Kyle Busch survived two NASCAR Overtime attempts on Saturday to score his 93rd career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch, a Las Vegas native and winner of Friday’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile oval, led the field for 98 of the 213 circuits. The win for the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team, which is Busch’s 197th career NASCAR National Series win, did not come easy for the hometown kid.
Busch started eighth on the starting grid as morning rain washed out qualifying. By rule, that placed the No. 00 Ford of Cole Custer on the pole for the 23rd annual Boyd Gaming 300. Custer, who led 48 laps of the race, went on to a ninth-place finish.
Things did not start out well for the No. 18 team as they pitted for a loose wheel with around 10 laps complete. The issue relegated Busch to 33rd and one lap down on the leaderboard. By using strategy and staying out under the second yellow flag, Busch climbed back up through the field to finish third at the end of stage two.
“It was early enough where you could try to come back from one of those kind of setbacks. I wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to do it being short a set of tires,” said Kyle Busch after securing the win. “We got a lucky break with that caution in the second stage that kind of got us back on cycle where we able to get our first set back on with fresh wheels so we didn’t have any more issues there. It’s cool to come out here and be a part of the Las Vegas and the hometown.”
With 15 green flag laps complete in the final stage, Kyle Busch passed Tyler Reddick for the race lead. He’d later be challenged for the top spot by teammate Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick, but held them off for the top spot.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran will go into Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 looking to complete the weekend sweep. The event will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET. live on FOX and PRN radio.
“I thought this would be the toughest of the three. We had a fast race car but we could never get the balance even in the race right there,” continued Busch after the race. “I was either way too tight or way too loose, I could never find a happy medium. Overall, I feel like the Cup car is pretty good. The M&M’s Chocolate Bar Camry got some speed to it as well and we ran a lot out there in traffic and the pack. So it will be interesting tomorrow.”
John Hunter Nemechek came across the line in the runner-up spot. Nemechek started 10th in his No. 23 Chevrolet and finished stage one and two in fifth. The son of veteran racer Joe Nemechek leaves Sin City with one top five and two top 10 finishes in 2019.
Noah Gragson will walk away with a third-place finish. Gragson, piloting the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, sat 10th in stage one and 13th in stage two. The Las Vegas native started on the outside of Cole Custer because Christopher Bell had to start at the rear of the field. Second-place starter Chad Finchum voluntarily went to the rear.
Austin Dillon and Michael Annett rounded out the top five.
Ryan Sieg, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, Cole Custer and Justin Haley all took home top 10 finishes.
Despite the incident with Joey Gase and Donald Theetge on lap three in turn three, and the lap 60 incident in turn two for Austin Cindric and Zane Smith, things were quiet through the first two stages. Things would start ramping up with 10 laps to go.
On lap 190, with 10 laps remaining, JA Junior Avila had a solo spin coming off turn four. With six laps remaining, the green flag waved.
With two laps remaining, Brandon Jones in the No. 19 and Cole Custer in the No. 00 tangled in turn three. The incident sent the 300-mile race into NASCAR Overtime. Eventual race winner Kyle Busch chose the outside line while Tyler Reddick had the inside line in second for the restart.
The field got the green flag on lap 207 and wouldn’t stay that way for long. Just before Kyle Busch took the white flag, as Tyler Reddick was in the hunt for the lead, a caution came out involving Reddick, Zane Smith, Christopher Bell and Austin Cindric in turn four. Bell, who led three laps at Las Vegas on Saturday, went on to finish 13th. Cindric in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford finished 22nd as a result of the crash. The field went back to green on lap 211.
The next race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series will be at ISM Raceway on March 9 at 4:00 p.m. ET. FOX Sports 1 will carry the live television broadcast while MRN Radio will carry the radio broadcast.