Taking advantage of a late wreck that foiled other contenders—not to mention fresher tires for the final six-lap green-flag run—Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Henry 180 at Road America, claiming his fourth NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in four starts this season.
On Lap 41 of 45, Busch took the lead from AJ Allmendinger, whose No. 16 Chevrolet was struggling on older tires.
Over the next four laps, the driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota widened his lead to 3.522 seconds at the finish over teammate Daniel Hemric, who ran second after passing Allmendinger for the runner-up spot.
Busch who won in his Road America debut and for the 101st time in his career, extending his own series record. The victory came after Busch experienced several off-track excursions that luckily didn’t deprive his car of the speed necessary to win.
“Obviously, tires—that was the saving grace for us,” said Busch, who got four new tires under caution on Lap 36. “We had a set of tires left over and (Allmendinger) didn’t.
“When we did put our last set of tires on, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to get through that many cars. I don’t know what happened on those last couple of restarts. I couldn’t really see what was happening. We were fortunate to get by that stuff and get through that stuff without any damage to our race car.”
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Busch restarted seventh on Lap 40 after the final caution for the multicar wreck. He made up four positions almost immediately and passed Allmendinger for the lead in Turn 3 on the following circuit.
Michael Annett overtook Allmendinger on the next-to-last lap and finished third. The winner of the first two stages, Allmendinger held fourth, with Harrison Burton completing the top five.
An 11-car wreck between Turns 2 and 3 after a restart on Lap 37 damaged the contending cars of Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier and set Busch up for his run to victory. Cindric appeared in control of the race until he pitted for tires after the No. 81 Toyota of Ty Gibbs stalled on the track with transmission issues on Lap 35 and caused the sixth caution of the race.
Cindric’s No. 22 Ford sustained damaged to the right rear in the melee that followed the restart, and he was forced to pit for repairs. Nevertheless, he charged to eighth place at the finish and holds an 89-point lead over second-place Allmendinger in the series standings.
“Sometimes it works out for you, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Cindric said philosophically. “Today was one of those days. It just wasn’t meant to be. If they gave out an award for cars passed, we would handily have that.
“I’m not sure there’s a corner on this car that doesn’t have damage. I appreciate the hard work by everybody. We had a decent points day, and we will move on.”
Gibbs, who edged Cindric for the pole position during Saturday morning’s time trials, was running second when his car stopped because of the broken transmission at the top of the hill in Turn 6. His 31st-place result was his worst in a part-time campaign that has produced two victories and seven top fives in nine starts.