How good are things going for Kyle Busch in NASCAR right now?
Busch didn’t even think he should have won Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 in the Xfinity Series at Texas Motor Speedway.
But just as it’s been throughout most of the season, when the checkered flag waved it was Busch who was celebrating for the ninth time in the series at TMS. With his win Friday in the Vankor 350, Busch will have a chance for the third tripleheader sweep of his career in Sunday’s Monster Energy O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.
Twice he’s won the first two legs at TMS (2009, 2014) only not to win the Cup race.
His last pit stop Saturday put in him position to make another run at it. Busch opted for track position over tires during his final pit stop and when the race resumed with six laps remaining he pulled away from the field as he beat series regulars Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell.
Bell had the best car throughout the race but opted for two tires and fuel on the final stop and restarted third.
“Overall Christopher Bell ran a great race and he should have won this race today,” said Busch, who now has 95 Xfinity Series wins. “We had a fast race car once we got rolling. That’s what won us the race, just being first and being able to control the restart. I could go when I wanted to. I got a good launch and was able to go single file before Turn 1.”
Bell and Reddick were out in front of Busch during the closing stretch of the race and the only real concern was whether or not any of the top drivers had enough fuel to make it to the end. That became a moot point when Jeremy Clements ran out of fuel in the pits, bringing out the final caution and sending all the lead-lap cars into the pits.
Busch, who led just 33 laps, had the quickest stop and beat Reddick out for the top spot with Bell lined up behind Busch. A great restart by Busch put an end to the hopes of the Xfinity regulars.
“He [Busch] wasn’t better than us anywhere,” said Bell, who led 129 of the 200 laps. “He just had track position there. I was really starting to struggle there on that long run. Whenever they said we were putting two tires on I was all for it. I didn’t get any better and those guys didn’t slow down. It’s a very disappointing day.”
Bell started on the pole and dominated the first stage in the No. 20 Toyota, leading all 45 laps. Ryan Sieg used pit strategy to win the second stage, the first stage win of his career. But it was the trio of Bell, Busch and Reddick who dominated. The trio combined to lead all but 21 laps and Reddick leads the series in points by 12 over Bell.
Busch’s crew chief Ben Beshore knew as close as the three cars were, the pit strategy made sense.
“It’s been a track position race all day,” Beshore said. “Us, the 20 [Bell] and the 2 [Reddick] were pretty even all day and it was tough to pass. With sort of a short run at the end, I just wanted to get him out front, in and out of the pits and get him as close to the front as we could.”