On old rub­ber, Kyle Busch con­tin­ues phe­nom­e­nal roll

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By REID SPENCER

NASCAR Wire Ser­vice

— About the only thing Kyle Busch didn’t win on Satur­day was the one prize he wasn’t el­i­gi­ble for.

But the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Rac­ing Toy­ota won ev­ery­thing else, cap­ping a phe­nom­e­nal day at In­di­anapo­lis Mo­tor Speed­way with a vic­tory in the Lilly Di­a­betes 250 NASCAR XFIN­ITY Se­ries race—and he did so with tires that were 23 laps older than those of his pur­suers.

Busch led 62 of 63 laps but had to hold off Kevin Har­vick on a two lap dash in over­time to win for the third time at the Brick­yard, the sev­enth time in 11 starts this sea­son and the 83rd time in his ca­reer, ex­tend­ing his se­ries record.

The XFIN­ITY race was ac­tu­ally the fourth com­pe­ti­tion Busch won on Satur­day. First, he won the top start­ing spot for the Lilly Di­a­betes 250, the 54th pole of his ca­reer. Next, he won the pole po­si­tion for Sun­day’s Crown Royal 400 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN), one of the mar­quee NASCAR Sprint Cup Se­ries events of the sea­son.

SPEED­WAY, IND.

Af­ter that Busch led all 20 laps and took the check­ered flag in the first heat race un­der the XFIN­ITY Se­ries’ fi­nal Dash 4 Cash event of the sea­son.

Busch didn’t win the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, a prize avail­able only to se­ries reg­u­lars. That check went to Justin All­gaier, who rolled home in fifth place, the high­est fin­isher among the four driv­ers who earned el­i­gi­bil­ity in the heat races.

Busch, how­ever, has one more moun­tain to climb. On Sun­day, he’ll at­tempt to com­plete his sec­ond straight week­end sweep at the vaunted Brick­yard.

Busch held off Har­vick, third-place fin­isher Paul Me­nard and fourth­place Kyle Lar­son even though Busch had stayed out on old rub­ber while those be­hind him pit­ted for new tires un­der the first cau­tion on Lap 50.

“The new tires for those guys were good for them but not so good for us,” Busch said. “I just dug in deep and gave it ev­ery­thing I had. I knew I had to get re­ally good restarts. On the sec­ond-to-last one (on Lap 54), I got a re­ally good one, and then the last one (on lap 62 in over­time), it was OK.

“I got an OK one, and I saw Har­vick pull out… but he never got along­side of me. I never felt him close enough that he was go­ing to pull along­side. ... It’s a pretty awe­some feel­ing to be able to go back to Vic­tory Lane here this year. We’re sit­ting on the pole to­mor­row, and hope­fully we can have an­other sweep here.”

Busch had a lead of more than eight sec­onds on Lap 48 of a sched­uled 60 when JGR team­mate Erik Jones, the wire-to-wire win­ner of the sec­ond heat race, blew a right rear tire en­ter­ing Turn 1 and spun, caus­ing the af­ter­noon’s first cau­tion.

While Busch and se­ries leader Daniel Suarez stayed out on old tires, the re­main­ing eight lead-lap cars came to pit road. Busch sur­vived the restart on lap 54, but a lap later, ay Black Jr. and Har­ri­son Rhodes wrecked off Turn 2 to bring put the sec­ond yel­low and force the over­time.

On the Lap 62 restart, Har­vick pushed Lar­son, then ducked to the in­side but was re­luc­tant to take a bad an­gle into the first cor­ner. As Har­vick and Lar­son bat­tled briefly for sec­ond, Busch pulled away and ul­ti­mately crossed the fin­ish line .411 sec­onds ahead of Har­vick’s No. 88 JR Mo­tor­sports Chevro­let.

“I re­ally thought I could beat him down the back­stretch if I got off of (Turn) 2 well and could clear the 42 (Lar­son),” Har­vick said. “I got to the in­side and kind of hit the chip and de­cided to hold the line up a lit­tle bit and try to get a run, and the 42 got stuck on the out­side and that ru­ined my plan.

“But our goal was to over­achieve today, and we did that and cap­i­tal­ized on some sit­u­a­tions and had a cou­ple of good restarts and wound up sec­ond. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day.”

Just nowhere near as good as the one Busch had.

GETTY IMAGES FOR NASCAR

Kyle Busch cel­e­brates in vic­tory lane af­ter win­ning the NASCAR XFIN­ITY Se­ries Lilly Di­a­betes 250 at In­di­anapo­lis Mo­tor Speed­way on Satur­day in In­di­anapo­lis, Ind.

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