Kyle Busch won the NASCAR XFINITY Series Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of the Americas in dominating fashion, leading 35 of the race’s 46 laps. The race featured four cautions, including two for incident.
Chastain, Hemric Find Issues Early
Ross Chastain found problems on lap one. He substituted for Joe Graf Jr. in the #07 for SS Greenlight Racing. Graf sat out of Saturday’s race with a strained knee. A broken axle was the culprit that ended Chastain’s hopes after qualifying second. Daniel Hemric also found problems early, coming down pit road on lap eight to get an issue with his shifter fixed. To add insult to injury, Hemric was busted for speeding on pit road, forcing him to come down once again, relegating him to 35th, the last car running. Meanwhile, polesitter Kyle Busch got off to a strong start, but was trailed closely by A. J. Allmendinger.
Strategy Benefits Allmendinger
With only four laps remaining in stage one, the caution came out for Boris Said. The noted road ringer driving the #13 for Motorsports Business Management stopped on track after a mechanical issue. Shortly after the caution came out, Ryan Ellis’ #99 B.J. McLeod Motorsports machine also came to a stop on track. Under caution, most of the field pitted, but 11 drivers, including Allmendinger, Tyler Reddick, and Andy Lally, stayed out to restart at the front for a one-lap shootout to end stage one. In that shootout, Allmendinger got away well to take the stage victory as Noah Gragson went for a spin and then suffered an engine problem that ended his race.
Under the stage caution, the 11 drivers that stayed out under the previous yellow pitted, sending Justin Allgaier and Kevin Harvick to the front. Andy Lally, who finished fourth in stage one, was sent to the rear for speeding on pit road.
As the green flag flew in stage two, it was Austin Cindric grabbing the lead from Allaiger. In turn one, Daniel Hemric got into the back of Kris Wright, turning him sideways, where Brandon Jones collected him. The race stayed green as both drivers limped back to pit road. Meanwhile, Cindric found himself behind Kyle Busch, who took the lead back on lap 19. Just after that lead change, the third caution of the day flew as Tommy Joe Martins’ #44 Camaro blew an engine.
And the Busch Smoke Show Begins…
When the race restarted, Busch held off second-place Cindric. A couple laps later, Cole Custer made contact with Riley Herbst in turn one, sending Herbst for a spin. Fortunately for Herbst, the damage was minor. With five laps left in stage 2, Miguel Paludo suffered a rear gear problem, but the race stayed green. That marked the second JR Motorsports car to suffer mechanical issues during the race.
In the final laps of the stage, more than half the field pitted, including leader Kyle Busch. Second-place Austin Cindric encountered issues on pit road after his car fell off the jack. He would cycle through to ninth. That handed the lead to Justin Haley, who brought home the stage win. As the field came to the green-and-white checkered flag, Timmy Hill’s engine gave out, causing him to stop on track, but NASCAR kept the green flag out until the stage concluded. During the stage caution, Kris Wright also came to a stop on track after his engine failed. Both Wright and Hill would be done for the day.
The restart came with only 13 laps remaining, and it was Kyle Busch prevailing over A. J. Allmendinger, who contested Busch closer than anyone had all day. After a few laps, though, Busch flexed his muscles once again, pulling away from the field. With eight laps remaining, Daniel Hemric came down pit road again with more shifter troubles. A few laps later, Myatt Snider got into Riley Herbst, spinning them both around. The two had been battling hard for much of the final stage up to that point, but this marked an end to that. The race, however, stayed green as both drivers departed the scene of the accident. That would mark the end to the drama, as Kyle Busch sailed to victory by over 11 seconds over A. J. Allmendinger.
Stage One Points Scorers: A. J. Allmendinger, Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, Andy Lally, Jeremy Clements, Justin Allgaier, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Austin Cindric, Miguel Paludo
Stage Two Points Scorers: Justin Haley, Michael Annett, Jade Buford, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Jeremy Clements, Justin Allgaier, A. J. Allmendinger, Kevin Harvick, Colby Howard
Final Stage Top 10: Kyle Busch, A. J. Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Kevin Harvick, Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Justin Haley, Jeb Burton