Busch fends off Allgaier in last lap thriller

Kyle Busch held off Justin Allgaier on the final restart with four laps to go to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Indiana 250 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This was Busch’s fourth victory of the season and his 96th of his career.

“We just didn’t have the grip in traffic,” Busch said to PRN Radio. “The car was really really fast in a straight line. I could pass some of those guys on the straightaways, even if I botched the corners, it seemed like I could catch them back. Different situations with some of those guys. The 7 (Allgaier) was really good, really smart, played a great race. We were faster, just faster at the end to make sure we stayed in front of those guys.”

This was Busch’s seventh and final race of the 2019 Xfinity Series season.

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“Real proud of the effort, certainly want to thank Big Machine Vodka, Big Machine Label group for being on my stuff there and partner at the racetrack this weekend. Also want to thank the fans for their support, this Combos Supra, these guys, everybody on this team did a great job. It’s cool here to win anytime at Indy, so we’ll take it.”

Before the race, Busch qualified on the pole claiming his 66th career pole.

There were a couple of drivers that had to go to the rear before the start of the race. Ronnie Bassett Jr., Josh Bilicki and B.J. McLeod went to the rear for unapproved adjustments and Kyle Weatherman for an engine change.

Stages were 30/30/40 laps to make up the 100 lap race.

Stage 1 Lap: 1- Lap 30

Stage 1 was green for the most part, aside from a few incidents. The No. 10 of Austin Dillon came down pit road early on Lap 12 and reported no oil pressure. The issue only got worse for Dillon as the car ran out of power on the backstretch, eventually coming to a stop on the access road. This brought out the first caution of the day on Lap 16.

Some different strategy was played out with Busch, Cole Custer, Justin Haley, Noah Gragson, Michael Annett and Chase Briscoe, all pitting under caution. Busch had to come back down pit road once again due to not having the lug nuts tight on the right front.

Two more cautions came out before the stage ended on Lap 30. One was for the No. 52 of David Starr who had his motor expire and the other was for Ryan Sieg who spun off Turn 2 on the final lap of the stage. Another driver, Tyler Reddick had some issues on the pit stops. Reddick was served a penalty for having too many men over the wall after his stop.

With the track position and by staying out, Brandon Jones went on to win Stage 1. Austin Cindric, Busch, Gragson, Custer, Allgaier, Christopher Bell, Haley, Briscoe and Reddick rounded out the top-10 finishers in the first stage.

Stage 2: Lap 36 – Lap 60

Busch and Gragson, along with a few others, stayed out under the stage break to assume the lead for the second stage.

It didn’t take long for the caution to fly again as the No. 86 of Brandon Brown went spinning by himself in Turn 1. Two other drivers also had slight contact with each other. Bell and Gragson made minimal contact off the restart. With the contact, Bell had to come down pit road to fix the left front fender.

On Lap 52, eight laps before the stage ended, a thrilling battle for the lead took place between Allgaier and Busch, with Allgaier eventually taking the lead from Busch. The JR Motorsports driver went on to win Stage 2 after holding off Busch. It was a sign of what was to come later.

Busch, Reddick, Jeb Burton, Jones, Bell, Briscoe, Custer, Sieg and Gragson were the top-10 finishers for Stage 2.

Stage 3: Lap 66 – Lap 100

A lot of action and incidents took place in the third and final stage. Allgaier and Busch continued to battle for the lead before a caution came out on Lap 80 for the No. 23 of John Hunter Nemechek. Mostly everyone came down pit road with Haley being the only one to pit for two tires.

The restart came with 16 to go and saw new names out front, as Bell and Reddick were fighting for the lead. However, before they could break away from the field, another yellow was seen with 11 to go as it saw Cindric making contact and spinning the No. 19 of Brandon Jones.

This would shape up another restart with eight laps to go. On the same lap, a vicious crash took place among the leaders. Bell and Reddick took each other out and hit the wall hard off Turn 2. Despite the hard hits, both drivers walked away from the incident. With the long clean up effort, NASCAR officials threw the red flag to let track officials clean up the accident.

Eventually, this would set up a four-lap dash to the finish. With a little bit of help from Burton, Busch got the push he needed in order to get out front of Allgaier. The two broke away from the field to fight it out.

In the end, the All-time Xfinity Series wins leader Busch held off Allgaier for his fourth Indianapolis Xfinity Series win and the 96th of his career.

Earlier in the year, Busch has noted he may retire if he hits the 100 win mark in the series. He’s only four away from win No. 100.

“Yeah, hopefully, we can go five for five and we’ll make it 101, and hang our hat.”

Busch led five times for 46 laps to score his fourth win of the season.

There were eight cautions for 31 laps, one red flag, and 14 lead changes among seven drivers.

With it being Busch’s last start in the Xfinity Series due to NASCAR’s restrictions on Cup drivers, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver will end his Xfinity Series season with four wins, five top-fives and top-10 finishes, two poles and an average finish of 9.4.

Up Next: The Xfinity Series has one more race before their playoff run begins at Richmond. The series will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next Saturday on Sept 14.

Official Results

  1. Kyle Busch, led 46 laps
  2. Justin Allgaier, led 24 laps, won Stage 2
  3. Noah Gragson, led one lap
  4. Jeb Burton
  5. Justin Haley
  6. Brandon Jones, led eight laps, won Stage 1
  7. Cole Custer
  8. Chase Briscoe
  9. Austin Hill
  10. Ryan Sieg
  11. Jeremy Clements
  12. Michael Annett
  13. Gray Gaulding
  14. Garrett Smithley
  15. Ronnie Bassett Jr
  16. Landon Cassill
  17. Josh Williams, led four laps
  18. Joey Gase
  19. Stefan Parsons
  20. Ray Black Jr
  21. Josh Bilicki
  22. B.J. McLeod
  23. Stephen Leicht
  24. Tommy Joe Martins
  25. Matt Mills
  26. Vinnie Miller, one lap down
  27. Austin Cindric, OUT, Engine
  28. Brandon Brown, three laps down
  29. Christopher Bell, OUT, Accident
  30. Tyler Reddick, OUT, Accident
  31. John Hunter Nemechek, OUT, Crash
  32. Mike Harmon, OUT, Electrical
  33. Chad Finchum, OUT, Transmission
  34. Austin Dillon, OUT, Fuel Pump
  35. Kyle Weatherman, OUT, Overheating
  36. Morgan Shepherd, OUT, Handling
  37. David Starr, OUT, Engine
  38. J.J. Yeley, OUT, Suspension

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