By Lisa Janine Cloud
|Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs|
“Good calls from the pit box for sure,” said Busch, crediting his crew chief with making adjustments to keep up with the track changes. “Chris Gayle, he got his money’s worth tonight, he had to work on this thing for me and make it better all night long. The NOS Energy Drink Camry had speed, but there through the middle part of the race, Erik Jones caught me and when (Kyle) Larson was ahead of me at that point. We fine-tuned and worked on our balance a little bit, but overall, this is so good and cool for these guys.”
Busch’s JGR teammate Erik Jones recovered from a pit road penalty to finish second, ahead of the No. 22 of Brad Keselowski. Jones didn’t use that infraction as an excuse for finishing second, explaining that the No. 18 team made better adjustments throughout the night.
Keselowski wasn’t satisfied with his finish. “Top fives I guess are pretty good, but we want to be a little bit better than that,” he stated. “Of course, we want to win and you look at the format the XFINITY Series has and winning is really all that kind of matters. I felt like we gave it our all, but we’re just lacking a little bit of speed to be able to run with the top two. On a positive note, we kind of closed the gap a little bit, but we still have some work to do.”
Chase Elliott led the JR Motorsports contingent with his fourth-place finish; team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler crossed the line fifth, sixth, and seventh respectively.
Rounding out the top ten were Austin Dillon, series rookie Brandon Jones, and Ryan Seig. Jones’ No 33 sported a Texas Rangers baseball team paint scheme.
The race featured only six lead changes among three drivers: Kyle Larson took point for 38 laps but fell back and finished 11th. Erik Jones led twice for a total of 12 laps.
Daniel Suárez, who also got stung by a pit-road penalty, came home in 16th place, good enough to retain the Xfinity Series point lead by a single marker over Elliott Sadler.
Next week the series rolls into Bristol, the first Dash for Cash race, and the first time that the drivers will compete in heat races. Tune in April 16 for all the action.
Unofficial finishing order:
|5||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.|
|15||6||Darrell Wallace, Jr.|
|22||7||Ray Black, Jr.|