FORT WORTH, Texas – Kyle Busch moved within one victory of the century mark in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with his 99th series triumph Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.
Busch, the all-time winningest driver in Xfinity Series history, had his work cut out for him on a hot and muggy day in Texas. Driving the No. 54 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing, Busch had to hold off JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier during multiple restarts in the final 50 laps.
“There at one point I was building a lead and I was like, ‘Oh, well, alright, this is going to be pretty easy,’” Busch said. “Then there at the end Allgaier got there and got to the front and then it was a race.”
In some instances, Allgaier was actually able to get ahead of Busch during restarts. The first of those came with 52 laps left and Allgaier was able to hug the bottom of the track and get past Busch one lap after the restart.
A caution a few laps latter for an incident involving Colby Howard gave Busch a chance to bounce back, but Allgaier was able to successful defend the lead on the next restart with 41 laps left.
Another caution flag would wave with 34 laps left to give Busch another shot at Allgaier and this time he succeeded on wrestling the lead away. He was able to pull up in front of Allgaier in turn four shortly after the restart with 29 laps left, though Allgaier attempted to cross back under Busch to regain the lead.
“Luckily I got a couple of cautions there were I was able to regroup and rethink and do something to try to get by him,” Busch said. “We were so equal that I felt like if either of us was out front, baring something happening with lap traffic, that that was going to be who goes on to win.”
The move didn’t work and Busch held the lead, but the caution flags weren’t done waving as Myatt Snider crashed down the backstretch with 10 laps left. A restart would follow with five laps left in regulation and a big push from third-place Austin Cindric allowed Busch to hold the lead.
The caution flag would wave one final time one lap later as Harrison Burton crashed his No. 20 Toyota Supra. Much like the previous restart, Busch got a huge push from Cindric that allowed him to pull clear into the lead as the field raced into turn one for the overtime restart.
Busch would complete the final two laps unchallenged to earn his 10th Xfinity Series victory at Texas Motor Speedway and the 15th all-time for Joe Gibbs Racing at the 1.5-mile facility located in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Depending on who was behind you and who was going to push you was kind of how things were going to go,” Busch said. “Being in my position it’s kind of hard to rely on anybody in that stance, but you have to and so it just kind of became the 22 car (Cindric) those last couple (of restarts).
“Certainly he was the car that I needed behind me in order to get the job done.”
Allgaier, who led 23 laps, settled for second after battling Busch during the final stage of the race.
“The cycles on tires, all those cautions, really hurt our balance,” Allgaier said. “Kyle was great all day obviously. Fun race. These guys on this Dollar Shave Club Camaro were awesome.”
Cindric finished third, followed closely by the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones.