It was a hot day for the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) drivers at Texas Motor Speedway, and an even hotter topic is brewing after the My Bariatric Solutions 300. After Kyle Busch came out victorious on Saturday, July 18, in his 355th Xfinity start, NASCAR announced his No. 54 Toyota failed post-race inspection. That handed the win to Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, the second-place finisher, and denied Busch his second NXS win of 2020. It’s the third straight victory for Cindric in a most unexpected fashion after sweeping a doubleheader at Kentucky Speedway the week before.
Busch has previously won nine times in NASCAR’s second-tier division at Texas’ 1.5-mile oval. If this win held up, Busch’s victory would have been his record-setting 98th in the series.
Instead, his Joe Gibbs Racing team was disqualified for failing the height measurements in the left rear of the car. It erased a strong finish where Busch powered to the front, leading the final 10 laps while holding off Cindric on a final green-white-checkered restart.
Following Busch’s post-race inspection failure, he was shuffled back to last place. With Cindric now the winner, Briscoe was moved up to second, followed by Allgaier, Burton and pole sitter Michael Annett. Jeb Burton, Brandon Jones, Justin Haley, Ross Chastain and Brandon Brown rounded out the top-10 finishers.
It was a bizarre end to a race that began with some promise after Annett led the field to green shortly after 3 p.m. ET. Early crashes that took out Riley Herbst and Myatt Snider, respectively, removed the need for a competition caution as Cindric swooped into the early lead. He’d stay there throughout much of stage one, continuing his recent strength on intermediates.
But with 10 laps to go in the stage, Allgaier closed in, taking the point from Cindric and charging to a stage one win. The JR Motorsports driver would go on to lead a race-high 98 laps, adding stage two victory to his resume after continuing to cruise out front. It was a relatively drama-free middle stage of the event as Allgaier led wire-to-wire after passing Cindric one more time on the restart. The only on-track caution came when Snider’s rear panel was dropped onto the racing surface right around the exit of turn 2.
The final Texas stage began with Anthony Alfredo, running Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet, sitting on top of the scoring pylon. Alfredo pulled away in clean air before being challenged by Allgaier and Busch with less than 100 laps remaining in the race. By lap 107, while still running inside the top five, his promising run came to an end when Alfredo slammed the outside SAFER barrier in turn 2. The incident took Alfredo out of contention as suspension problems eventually left him stranded in the garage in 27th place.
On the other end of the caution flag, Kyle Busch restarted second below Allgaier after battling through the field most of the race for clean air. He finally overtook the top spot from Allgaier on lap 116 before the caution flew for Gragson striking the outside SAFER barrier, essentially in the same location Alfredo wrecked. Gragson’s car got rolling but he was unable to control his race car, smacking the outside SAFER barrier in turn 4 before driving to pit road on lap 119. The JR Motorsports driver took his car to the garage shortly after.
After that came a 73-lap, green-flag run that appeared to end with Busch holding the upper hand. Instead, it’ll go down as a disqualification, the first of its kind this season while handing Cindric a surprise victory.
3-in-a-row! Contender all day, not the conventional win today @TXMotorSpeedway but great day and points overall. Thank you thank you thank you @moneylionracing @Team_Penske @FordPerformance @MoneyLion
— Austin Cindric (@AustinCindric) July 18, 2020
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, July 25, at 5 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBC Sports.