Kyle Busch wins Xfinity race after tense battle with Matt Kenseth
The JGR teammates put on a show at the end of the race, but it was Kyle Busch who came out ahead when the checkered flag flew.
It was a battle to the finish for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Furious 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway with Kyle Busch coming out on top for his 74th career Xfinity Series win.
Busch and Matt Kenseth traded the point for all but 14 of 200 circuits on Saturday night. Despite one last run on the next to the last lap where Kenseth bounced off the wall for one final and attempted a slide job for the win, his progress was blocked by John Wes Townley.
I couldn’t get that chicken man out of the way
Busch easily sailed off to the line to finish 0.791-seconds over Kenseth for his fourth win at the 1.5-mile track.
“That was crazy,” said Busch, who led five times for 102 laps. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to beat Matt tonight. I can’t say enough about (crew chief) Chris Gayle — all the adjustments he made all night long to make the car better and better.
“But Matt Kenseth, man. I thought when I got to him and I got clear of him and drove away by a second-plus it was over. I said, ‘ok, thank you. I can breath a little bit.’ Then he started running us back down. I tried to go back to the top but I was loose up there again and had to battle through that and he was right there”
“But once he lost his momentum out of (Turn) 4 it was over…I got enough cut in the center of the corner to know that he was going to stop and block the top so I had to get a run underneath of him. That was some fun racing, though.”
Kenseth, Darrell Wallace Jr., Paul Menard and Ty Dillon completed the top-five finishers.
Kenseth, who also led five times for a total of 84 laps, was clearly frustrated by lap traffic on the last lap.
“I couldn’t get that chicken man out of the way,” Kenseth said. “I thought we had a good car but Kyle had a better car than we did.”
Wallace's podium finish was a career-best.
"This is a great night for us,” Wallace said. “It is really a win for us. We played it close on fuel. Seth (Barbour, crew chief) said we were good with seven to go but I wasn’t pushing it too hard and they started hounding on me the last few laps and I am glad that I listened because we ran out in the middle of three and four.
"Hats off to this whole No. 6 Roush Performance team. That was a great call and I couldn’t be happier with this third tonight in Chicago.”
NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars Daniel Suarez, Chris Buescher, Elliott Sadler, Regan Smith and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top 10.
Buescher maintains championship advantage
For NXS points leader Buescher, his 16th top 10 of the season was not a cakewalk. He fell off of the lead lap, then took a wave-around on Lap 92. He received a penalty for his pit crew coming over the wall prematurely during his pit stop 12 laps late but recovered from 20th to finish seventh. He currently leads Dillon by 25 points.
“We were better there at the end, got to tight on that last run we used it up,” Buescher told his crew following the race. “Good job guys.”
Ryan Blaney qualified fifth on Saturday but was plagued by two tire failures. The first incident occurred on Lap 22 when he was running third but hit the wall after blowing a left rear tire. Blaney restarted 25th and worked his way into the top 20 before blowing a right front on lap 102. The No. 22 Team Penske squad ordered Blaney to the garage for repairs. He returned to the track 42 laps off of the pace with less than 60 laps remaining. But after completing several laps, Blaney returned to the garage and was scored 35th.
Following post-race inspection, NASCAR announced Busch's car failed inspection after the ride height was too low in all four corners.
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