FORT WORTH, Texas – Kyle Busch didn’t dominate Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, but he put himself in position to pounce when it mattered most.
After a timely caution with 12 laps left erased fuel mileage concerns for the race leaders, Busch beat the field off pit road with a gas-and-go pit stop, then held off defending series champion Tyler Reddick on a six-lap sprint to the checkered flag.
In contrast to his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory from Friday night, when Busch led 97 of 147 laps, he was only out front for 33 of 200 laps in the My Bariatric Solutions 300.
Busch paced the field for the lap that paid the money, however, tallying his record-extending 95th Xfinity Series win and third in four series starts this year.
The Las Vegas native now has nine victories in 14 races across NASCAR’s three national series this year alone, as well as 203 for his career. He’ll go for a third-career tripleheader sweep on Sunday afternoon.
“Not taking any tires certainly helped us at the end,” said Busch. “We jumped the field there, but I was worried about the restart. I just didn’t think there was going to be enough grip (to hold on), but this car certainly had enough grip in it.”
Busch was quick to point out that he wasn’t the dominant car, like his teammate Christopher Bell had for the majority of the afternoon, but his team persevered and found a way to win yet again.
“This Toyota Supra was good all day, but it was really fast on the long run,” noted Busch. “I could just never get people away from me on the front side of the run to be able to settle into my rhythm. Every time I got to the outside, people would drive by me on the inside, and then when I’d get to the inside someone would bust to my outside and make me loose.
“We were all over the place today,” Busch admitted. “Overall, Christopher Bell … he ran a great race and he should have won this thing, but we made it happen.”
A 61-lap run to the finish that put the leaders on the edge with fuel saw Bell wrest the point away from Reddick when the green flag waved, while Busch slid up the track and fell back as far as ninth from third.
However, Busch methodically climbed back forward and was running third again – behind the frenetically-dueling lead pair of Bell and Reddick – when the race’s ninth and final yellow flag of the day waved with 12 laps left for the stalled and fuel-starved car of Jeremy Clements on pit road.
That allowed the lead runners to make caution-flag pit stops for the gas they needed to get to the finish, erasing the potential chances of Chase Briscoe, Kaz Grala and others to go the distance and steal a win.
Busch won the critical race off pit road over Reddick and Bell, and once the green flag waved for the final time with six to go, the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion took off and never looked back.
As Busch sprinted home to victory, Reddick was forced to settle for second, .861 of a second back at the finish line. Reddick led the Dash 4 Cash qualifiers as the highest-finishing series regular.
Meanwhile, Bell came home third after leading a race-high 127 laps at the track closest to his hometown of Norman, Okla., and was understandably disappointed after climbing from his car.
“Kyle wasn’t better than us anywhere, all day long. He just had track position there on that final restart,” lamented Bell. “I don’t know. I was really starting to struggle on that long run, so when they said they were putting two tires on the car, I was all for it. I just didn’t get any better and those guys (Busch and Reddick) didn’t slow down.
“It’s a very disappointing day, but we’re in the Dash 4 Cash, so that’s cool. That was our goal today. It’s just frustrating to lose one like that when we were the class of the field.”
Bell joins Reddick, fourth-place finisher Chase Briscoe and sixth-place finisher Michael Annett as those who will be eligible for a $100,000 bonus during next week’s race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Jeb Burton completed the top five on Saturday for JR Motorsports, but was not Dash 4 Cash eligible as he is not on the pre-entry list for the Bristol Xfinity event.
Justin Haley crossed the line seventh in Texas, ahead of Jeffrey Earnhardt, John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Sieg.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.