SPEEDWAY, Ind.—Kyle Busch kissed the bricks for the fourth time following an Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Busch started from the pole and led a race-high 46 laps en route to his fourth win of the season and a record 96th on the NASCAR Xfinity Series tour.
The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota took the lead for the fifth and final time with eight laps remaining in the Indiana 250 and held off defending winner Justin Allgaier by .132-seconds at the finish.
“We just didn’t have the grip in traffic,” Busch said. “Our car was really, really fast in a straight line and could pass some of those guys down the straightaways. Even if I botched the corner, it seemed like I could pass them back. Different situations with some of those guys.
“The 7 (Allgaier) was really good. He was really smart and played a great race. We were just faster and fast enough there at the end in order to make sure that we stayed in front of those guys.”
Rookie Noah Gragson finished third followed by Jeb Burton, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Cole Custer, Chase Briscoe, Austin Hill and Ryan Sieg.
Brandon Jones won the first stage on Lap 30. Allgaier made a masterful move on Busch to take the lead with eight laps remaining in Stage 2 and held the point to win the segment.
“You don’t get the opportunity to pass Kyle very often,” Allgaier said with a laugh. “But I could see where his weaknesses were at and I was trying to push him as hard as I could—I didn’t want to wreck him. I wanted to get big drafts and push him down the straightaway as much as I could because I knew his car wasn’t handling quite as well as our car was.
“I was trying to get as close down the straightaway as I could, push him into the corner and I could see—especially Turn 1—that was going to be our go-to. To get by him was cool, but then I knew on that last restart that he was so good on the short run that once he got clear of me, I knew it was going to take a miracle to get back by him with that few laps left.”
Although Allgaier held serve on the Lap 65 restart, he and Busch exchanged the lead again but the No. 7 Brandt Chevrolet stayed within striking distance. Allgaier regained the lead on Lap 69 and held on until John Hunter Nemechek hit the wall in Turn 1on Lap 79. Josh Williams remaining on the track and assumed the lead on Lap 81—but it was short-lived. As soon as the race returned to green on Lap 85, Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell split the No. 36 Chevrolet.
Reddick led the first lap before he and Bell jostled for the point. Bell had the advantage over the next seven laps before his car became loose in Turn 3 and he collected Reddick in the process opening the seas for Busch.
“The 20 (Bell) car just snapped around,” Busch said. “I don’t remember how close the 2 (Reddick's) car was, it looked like the 20 did fine. It looked like he was trying to turn down to the bottom and I don’t know if he got tight with his car and then he had wheel in it so the 2 was kind of inching by and then that pulled him around.”
After NASCAR red-flagged the race for seven minutes to remove the Nos. 2 and 20 cars and clean up debris, Busch selected the bottom lane, took the lead and held on over the final eight laps for the win—his 37th victory from the pole. Although Busch is finished racing on this tour for the season, he's just four wins short of 100 Xfinity victories.
“It’s cool,” Busch said. “Maybe some people will discredit that and say that it’s not so cool. We’re doing it and fortunately Joe has (Gibbs, team owner) given me the green light to run the five races I can run next year.
“We had another Kyle Busch rule come down a couple weeks ago so we’ll get our five and hopefully we can clean them out and I’ll be 101 when it’s all said and done.”
While Allgaier didn’t leave with the trophy, he took solace in having a solid day with his JR Motorsports team.
“Today was great,” Allgaier said. “Yeah, I wanted to win the race but we just need momentum. At the end of the day, that’s all we need and that was a good momentum day. The guys did a great job.
“As much as I hate to see the 2 and the 20 wreck, my only hope is that that kind of stumbles some of the momentum they’ve been having and we can capitalize on it. That’s what it’s going to come down to when the Playoffs start.”
Reddick retains a 50-point lead over Bell in the NASCAR Xfinity Series standings.