2011 Brickyard Winner Menard Leads Cup Series Practice
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 – Kyle Busch continued his dominating ways in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by winning the Indiana 250 from the pole on an action-filled day of NASCAR racing on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Busch’s fourth Xfinity Series win at Indy and his fifth pole in seven starts at the historic 2.5-mile oval came on a day filled with Xfinity Series racing and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practices.
“It was really tough to pass, even when you had a run on guys,” said Busch, who led a race-high 46 of the 100 laps. “You could pass some of the guys that were built more for long-run longevity, the No. 7 (Justin Allgaier) was. You could pass them on the straightaways.”
Busch held onto the lead during a four-lap dash to the finish in his No. 18 Combos Toyota. He restarted as the leader while defending Indiana 250 winner Justin Allgaier was second. Allgaier’s No. 7 Suave Men Chevrolet was on Busch’s rear bumper for the final four laps, but he couldn’t overcome Busch’s short-run speed and his horsepower on the long straightaways. Busch beat Allgaier by .132 of a second.
“Kyle’s great, especially on late race restarts,” said Allgaier, who won Stage 2 and led 24 laps overall. “That’s what sets him apart in the Cup side and here in the Xfinity Series. Hats off to our guys. Our Suave Men Camaro was unreal, especially on the long run. We were able to really push those guys. I knew Kyle’s weakness was the long run, and I kind of exploited those. We had a couple late-race restarts that just didn’t go our way and put us a little bit behind.”
Allgaier beat his two JR Motorsports teammates as Noah Gragson finished third in the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet and Jeb Burton finished fourth in the No. 8 State Water Heaters Chevrolet. Indiana native Justin Haley rounded out the top five in the No. 11 LeafFilter Chevrolet.
The end of the Indiana 250 was filled with dramatic action. Contact between Austin Cindric’s No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford and Busch’s teammate Brandon Jones in the No. 19 First Foundation Toyota in Turn 3 prompted a caution on Lap 89.
On the restart with eight laps to go, Xfinity Series championship contenders Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick crashed while battling for the lead in Turn 2 on Lap 93. Bell held the inside line, while Reddick was on the outside. The two drove through Turn 1 side-by-side, and then Bell’s No. 20 Rheem/Parker Hannifin Toyota got loose entering Turn 2 and slid into Reddick’s No. 2 Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet.
The cars went nose-first into the outside SAFER Barrier. Both drivers climbed from their cars without assistance and were unhurt.
The race featured eight cautions for 31 laps, and there were 14 lead changes among seven different drivers.
Paul Menard was the fastest driver over two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Practice sessions Saturday for the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line.
Menard, the 2011 Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard winner, topped the charts in the final practice session at 185.079 mph in the No. 21 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford fielded by the legendary Wood Brothers Racing. He was 23rd fastest in the first session at 180.473.
Kyle Larson was second fastest overall at 185.025 in the No. 42 McDonald’s Chevrolet, followed by Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kurt Busch at 184.763 in the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, defending Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard winner Brad Keselowski at 184.600 in the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford and Chase Elliott at 184.305 in the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet.
As time expired in final practice, Denny Hamlin crashed in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota. Hamlin slid above the groove in Turn 4 and made contact with the SAFER Barrier. Hamlin stopped at the entrance to pit road and exited the car without assistance. His Joe Gibbs Racing team will go to a backup car, and he will start at the rear of the field for Sunday’s race.
The 26th Annual Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line will take the green flag at 2 p.m. Sunday after drivers qualify for the race at 10:35 a.m. Visit ims.com to purchase tickets for the race, and visit ims.com/planahead to review parking, gate regulations and more information.