Xfinity Series News (7342)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Tyler Reddick Overcomes Mid-Race Flat Tire to Collect Third Top-Five Finish This Year
"We had another really solid No. 2 Hurdl Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. My team worked so hard on this Camaro, from putting in the work back at the shop to fixing it up after I scraped the wall in practice. I'm really proud of us for completing the weekend sweep for RCR with pole awards in both series. That was a nice 'thank you' that I could give them for the effort they've put in these past couple of weeks. We had to fight for our third top-five finish of the year today. I started off a little too loose but built tight eventually as the race went on. We had a flat right rear tire midway through the final stage after I brushed the wall, causing us to pit off sequence and go a lap down. We got lucky when a caution came out soon after, which allowed us to take the wave around and get our lap back. We had a great car and were able to get back into the top five, but I hate that we weren't able to really get back up to the front and fight for the win. This one should have been ours. We were so close. I'm looking forward to Texas and getting back at it still as the points leader."
Thanks to Cole Custer, Kyle Busch will have to wait at least one more day.
With a determined run to the finish in Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway, Custer kept Busch at bay after a restart with 20 laps left and thwarted Busch’s march toward 200 victories across NASCAR’s top three national series.
In winning for the third time in his career and the first time at his home track, the Ladera Ranch, Calif., native grabbed the lead from Christopher Bell on Lap 132 of 150 and pulled away to beat Busch to the finish by 1.927 seconds, after Busch passed Bell for second on Lap 136.
For his part, Busch fell one spot short of win No. 200 after a self-inflicted wound by his pit crew sent the No. 18 Toyota to the back of the field for a restart on Lap 118. Four circuits earlier, under caution, a problem with the jack on the left side of the car cost Busch 10 spots on pit road.
But the coup de grace was a penalty for an uncontrolled tire that forced him to restart at the tail end of the field and gave Custer a chance out front in clean air.
“It means a ton,” said the 21-year-old Custer. “As great a driver as Kyle Busch is, he’s going to be one of the legends of our sport. To keep him one race more from getting 200 means a lot. I’m sure he’s a little bit frustrated, but we have a great time racing him.”
Once Custer passed Bell for the lead, his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford took off.
“We had a pretty good car all day,” said Custer, who led four times for a total of 29 laps. “It was just a matter of getting out front. We got our car to turn a little better, and that was kind of the difference.”
After restarting sixth on Lap 131, Busch, who won the first two stages and led 98 laps, couldn’t match Custer’s speed over the last 20 circuits.
“Lack of grip there at the end," said Busch, who will have his next shot at his 200th win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "We just didn't have the speed we needed with the No. 00.
“Earlier in the day we were two tenths (of a second) better than some of the guys, and there at the end, we weren't. It is what it is, I guess… Our Supra was fast, just not enough at the end. At the end there, he (Custer) was really good and really fast and had a good car. They got better throughout the day and got closer to our rear bumper there on that second-to-last run before we had our pit road problems and dropped us back in the pack.
"Obviously, we were able to rebound, but when you have a fast guy out front and a fast guy in second, they run the same times, and they stay the same distance apart. We just weren’t quick enough there at the end to chase them down."
Bell held third despite fighting handling issues throughout the afternoon. Polesitter Tyler Reddick recovered from several brushes with the outside wall to run fourth. Chase Briscoe was fifth in the No. 98 Ford.
Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and Ryan Preece all recovered from spins to come home sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley completed the top 10.
Asked how he planned to celebrate the victory, Custer had a ready reply.
“This year, I can drink,” he quipped.
Cole Custer celebrated in victory lane on Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in the No. 00 Thompson Pipe / Haas CNC Ford. Custer, the third-place starter in the 300-mile event, led the field for 29 circuits to score his third career NASCAR XFINITY Series win.
Custer passed race leader Christopher Bell with 19 laps remaining and never looked back. Bell was later passed by Kyle Busch for the second spot and went on to a third-place finish. The driver of the No. 00 Ford saw the lead four times throughout the event.
