By how fast Kyle Busch drove in Friday’s Alsco 300, it’s quite the surprise that it’s his first victory at Kentucky Speedway in 12 years.
Leading 185 of 201 laps, Busch – outside of a constant threat by teammate Erik Jones – had the field covered en route to his 81st XFINITY Series win and fifth of 2016.
“I was hoping it was go green to the end,” Busch said. “We got a caution late in the game that set up [an overtime finish]. It feels good to get back into Victory Lane here at Kentucky. It’s been a long, long time for me.”
Losing the lead on a restart with 25 laps to go, Busch was “proved wrong” by choosing the inside lane.
“I didn’t want the outside,” Busch said. “I just didn’t think it was going to carry the speed like the inside would. I certainly learned from that and then when he had his problems, it just handed the race back to us.”
Make no mistake, a lead-grabbing restart by Erik Jones wasn’t the only time Busch’s dominance was in question. On a NASCAR Overtime restart, Austin Dillon made a three-wide move for the lead as they raced into Turn 1. Though the move was gutsy, the No. 2 Chevrolet was unable to steal the win from Busch, crossing the line in second place.“I just pulled left and was able to run wide open through Turn 1 and 2,” Dillon said. “We come off Turn 2 beside Kyle and I’m thinking that we’re in a great position. I don’t know if I gave him too much room getting into 3 but he was able to make a power move there off 3 and 4 and hold on. I hadn’t see a car do that all night.”
Coming home third was Daniel Suarez, who grabbed his third top 5 in the last four races while he family came out to the truck on Friday night.
“My family doesn’t have the opportunity to come very often,” Suarez said. “This is the first race they come to this year. It’s cool, exciting and more fun. To have some racing and family time at the same time is always cool.”
Missing from the podium finishers is Erik Jones, who accidently hit the ignition switch under a late caution, forfeiting his race lead and pushing him back to third on the ensuing restart after being handed a penalty for failing to keep caution speed.
“I was trying to get ready for the restart the best I could and apparently I was too far behind the pace car,” Jones said. “I don’t know what the rule definition is there and have far back you can be but apparently that was too slow and they put us back to third.”
Jones wasn’t the only driver who had some tough moments. Racing on the newly configured surface of Kentucky, many drivers had issues of passing, as the second groove didn’t significantly make an impact.
Brennan Poole finished ninth, saying he was “stuck” at times in the race.
“It’s tough on these repaves because it seemed like everyone was really good tonight,” Poole said. “We were all running the same speed so it was really tough to pass. At the end, that restart was just nuts! It was four wide in front of me and I just didn’t have anywhere to go. I wanted to go somewhere and I just didn’t have anywhere to go.”
Sixth-place Elliott Sadler gave credit to Goodyear for preparing well for the new challenge.
“I think Goodyear did a good job,” Sadler said. “They were kind of under the gun to bring a tire here. We had a little issue but it could’ve been a lot worse. So my hats off the them for building a durable tire.”
Completing the top 5 was Darrell Wallace, Jr., who was followed by Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top 10.
Ryan Preece tied his career-best effort, finishing 15th for JD Motorsports.