Kyle Busch dominates Pit Boss 250 from pole, 2 away from 100 Xfinity wins

It does not matter where and when it happened. If there is a NASCAR Xfinity Series race and Kyle Busch is entered, he is going to be a contender.

Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of the Americas marked the first time that NASCAR raced at the Austin road course, yet it did not take long for Busch to acclimate himself to the track as he led thirty-five of forty-six laps from the pole. With his ninety-eighth career Xfinity win, he is now two victories away from the century mark.

Busch, running his first Xfinity race of the year, was the fastest in qualifying ahead of fellow Cup Series driver Ross Chastain. Chastain was originally not entered for the race, but took over the #07 SS-Green Light Racing machine from Joe Graf Jr. after Graf strained his knee earlier in the week; Graf practiced on Friday, but found his injury hampered his performance too much and elected to sit out the event. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jesse Little, Kyle Weatherman, Josh Williams, Bayley Currey were all full-time drivers who failed to qualify for the race, as did Stephen Leicht and Caesar Bacarella. Daniel Hemric (transmission change), Kris Wright (engine change), and Ryan Sieg (engine change and unapproved post-inspection adjustments) were all sent to the rear.

After Busch led the first eleven laps, Boris Said and Ryan Ellis produced the first caution of the race when their cars stalled on the track. Said, a longtime road course ringer, was running his first race since retiring in 2017. Noah Gragson spun off course and suffered an engine failure, ending his race after thirteen laps.

The yellow resulted in a two-lap run to the end of the opening stage, one that A.J. Allmendinger won ahead of Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, Andy Lally, Jeremy Clements, Justin Allgaier, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Austin Cindric, and Miguel Paludo. Busch and various other drivers pitted during the yellow.

Allgaier stayed out between stages to take the lead for the restart. Cindric, who led Friday’s practice, took the lead on lap 18 and led two laps before Busch was back on top. Shortly after Busch claimed the top spot, Tommy Joe Martins suffered an engine failure and brought out a yellow flag. Another restart came on lap 23 as Busch continued to lead. Paludo retired from the race with a rear gear issue.

In a repeat of Stage #1, Busch and the others elected to pit before the segment’s conclusion. This cycled the lead to Justin Haley who took the stage win. Michael Annett, Jade Buford, Dillon, Busch, Clements, Allgaier, Allmendinger, Harvick, and Colby Howard rounded out the top ten. Wright and Timmy Hill joined Paludo, Martins, and Gragson as the race’s additional retirements during the stage after they also blew their engines.

Busch assumed the lead to start the final stage. Unlike its two predecessors, Stage #3 ran entirely green with the only incidents being mechanical problems or single-car spins. Facing little opposition, Busch drove off to the win with an eleven-second margin over second-placed Allmendinger.

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In addition to becoming the first Xfinity winner at COTA, Busch enjoys his third series road course victory and first since Watkins Glen International in 2017; the first was at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in 2007. The 2009 series champion has run at four road courses in NASCAR’s second tier, with Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal being the lone one that he failed to win at as he finished tenth in two starts in 2009 and 2012. Montreal is no longer on the NASCAR schedule, meaning a win there is impossible barring a return, though Busch has a chance to add to his slate at Road America in July.

“It’s really, really cool to come here for the first race at a new track and win,” Busch said after the race. “I’m kicking myself right now because I never won at Montreal, but I won at every other road course I’ve raced at, so it’s kind of a bummer, but overall real proud of the effort.”

Besides Busch, Harvick (fourth), Cole Custer (seventh), Reddick (eighth), Austin Dillon (thirteenth), and Chastain (thirtieth) were among the full-time Cup drivers running the Xfinity race in preparation for their main event on Sunday. Harvick scored B.J. McLeod Motorsports‘s best finish and only the team’s second top five after David Starr—who was replaced by Said in the MBM Motorsports #13 for COTA—did so at Daytona in 2017. Reddick and Dillon’s runs respectively débuted the Xfinity programmes for Jordan Anderson Racing and Bassett Racing after both teams had been locked out of the non-qualifying races to start the year.

Among the one-off drivers and road ringers, Preston Pardus finished fourteenth. Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly, who are team-mates in IMSA, finished next to each other in eighteenth and nineteenth; Pumpelly was making his NASCAR début. Said finished thirty-first as the last car running.

Race results

Finish Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
1 1 54 Kyle Busch* Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46 Running
2 7 16 A.J. Allmendinger Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
3 9 7 Justin Allgaier JR Motorsports Chevrolet 46 Running
4 12 5 Kevin Harvick* B.J. McLeod Motorsports Ford 46 Running
5 8 22 Austin Cindric Team Penske Ford 46 Running
6 10 20 Harrison Burton Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46 Running
7 3 17 Cole Custer* SS-Green Light Racing Ford 46 Running
8 5 31 Tyler Reddick* Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
9 6 11 Justin Haley Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
10 11 10 Jeb Burton Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
11 35 1 Michael Annett JR Motorsports Chevrolet 46 Running
12 21 02 Brett Moffitt Our Motorsports Chevrolet 46 Running
13 17 77 Austin Dillon* Bassett Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
14 22 91 Preston Pardus DGM Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
15 18 48 Jade Buford Big Machine Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
16 29 98 Riley Herbst Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 46 Running
17 19 19 Brandon Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46 Running
18 13 23 Andy Lally Our Motorsports Chevrolet 46 Running
19 16 6 Spencer Pumpelly JD Motorsports Chevrolet 46 Running
20 4 36 Alex Labbé DGM Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
21 23 2 Myatt Snider Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
22 30 4 Landon Cassill JD Motorsports Chevrolet 46 Running
23 33 51 Jeremy Clements Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
24 31 99 Ryan Ellis B.J. McLeod Motorsports Toyota 46 Running
25 34 39 Ryan Sieg RSS Racing Ford 46 Running
26 14 68 Brandon Brown Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet 46 Running
27 25 52 Gray Gaulding Jimmy Means Racing Chevrolet 46 Running
28 27 15 Colby Howard JD Motorsports Chevrolet 46 Running
29 26 18 Daniel Hemric Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 46 Running
30 2 07 Ross Chastain* SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet 36 Running
31 24 13 Boris Said MBM Motorsports Toyota 35 Running
32 36 26 Kris Wright* Sam Hunt Racing Toyota 29 Engine
33 28 66 Timmy Hill* MBM Motorsports Toyota 29 Engine
34 15 8 Miguel Paludo JR Motorsports Chevrolet 25 Rear Gear
35 32 44 Tommy Joe Martins Martins Motorsports Chevrolet 19 Engine
36 20 9 Noah Gragson JR Motorsports Chevrolet 13 Engine
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points

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