Kyle Busch finished runner-up in Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300. Busch, who started in second and entered the afternoon looking for national series win No. 200, led 98 of the 150 laps. However, late-race miscues on pit road that included a slow pit stop and an uncontrolled tire penalty, relegated the race dominator to the 13th position for the restart.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran, who won both stages of the event, worked his way through the field quickly. However, Custer, eventual race winner, was no match for the No. 18 Toyota.
Christopher Bell rounded out the top three finishers on Saturday at Auto Club Speedway. The driver of the No. 20 Toyota, who started fourth on the leaderboard, leaves the 2.0-mile oval with his second top five and third top 10 finish this year.
Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe took home the fourth and fifth spots.
Rest of the top 10 finishers included Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece, Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley.
The first two stages at Auto Club Speedway went clean and green. The first on-track incident occurred on lap 83 when John Hunter Nemechek had a miscommunication and went across the nose of the No. 39 Chevrolet of Ryan Sieg. Nemechek spun into the inside retaining wall separating the track and pit road and was done for the day as a result. Nemechek finished 28th while Sieg continued to finish 11th.
On lap 110, with 40 laps to go, Austin Cindric brought out the yellow flag in turn four. Despite the incident, Cindric continued his way in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford to finish sixth.
Not long after going green, Brandon Jones brought out the fifth and final yellow flag of the day in turn three. Jones, in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, went on to a seventh-place finish.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series will take a weekend off and return at Texas Motor Speedway on March 30th. The My Bariatric Solutions 300 will take place at 1:00 p.m. ET. live on FS1 and PRN Radio.
This past weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) headed back out west to ISM Raceway for the running of the iK9 Service Dog 300. The 1 mile, newly reconfigured, relatively high-speed track just outside Phoenix proved to be a race of attrition.
Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 4 EZ Angus Ranch/RM Parks Inc. Chevrolet Camaro SS, started the day off with a 16th place run in Qualifying. For the majority of the race, he positioned himself within the Top 15 positions, occasionally breaking into the Top 10 at some points in the race. It was an “under the radar” type of day for the No. 4 team, solid nonetheless. At the end of the day, Ross came home with a respectable 17th place finish. He currently sits comfortably in the 11th spot in the points standings.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 Camaro SS, started in the 25th position, and raced consistently in the Top 25 for most of the afternoon. On the last pit stop, veteran crew chief Wayne Carroll made a chassis adjustment that helped McLeod pick up some spots late in the race. At the end of the day, the No. 15 crew came home with a solid 21st place finish, helping McLeod jump to 21st in the season standings.
Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Camaro SS, picked up the most positions out of the JD Motorsports crew after starting from the 28th position. Smithley ran a mostly conservative campaign, running around the 25th spot for the bulk of the race. However, when it came to the last stage, he was able to position himself near the Top 20, ultimately coming home with a 22nd place finish. This was Smithley’s fourth Top 25 result of the season, and he currently sits 17th in the season standings.
Unfortunately, the of bad luck for Stephen Leicht didn’t come to an end in the desert. Leicht, driver of the No. 01 Camaro SS, was having his best run of the season by a considerable margin early on. He managed to stay on the lead lap for the most part of the race, sitting comfortably in the 19th position, until his engine grenaded on lap 129. The freak accident was enough to take himself out of the race, finishing in the 31st position. He currently sits in the 31st position in points as well, and certainly wants to turn his luck around next weekend in Fontana.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Sunny Southern California with the running of the Production Alliance Group 300 at the Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, March 16th. This will be the third and final leg of the West Coast Swing, so be sure to tune in to FOX Sports 1 to watch live coverage at 5:00 PM Eastern Time (2:00 PM local).
11th. Ross Chastain (43 behind leader)
17th. Garrett Smithley (-102)
21st. BJ McLeod (-113)
31st. Stephen Leicht (-140)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):
● Busch started third and finished third.
● On lap 21 while running second, Busch reported that his No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra was too loose at the start of the run, but also tight in the center of turns one and two.
● During the first caution of the race on lap 33, crew chief Ben Beshore called Busch to the pits for four tires, fuel, and wedge and air pressure adjustments.
● Busch was the second car off pit road under the caution, but with seven cars staying on track, he restarted ninth.
● On the lap-39 restart, Busch gained six spots to reach the third position. He held that spot until the end of Stage 1.
