Kyle Busch dominates inaugural Xfinity race at COTA
Kyle Busch snuffed out all the drama while taking a dominating victory in the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at COTA.
Busch started on the pole, led three times for 35 of the 46 laps and cruised to victory in the Pit Boss 250 by 11.024 seconds over A.J. Allmendinger. No other driver led more than three laps.
The win came in Busch’s first series start of the 2021 season and NASCAR’s first trip to the 3.41-second, 20-turn Circuit of the Americas road course.
It’s also Busch’s 98th career victory, which cover 27 different tracks.
While Cup Series practice and the Truck race were run under mostly wet conditions Saturday, the Xfinity race remained dry the entire time.
“I have to give a huge shoutout to all the machine guys, all the CNC guys as well as all the carbon guys for helping me being able to feel comfortable in the car this weekend and being able to come out to run on the road course again,” Busch said.
“To be able come out here today and have such an amazing car. Thank to everybody at the Xfinity Series shop and all of Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s really, really cool to come to a new track and win.
“I’m kicking myself right now because I never won at Montreal – every other road course, I’ve won at. Real proud of the effort.”
Justin Allgaier finished third, Kevin Harvick was fourth and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-five.
‘I hope we come back here again. This was a lot of fun,” Allgaier said. “Turn 1 might go down as my favorite corner in NASCAR right now.”
Completing the top-10 were Harrison Burton, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, Justin Haley and Jeb Burton.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, a handful of lead-lap cars pit but Busch remained on the track and inherited the lead.
When the race returned to green on Lap 33, Busch was followed by Allgaier, Allmendinger, Harvick and Daniel Hemric.
With 10 laps to go in the stage, Busch held a 2.6-second lead over Allmendinger. Allgaier ran third, Hemric fourth and Jeb Burton fifth.
Hemric was forced to pit under green again with eight laps to go for another repair of his shifter, which got stuck in gear.
With five laps remaining, Busch’s lead over Allmendinger had ballooned to 6.9 seconds while Allgaier remained in third, 8.7 seconds behind the leader.
On Lap 42, Riley Herbst and Myatt Snider for together in Turn 12. Both spun out but both were able to continue on the course without a caution flag.
“He wheel-hopped and wrecked me,” Herbst said over his team radio about Snider. “Control your brake pedal, you goon.”
With several lead-lap cars pitting late, Haley inherited the lead with two laps to go and cruised to the Stage 2 win over Michael Annett.
Jade Buford was third, Austin Dillon fourth and Busch rounded out the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, several drivers who had not pit made their first stop but Allgaier remained on the track and inherited the lead.
When the race returned to green on Lap 18, Allgaier was followed by Harvick, Cindric, Miquel Paludo and Herbst.
Cindric went three-wide and powered around Allgaier and Harvick quickly on the restart to grab the lead for the first time in the race.
On Lap 19, Busch made his way up to second while Allgaier remained in third.
Busch got around Cindric on Lap 20 to reclaim the lead.
Tommy Joe Martins appeared to blow an engine and dropped fluid on the track to bring out a caution on Lap 21. “The motor just exploded,” he said over his team radio.
The race returned to green on Lap 23 with Busch still in the lead.
With three laps remaining in the stage, Busch’s lead had grown to 6.3 seconds over Allgaier while Cindric and Allmendinger and several others decided to pit under green.
Both Busch and Allgaier dropped down pit road just before pit road closed with two laps to go in Stage 2. Haley inherited the lead followed by Annett and Buford.
Allmendinger held off Reddick in a one-lap shootout to take the Stage 1 victory as Noah Gragson went off course and stalled on the track.
Brandon Jones was third, Andy Lally fourth and Jeremy Clements rounded out the top-five.
Kyle Busch started on the pole and took control of the lead early.
Ross Chastain, who started on the front row, was penalized for a track limits violation in Turn 5 and was assessed a pass-thru penalty by NASCAR. However, he took the No. 07 Chevrolet to the garage with a possible broken axle.
With 10 laps to go in the stage, Busch maintained a 1.6-second lead over Allmendinger while Allgaier had made his way to third.
Hemric was forced to pit under green on Lap 8 to have a crew member help repair a broken shifter.
With five laps remaining, Busch’s lead over Allmendinger had grown to 3.9 seconds. Allgaier remained third, more than 12 seconds behind the leader.
On Lap 11, both Boris Said and Ryan Ellis ended up stalling out on the track forcing NASCAR to display a full-course caution.
Most of the lead-lap cars elected to pit but Allmendinger remained on the track and inherited the lead. Allgaier was the first off pit road.
When the race returned to green on Lap 14, Allmendinger was followed by Reddick and Lally.
Hemric had to start the race from the rear of the field due to his team changing transmissions.
|30||07||Ross Chastain||Chevrolet||36||2:11'05.829||10 Laps||10 Laps|
|31||13||Boris Said||Toyota||35||2:11'18.277||11 Laps||1 Lap|
|32||26||Kris Wright||Toyota||29||1:26'10.295||17 Laps||6 Laps|
|33||66||Carl Long||Toyota||29||1:34'39.156||17 Laps||8'28.861|
|34||8||Miguel Paludo||Chevrolet||25||1:15'57.098||21 Laps||4 Laps|
|35||44||Tommy Joe Martins||Chevrolet||19||55'55.378||27 Laps||6 Laps|
|36||9||Noah Gragson||Chevrolet||13||35'07.371||33 Laps||6 Laps|
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