INDIANAPOLIS – Kyle Busch had an interesting day on Saturday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – but the final stages of the Indiana 250 ended in triumph. Busch, held off Justin Allgaier in a final four lap shootout en route to his 96th career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory and fourth of the season.
Busch, started on the pole for the fifth time in the last six tries here and led the first 15 laps before having an issue on pit road on their first stop. His crew chief, Ben Beshore, didn’t think that they had all four of his Goodyear tires tightened up, so they brought him back down pit lane to be sure. That cost him crucial track position.
Busch, went from first to 31st heading to the first restart of the day.
It didn’t take him long though to move back up through the field. By the end of the first stage, he was back up to third and within striking distance again. The second stage was all about finding the right balance in his car.
He fought a tight car for those 30 laps and wound up second. His team made changes, but it went too far. They went from tight to too free. He didn’t have a car to win – Allgaier did.
Allgaier, grabbed the lead on Lap 53 and would dominate the final stage. He was gearing up for his first win since this very race last year until a caution for John Hunter Nemechek with 21 laps remaining.
The field would hit pit lane for the final time, as Busch got an adjustment for the end while Allgaier fell from first to third after that round of stops.
On the ensuing restart, Allgaier dropped to sixth while Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick charged up to the front. Busch, would ride in third while Allgaier moved up to fourth.
It appeared like it would be a battle between Reddick and Bell for the win at that point. Fitting too. Combined, they have won 10 races already this season. But, following another caution for contact between Brandon Jones and Austin Cindric, the two would crash out with one another on a late race restart in Turn 2.
That crash allowed Busch to reinherit the lead again. The only problem was, three JR Motorsports drivers lined up behind him. It was Allgaier, Jeb Burton and Noah Gragson on the final restart on Lap 96.
With this drafting package, if JRM could work together, Busch would be a lame duck. Instead, Busch pulled away while Allgaier got a big push from Gragson to duke it out. Unfortunately for Allgaier, his teammates couldn’t catch up to give him the help as Busch would earn his fifth top two finish of the season and Allgaier his ninth straight top 10 in his No. 7 Chevrolet.
For Busch, the two previous times that he won this race, he swept the weekend and won the Brickyard 400 too. Can he do so on Sunday?
Busch, led a race high 46 of 100 laps as he’s led laps in all seven of his starts at Indy. He led 51, 92, 10, 53, 62, 44 and now 46 respectively.
For Allgaier, this was heartbreak as he was hoping to end his 32 race winless streak. He did nab his first top five finish since Watkins Glen and the 17th top 10 of the season but being only 0.132-seconds arrears of an Indy win hurt.
Gragson would settle for third in his No. 9 Chevrolet for his third straight top eight on the season and eighth top 10 in the last nine weeks. Burton, finished fourth in his No. 8 Chevrolet for his fourth top 10 in five tries this year.
Indiana native Justin Haley rounded out the top five in his No. 11 Chevrolet for his 17th top 10 finish of the year.
Indiana 250 Results
9 Gragson R
11 Haley R
98 Briscoe R
90 Bassett Jr.
07 Black Jr.
78 Miller -1
22 Cindric OUT
86 Brown R -3
20 Bell OUT
2 Reddick OUT
23 Nemechek R OUT
74 Harmon OUT
13 Finchum OUT
10 Dillon OUT
17 Weatherman OUT
89 Shepherd OUT
52 Starr OUT
38 Yeley OUT