● Busch stayed on track during the stage break to assume second place when the leader pitted.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):
● Started second and finished second.
● Busch took the lead for the first time on lap 53, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell. The duo raced side-by-side, with Bell retaking the lead on lap 58 before Busch regained the top spot on lap 59 and held the point for 11 laps. Bell retook the lead on lap 70 and held it through the end of the stage.
● On lap 71, Busch radioed that he was still fighting a tight-handling condition in turns one and two, but was also loose in turns three and four.
● At the conclusion of the stage, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He returned to the track in second.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):
● Started second and finished first.
● Busch took the lead on the lap-100 restart, once again overtaking Bell.
● On lap 125, Busch stated that his iK9 Toyota Supra was a little loose on exit and that it needed more rear grip. Busch said he liked the adjustments made on the last stop, but “needed a little more” on the final stop.
● During the fourth and final caution of the race on lap 133, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment.
● The final caution was for fluid on the track, which sent three drivers spinning, including Bell, who hit the wall, ending his race.
● First off pit road on lap 134, Busch held onto the lead for the final 67 laps.
● This was Busch’s series-leading 11th Xfinity Series win at ISM Raceway. His previous win came on Nov. 12, 2016 when he started from the pole and led all but 10 of the race’s 200 laps.
● This was Busch’s second straight Xfinity Series victory, as he won last Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
● Saturday’s win was Busch’s 94th career Xfinity Series win and his 198th across NASCAR’s top-three series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (51), Xfinity Series (94) and Gander Outdoors Truck Series (53).
● Busch led four times for a race-high 116 laps in the iK9 Service Dog 200, bringing his laps-led total in the Xfinity Series at ISM Raceway to and astounding 2,156.
● The No. 18 iK9 team is now first in the owners’ championship with 181 points.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 35 laps.
● Only 13 of the 37 drivers in the iK9 Service Dog 200 finished on the lead lap.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“Can’t say enough about our guys at Joe Gibbs Racing. Obviously, they build really fast Supras. I want to say thanks to iK9. This is the iK9 Service Dog 200, so it’s really, really cool to be able to win for them again, and to be able to put them in victory lane back-to-back and in their race here at ISM Raceway. Super thankful for them for the opportunity to come out here and run a few races each year and to be able to put on a good show.
“Certainly want to give thanks to Mark Cronquist. These JGR engines were strong. Monster Energy, Cessna, Adidas, DVX Eyewear, Black Clover and the fans.
“It’s always cool to come out with Rowdy Nation and having their support and everybody that backs us and what we’re able to do and what we’re able to accomplish. Obviously, we’re doing a lot of those things these days. There’s a lot of talk and all that sort of stuff, but hey, if I’m allowed to enter a race, I’m going to enter a race. I’m going to go out there and race and I’m going to go out there and try to win. If I win, we win. If not, we’ve got to go again the next time. These guys here, they’re great. Congrats to all these guys that works so hard to get me where I’m at.
“We worked on this iK9 Toyota Supra all day. A lot like last week, just trying to put it all together. We certainly were off a little bit early on in the beginning. Christopher (Bell) was superfast and really, really good. We kept making the adjustments to get it to where he was. We were doing a good job of that. I hate it that he got caught up in that mess behind us and we weren’t able to race it out there at the end. I figured we were going to and it was going to be a heck of a JGR showdown at the end.”
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Production Alliance Group 300 on Saturday, March 16 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 5 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.
Tyler Reddick Finishes Third in No. 2 Hurdl Chevrolet at ISM Raceway and Takes Over Lead in Series Standings
"ISM Raceway has always been a tricky place for me, but I think we made some positive gains here today. RCR brought another solid No. 2 Hurdl Chevrolet Camaro to the track, which helped me figure out a couple more things about this track. The balance of our Camaro was great all race long, just building tight a little bit throughout the length of a run. We tried to off-set that by firing off a little looser than we normally would, knowing that the track was building tight. We luckily avoided getting caught up in the wreck that took out the 20 and 7, but we just couldn't get enough at the end of the race to really challenge Kyle Busch. I've got more to continue to learn here at Phoenix, but I feel good about where we'll be when we come back in the fall. In the meantime though, I'm really looking forward to next week at California and proud we are heading there as the points leader. It's a track I love and think we'll have a good shot at the win."
