151848Jade BufordBig Machine RacingChevrolet46Running
162998Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord46Running
171919Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota46Running
181323Andy LallyOur MotorsportsChevrolet46Running
19166Spencer PumpellyJD MotorsportsChevrolet46Running
20436Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet46Running
21232Myatt SniderRichard Childress RacingChevrolet46Running
22304Landon CassillJD MotorsportsChevrolet46Running
233351Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet46Running
243199Ryan EllisB.J. McLeod MotorsportsToyota46Running
253439Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord46Running
261468Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevrolet46Running
272552Gray GauldingJimmy Means RacingChevrolet46Running
282715Colby HowardJD MotorsportsChevrolet46Running
292618Daniel HemricJoe Gibbs RacingToyota46Running
30207Ross Chastain*SS-Green Light RacingChevrolet36Running
312413Boris SaidMBM MotorsportsToyota35Running
323626Kris Wright*Sam Hunt RacingToyota29Engine
332866Timmy Hill*MBM MotorsportsToyota29Engine
34158Miguel PaludoJR MotorsportsChevrolet25Rear Gear
353244Tommy Joe MartinsMartins MotorsportsChevrolet19Engine
36209Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet13Engine
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points
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History major and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
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