Thursday, May 24, 2018

Kyle Busch wins NASCAR Xfinity race at Watkins Glen

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USA TODAY Sports’ Brant James looks ahead to some of the top storylines fans should keep an eye on at the I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at The Glen this Sunday.
USA TODAY Sports

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) — Kyle Busch won the Xfinity race at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, recovering from a spinout and a pit road penalty for the milestone victory.

Busch topped the Penske Racing duo of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski and easily beat them on a restart with three laps to go for his 90th series win. Watkins Glen International and Pocono Raceway were the only tracks currently on the Xfinity schedule where Busch had not won. He’s also won on every track in the Cup series except Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Logano was second in his bid to win this race for the third straight time from the pole and Keselowski was third, followed by Justin Allgaier and Paul Menard.

Busch started second, quickly passed Logano for the lead and led the first 16 laps before wheel-hopping his No. 18 Toyota and spinning out on the first turn, a 90-degree right-hander that points downhill, on lap 17.

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Keselowski won the opening stage under caution and gained a big advantage over Busch, who drove through too many pit stalls (four) during his first pit stop and was penalized. He restarted near the back of the 40-car field.

“I swear it was three,” a frustrated Busch said over his radio.

Rookies Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer elected not to pit and were up front on the restart with Kevin Harvick right behind. Harvick tried a bold move on the first turn after the restart and spun out, taking Custer out, too. There was no other contact and both drivers quickly got back on track.

That allowed Menard, who was third on the restart, to gain the lead and he held it for the remainder of the second 20-lap stage, holding off bids by Keselowski and Logano with Busch surging back into contention. He was eighth when the third caution flew on lap 34 for oil on track from Stephen Young’s smoking No. 78 Chevy.

Menard lost the lead in the final stage when he accidentally hit the master fuel switch and the car lost power going uphill through the esses. Keselowski took over the top spot, then dived into the pits with Logano on lap 49 for the final time.

Logano’s crew had trouble with the right front tire and a long stop dropped him back several spots.

Busch pitted from the lead on lap 54 and rejoined the field about 10 car-lengths in front of Keselowski, but they were far in the rearview mirror of race leader Brendan Gaughan.

The suspense ended when Gaughan pitted with just over 20 laps to go, giving Busch the lead again, this time for good.

Busch lapped points leader Elliott Sadler with seven laps to go and had built a 2.5-second lead when Casey Mears ran out of fuel to bring out the final caution with five laps left.

That set up a three-lap dash to the finish and Busch easily sped away from the Penske duo and won by just over a second.

PHOTOS: KYLE BUSCH THROUGH THE YEARS

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ZIPPO 200 AT THE GLEN

Saturday from the 2.45-mile road course at Watkins Glen International (Starting position in parentheses):

1. (2) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 82.

2. (1) Joey Logano, Ford, 82.

3. (5) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 82.

4. (7) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 82.

5. (4) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 82.

6. (10) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 82.

7. (11) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 82.

8. (6) Erik Jones, Toyota, 82.

9. (16) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 82.

10. (15) William Byron, Chevrolet, 82.

11. (8) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 82.

12. (9) Cole Custer, Ford, 82.

13. (19) Matt Tifft, Toyota, 82.

14. (18) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 82.

15. (12) Ryan Reed, Ford, 82.

16. (27) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 82.

17. (13) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 82.

18. (20) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 81.

19. (29) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 81.

20. (23) Dylan Lupton, Toyota, 81.

21. (26) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 81.

22. (14) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 81.

23. (36) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 81.

24. (33) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 81.

25. (17) Casey Mears, Ford, 80.

26. (38) Devin Jones, Chevrolet, 80.

27. (24) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 80.

28. (28) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 79.

29. (40) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 79.

30. (37) David Starr, Chevrolet, 79.

31. (35) Enrique Baca, Toyota, 78.

32. (22) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, 67.

33. (34) Brian Henderson, Chevrolet, Ignition, 59.

34. (32) Cody Ware, Dodge, Clutch, 52.

35. (21) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Axle, 36.

36. (39) Stephen Young, Chevrolet, Transmission, 33.

37. (30) Timmy Hill, Dodge, Overheating, 27.

38. (31) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Vibration, 26.

39. (25) JJ Yeley, Toyota, Engine, 16.

40. (3) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Engine, 12.

Race Statistaics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 92.569 mph.

Time of Race: 2:10:13.

Margin of Victory: 1.049 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 15 laps.

Lead Changes: 8 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K. Busch 1-16; B. Keselowski 17-20; D. Hemric 21-24; P. Menard 25-46; B. Keselowski 47-48; K. Busch 49-53; B. Gaughan 54-60; K. Busch 61-82.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Busch 3 times for 43 laps; P. Menard 1 time for 22 laps; B. Gaughan 1 time for 7 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 6 laps; D. Hemric 1 time for 4 laps.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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