Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 XFINITY Series race at Kansas Speedway, leading a race-high 150 of 200 laps along the way.
But after dominating the majority of the race, Busch found himself in a position where he needed to do some work down the stretch to secure the victory.
After a pit stop with 37 to go dropped him back in the field, Busch methodically worked his way back toward the front, aided by a series of cautions and at one point the free pass, until he was starting on the inside of the front row next to race leader Daniel Suarez with 14 laps left.
Busch surged to the lead on the ensuing restart and did not relinquish it again.
It was the Sprint Cup Series regular’s ninth win in just 16 series starts this season. He also added to his all-time record with the 85th triumph of his career in the series.
“There were a lot of things trying to work against us toward the end,” Busch said. “We just persevered and made it through everything.”
Busch was hardly the only story on the day, however.
The XFINITY Chase playoff race within the actual race also made for some interesting action filled with important consequences for a number of drivers.
Elliott Sadler and Suarez finished second and third, respectively, and were the highest-finishing XFINITY Chasers. Cup regulars Joey Logano and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five after an entertaining duel over the closing laps.
It was the first race in the Round of 8 for the inaugural XFINITY Chase. The playoff field was trimmed from 12 drivers to the eight who participated Saturday after the first three Chase races, and will be trimmed again – this time to four – after the next two races.
Blake Koch was the only other XFINITY Chaser to finish in the top 10, and he came home in ninth.
Others weren’t nearly as fortunate.
With 18 laps to go, Chaser Erik Jones was on the outside of the front row on a restart, next to Ty Dillon, who was eliminated from the Chase last week at Charlotte. Larson started behind them on Row 2 and immediately tried to press the issue, which led Larson to get into the back of Jones, who then tagged Dillon in the side of his car.
The end result was a tire rub that forced Jones to pit his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota immediately, costing him any chance he had not only of winning but finishing in the top 10. He ended up 15th.
Justin Allgaier and Darrell Wallace Jr. were innocent but costly bystanders when Brandon Jones got into the rear end of Allgaier and triggered a multi-car wreck with 35 laps remaining.
As the cars exited Turn 1, Jones’ No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet clipped the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevy of Allgaier, who subsequently spun up the track and immediately was plowed into by the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Wallace.
“The 33 just absolutely destroyed us!” Allgaier complained over his team radio shortly after the accident, which was, for the most part, narrowly avoided by yet another Chase participant in Ryan Reed. Allgaier recovered to finish 14th, the fourth-highest finishing Chaser.
Wallace appeared woozy as he climbed from his car afterward, and was being checked out on the scene by medical personnel even though he said he was fine.
“Just unfortunate circumstances, you know. … I think we could have gotten a top 10 if we hit the restarts just right,” Wallace said. “But it just wasn’t our day. We were trying to make the most of it and get out of here with a clean finish.”
That didn’t happen for Brendan Gaughan, either, as Gaughan went for a long slide through the infield grass after making contact with Ross Chastain with 24 laps to go. Gaughan ended up 31st, just two spots ahead of Wallace in 33rd. They were the two worst finishes of any Chase participants.