Kyle Busch Victorious at Las Vegas iK9 Toyota Supra Driver Earns 93rd Career Xfinity Series Win

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Race Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner:  Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):

● Buschstarted eighth, finished 20th.

● Making his way into third on lap 12, Busch reported that he had a loose wheel. Busch pitted shortly thereafter for four tires and fuel before returning the track in the 33rd position, one lap down.

● Busch worked his way through the field to the 20th position by the end of Stage 1 but was two spots short of being in the Lucky Dog position when the caution flag waved on lap 45.

● Despite battling a “tight center-exit” condition toward the end of the first stage, crew chief Ben Beshore elected to keep Busch on track in the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra to take the wave-around and restart on the lead lap.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):           

● Started 19th, finished third. Earned eight bonus points.

● A quick caution at the beginning of Stage 2 allowed the No. 18 team to pit under yellow and address the handling conditions from the first stage of the race. Busch received four scuffed tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment on lap 61.

● Busch restarted 12th on lap 64 and made his way into the top-10 just one lap later.

● With fresher tires than the leaders, Busch reached the top-10 on lap 65 and took over fifth on lap 77.

● Busch reached the third position on lap 87 and maintained that spot until the end of the second stage.

● Still fighting a tight handling condition, Busch brought the iK9 Toyota Supra to pit road on lap 93 for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.

Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200): 

● Started third, finished first.

● Busch reported just nine laps into the final stage that he was “the tightest he had been all day” following the adjustments made at the stage break.

● Busch took the lead for the first time on lap 150 and owned the top spot until lap 180. After a short battle with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell, Busch regained the lead until lap 204.

● Following the sixth caution of Saturday’s event and first green-white-checkered attempt, Busch briefly lost the lead for one lap but once again reigned supreme, taking over the lead in the high line.

● Slowed again by a caution, Busch lined up first for one final restart and held off a charge from second-place finisher John Hunter Nemechek to earn his 93rd Xfinity Series victory.

Notes:                   

● Busch’s victory was his second in the Xfinity Series at his home track. His previous win came on March 5, 2016, in the Boyd Gaming 300.

● Saturday’s win is Busch’s 93rd career Xfinity Series win and his 197th across NASCAR’s top three series.

● Busch started eighth in the Boyd Gaming 300 after qualifying this morning was canceled due to inclement weather and the field was set by owner points, per the NASCAR rulebook.

● The No. 18 iK9 team is now second in the owner championship with 124 points.

● This was the second win in as many days for Busch, who also claimed a victory in Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.

● There were seven caution periods for a total of 37 laps.

● Only nine of the 38 drivers in the Boyd Gaming 300 finished on the lead lap.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing:        

“We had been fighting the balance with these cars lately and trying to be able to get that right. It’s either too loose or too tight. We couldn’t find a happy medium. We knew we had a fast car and needed to figure out how and where to stay in the game – and how we would be able to get back on the lead lap after the loose wheel earlier in the race, and get back on the tire strategy with everyone else. It could have been a long race. The last segment could go green the whole way. You pit once and you put one set of tires, and it could have equaled out. I thought, ‘OK, there’s an opportunity here. There’s a lot of things that have to go our way.’ Fortunately, that caution in the beginning of the second stage went our way and allowed us to put our first set of tires on with a fresh wheel and not have issues after that. I can’t say enough about all of our guys. Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and especially everyone from Xtreme Concepts and iK9. This Supra was fast out there today and awfully fun to drive. We worked for that one, that’s for sure.”

Next Up:               

The next event is the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix on Saturday, March 8. The race starts at 4 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FS1.

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