As the stars of NASCAR charged onto their first road course of the 2017 season, two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers would officially engrave their names in the record book as road course ringers.
With a victory in this weekend’s Zippo 200 XFINITY Series race, Kyle Busch continued to tick items off his bucket list, including becoming known as a road course ringer. Despite fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup driver Joey Logano obtaining the pole and his Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski winning the first stage of this race, Busch took over the lead after both drivers collided on pit road on Lap 49 of 82.
Busch gained time by staying on the track for five more laps, and by the time he exited pit road on lap 55, he was 1.2 seconds ahead of Keselowski and more than 10 seconds ahead of Logano, who had a lengthy pit stop due to a stuck lug nut.
Busch held the top spot the rest of the way, surviving a restart with three laps left after Casey Mears ran out of fuel and stalled on the track to bring out the fifth and final caution of the afternoon and obtain another XFINITY Series win, his first at the New York road course.
“Pit road was pretty good for us,” said Busch. “We stayed out long on that one run, and we were able to cycle back up to the lead. It worked two weeks in a row that way. I don’t know how much longer we can do that before they figure it out, but it’s been working for us, so we’ll take it.”
Following this win, Busch said he plans to retire from NASCAR XFINITY Series racing when he reaches 100 victories. With the new rule changes being implemented for the 2018 season, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veterans can compete in only seven XFINITY races during the year, which would mean that this Cup veteran could be competing against the newest NASCAR talent until 2019.
I Love New York 355
While it appeared that Kyle Busch would pull off the road course sweep at Watkins Glen after winning the pole for Sunday’s I Love New York 355 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, his reign was short lived. Despite leading all 20 laps of the race’s first stage, a bad pit stop left his left front wheel loose, requiring Busch to return under caution during the stage break to correct the problem. This stop left him deep in the field for the restart on Lap 25.
Although Saturday’s XFINITY Series winner worked his way back to the top-10, on Lap 45 his No. 18 Toyota collided with Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford in the bus stop chicane, sending both cars off course and leaving Busch behind for the remainder of this race.
This gave rookie Daniel Suarez a chance to take the lead and the Stage 2 win. Suarez’s lead would eventually fall to the wayside as well, giving Martin Truex, Jr. the chance to become the race leader and, eventually, winner.
At a track where he was a garage rat as a child, Martin Truex Jr. saved enough fuel to hold off a desperate charge from Matt Kenseth on the final lap, with Truex streaking across the finish line .414 seconds ahead of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Camry to pick up his fourth victory of the season.
“I’m a little bit lost for words because I’ve been thinking about this one a long time – all weekend, all day,” said Truex. “You’ve just got to listen to your crew chief and, luckily for me, I’ve got the best one in the business, and I just believe in him so much, and I just do what he says and it seems to work out.”
The so-called garage rat continues to lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points battle ahead of race pole-sitter Kyle Busch by more than 100 points going into next weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway.
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