Busch Repeats as Alsco 300 Winner

Kyle Busch’s victory from the pole in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race adds to his impressive resume at Kentucky Speedway.
A call to change four tires and then stay on the track while others made their final pit stops paid off with a repeat victory for Kyle Busch in the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
The race was moved to Saturday because of inclement weather on Friday. Busch started from the pole and led the final 33 laps.
The greatest challenge in the closing laps was a restart with 28 to go.
“I was a little nervous,” Busch said, “just based off of being on those older tires, hot tires, and picking up all the rubber off the racetrack and hopefully getting them clean, then being able to take off and feeling out what the grip was going to be.
“It was a little lower than I expected it to be and I thought the guys behind me were going to pounce and catch up. They must have been worse off than I was. It was nice to have what I needed in clean air to be able to drive away a little bit. I felt like our car was really fast out front. If we could get out front, I felt like we could hold everybody off through much of the day.”
Busch stretched his fuel and tires over the final 68 laps. The left rear tire on his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was reduced to smoldering shreds after his celebratory burnout near the start/finish line.
The victory marked Busch’s second in five XFINITY Series this season. Thirty-five of his 88 career wins in the series have come from the pole. It also added to his already impressive resume at Kentucky Speedway, where the 32-year-old owns eight wins across four different racing series, including three in the XFINITY Series.
The Alsco 300 represented the second leg of a tripleheader effort by Busch this week at Kentucky Speedway. He finished sixth in the Camping World Truck Series’ Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 on Thursday and qualified on the pole for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts.
Busch was fortunate the XFINITY Series race did not go into overtime.
Ryan Blaney finished 1.097 seconds back in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford after charging back from a pit road penalty that dropped him to 22nd on the final restart.
“I wish it was 202 laps,” said Blaney, who led 52 of the 200 laps. “That would’ve been nice.”
Including Busch and Blaney, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers swept the top six spots in the XFINITY Series race. Erik Jones led the most laps (77) in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and finished third ahead of Kevin Harvick, Ty Dillon and Joey Logano.
Friday’s postponement set up a long day of racing for those drivers. The Alsco 300 ended five hours before the scheduled start of the Cup Series race.
“It was just like going for a bike ride,” Busch said. “I’m sure Jimmie (Johnson) did that today, and maybe some others. I’ll be ready to go. It’s just about being able to get back, get some rest, get in some cool air and get some fluids in me.”
The top finishing XFINITY Series regular in the Alsco 300 was rookie William Byron, who finished seventh in his bid to score a third consecutive victory in the series.
“I feel like we made really good adjustments and was able to get up there on a few restarts and have a chance at a top three or four,” Byron said. “Ultimately, I finished seventh, but I feel like it was a pretty good day overall. I just lacked a little bit of speed.”
The race was slowed by eight cautions and featured seven lead changes among four drivers.
The first 25 laps featured three cautions, including a competition caution on Lap 25. The field was coming to the green flag for the start of the race when cars in the middle of the pack bunched up and started bumping into each other. The cars driven by Blake Koch, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones and Brendan Gaughan.
The incident ended the day for Jones. The cars driven by Gaughan and Reed also suffered significant damage.
Gaughan returned to the track but a fender rub cut his right front tire and sent him into the outside wall to bring out the second caution on Lap 8. He finished 39th. Reed finished 36th.