How did Kyle Busch win Saturday’s IK9 Service Dog 200 at ISM Raceway?
Poof! His closest pursuers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Busch was out front on Lap 130 when the engine in the No. 01 Chevrolet of Stephen Leicht exploded in front of Justin Allgaier and pole winner Christopher Bell, who were running second and third at the time.
Enveloped in a Days-of-Thunder-style cloud of smoke, Allgaier spun in the fluid from Leicht’s car, hitting the outside wall and damaging the rear of his car. Bell, the series leader entering the race, fared far worse.
His No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota backed into the outside wall, crumpling the rear of the car beyond repair. Bell exited the race in 30th place.
With his two most formidable challengers out of the picture, Busch led the field to the subsequent restart on Lap 143 and stayed out front the rest of the way, beating runner-up Ryan Truex to the finish line by 3.025 seconds.
The victory was Busch’s 11th at ISM Raceway, tying him with NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Mark Martin for most Xfinity wins at a single track. Martin accomplished the feat at Rockingham.
Busch won for the second time in two starts this season and for the record 94th time in the series, bringing his total victories across NASCAR’s three national series to 198 and putting him within reach of his stated goal of 200 during the current West Coast Swing.
Three races remain before NASCAR heads back east to Martinsville. Busch will compete in Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at ISM Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) before running both the Cup and Xfinity races next weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
“Christopher was certainly going to give me a run for my money today,” Busch said of his JGR teammate. “I can’t say enough about the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing. Obviously, they build really fast Supras … Christopher, I hate he got caught up in that mess. Obviously, it was going to be a really fun run to the end there.”
Busch deflected the notion that he’s toying with the competition in the lower series.
“There’s a lot of talk and that sort of stuff, but if I’m allowed to enter a race, I’m going to enter the race and go out there and try to win it,” said Busch, who led 116 of the 200 laps. “If I win, I win. If not, we’ve got to go again the next time.”
Bell led 68 laps and won the second stage but fell to third soon after a restart on Lap 101 and couldn’t advance. Then came Leicht’s engine explosion and the end of Bell’s race.
“As soon as I entered the smoke wall, I couldn’t see anything,” Bell said. “I lost my bearings of where I was and the next thing you know, I was in the wall. Frustrating and very disappointing, because our Rheem Supra was extremely strong.
“I don’t know, it was weird. My car didn’t really feel that much worse that run, but once I got back behind those guys, I just really couldn’t pass them.”
Truex started ninth, fell back early but worked his way back through the field in his first run in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. After Bell and Allgaier crashed, Truex restarted second on Lap 143 and kept reigning series champion and eventual third-place finisher Tyler Reddick behind him.
“I guess it’s good when you lose to Kyle Busch,” Truex said. “I just got us behind there at the start. I was too free, and I couldn’t run anywhere on the track, so I lost a lot of track position early. We worked hard all day to get it back.
“I got that restart behind Kyle and was able to get a huge run in (Turns) 1 and 2. Our car was just so good on the long runs that I was able to hold Reddick off.”
For his part, Reddick inherited the series lead from Bell.
“I’m not very good at this race track,” said Reddick, who leads Bell by four points. “But hats off to RCR (Richard Childress Racing), they brought a fantastic Chevrolet. Our Camaro was great through most of this race. I honestly couldn’t give us a good sense of direction, so we just kind of threw in here what Daniel (Hemric) ran last year.
“Had a pretty good setup under this thing. Hopefully, I can figure out what I need to break through and contend with the 18 (Busch) in the end. All in all, it’s better than what I’ve run in the past. I’m just not very good at this race track.”
Cole Custer ran fourth, followed by fellow Ford drivers Austin Cindric (the Stage 1 winner) and Chase Briscoe, who fought his way forward after a pit road speeding penalty with an impressive closing drive. Brandon Jones was seventh, ahead of Daytona winner Michael Annett, John Hunter Nemecheck and Ryan Sieg, who recorded his third top-10 finish in four starts.