Saturday, April 9, 2016

Kyle Busch gallops to Xfinity win at Texas Motor Speedway

By Lisa Janine Cloud

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs 
Every time Kyle Busch has won the Xfinity Series pole this season, he’s also won the race. Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway was no exception. Busch led 150 of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300’s two hundred laps en route to his 80th career victory in the second tier of NASCAR’s traveling series.

“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:
FinCar No. Driver
118Kyle Busch
220Erik Jones
322Brad Keselowski
45Chase Elliott
588Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
67Justin Allgaier
71Elliott Sadler
82Austin Dillon
933Brandon Jones
1039Ryan Sieg
1142Kyle Larson
1262Brendan Gaughan
133Ty Dillon
1416Ryan Reed
156Darrell Wallace, Jr.
1619Daniel Suarez
1798Aric Almirola
1844David Starr
1948Brennan Poole
2024Matt Tifft
214Ross Chastain
227Ray Black, Jr.
230Garrett Smithley
2451Jeremy Clements
2590Martin Roy
2628Dakoda Armstrong
2752Joey Gase
281Ryan Preece
2978B.J. McLeod
3097Ryan Ellis
3170Derrike Cope
3213Matt DiBenedetto
3374Mike Harmon
3411Blake Koch
3543Jeb Burton
3625Cody Ware
3715Todd Peck
3814J.J. Yeley
3940Carl Long
4093Josh Wise


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