INDIANAPOLIS – There have been times when Kyle Busch has dominated the NASCAR Xfinity Series Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but that wasn’t the case Saturday.
The NASCAR veteran had a victory fall into his lap after the leading cars driven by Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell crashed into the turn two wall after a restart with eight laps to go.
It ended the race for both drivers and brought out the red flag on lap 93.
“End of the race, we were going for it, nothing against Christopher, we were going for the win,” Reddick said. “No one should ever question Christopher Bell’s driving ability behind the wheel.”
Bell stood next to Reddick as the two spoke outside of the IU Health Infield Care Center at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I’m fine and I’m very thankful for the SAFER Barrier,” Bell said. “Of all my NASCAR crashes, that one takes the cake.
“Both of us had our foots down going into turn two and I guess I slid beside him.”
A caution period shortly after a restart on lap 85 led to the restart that ended the day for Reddick and Bell. Contact between Austin Cindric and Brandon Jones in turn three resulted in a spin by Jones, resulting in a caution period.
The green flag waved with eight laps to go and it was setting up to be quite a battle before Reddick and Bell crashed into the outside wall in front of a charging field in turn two.
That put Busch in the lead ahead of Justin Allgaier when the race was stopped.
Once the track was cleaned, it was back to racing with four laps to go and Busch leading the field to the green flag. Busch got a nice push from Jeb Burton on the restart, putting him into the lead. As Busch began to pull away, Allgaier moved into second to close the gap.
The two cars hung together, nose-to-tail, but when Allgaier’s Chevrolet went high in turn two on the final lap, he lost his momentum and that allowed Busch to win the race by .132 seconds.
It was Busch’s 96th NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in 352 starts in the series. It was Busch’s fourth win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Xfinity Series. Saturday’s race was the eighth time the series has raced at the 2.5-mile speedway.
“The clean air was huge,” Busch said. “It was really tough to pass even when you had a run on the guys. Overall, man, I don’t know, we got back in traffic and fought the handling of this thing, even from fourth place.
“Overall, real proud of this team. This Toyota Supra was awesome today. I’m just proud to bring it home to victory lane.”
Busch was right behind Bell and Reddick and had a clear view of the crash and how it developed.
“The 20 (Christopher Bell) car just snapped around,” Busch said. “I don’t remember how close the 2 (Tyler Reddick) car was, it looked like the 20 did fine. It looked like he was trying to turn down to the bottom and I don’t know if he got tight with his car and then he had wheel in it so the 2 was kind of inching by and then that pulled him around. I would imagine that’s kind of what happened, but overall, just one of them deals. That’s happened to me before. It just happened a corner earlier.
“One year I had Sam Hornish Jr. on my outside and got sucked around. That can happen and I took the inside on the final restart. I was debating it the whole, entire time trying to figure out if I wanted top or bottom. I couldn’t really decide so then I went to the bottom. We’ll just see what happens and if we can hold him off.”
Busch credits Jeb Burton’s push for helping him on the final restart of the race with four laps to go.
“Anybody that was behind you, you had to rely on them,” Busch said. “You can’t win these races by yourself anymore, you have to rely on those that are around you. Jeb (Burton) obviously did a really good job with the restart coming up through the gears. He actually timed the push really well and it helped us. It propelled us to where we were able to score the victory.”
Allgaier, who was the defending winner of the race, gave Busch everything he had in the final laps.
“Man, you just don’t know what it’s like to win at this place,” Allgaier said. “We were set up to be good on the long run. It worked for us last year and we just fell short this year.”
Noah Gragson was third, followed by Burton and Justin Haley.
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