Before this weekend, one of the most ingrained memories linking Kyle Busch and Nashville Superspeedway together was the smashing of a victory lane trophy to smithereens following a victory at the track located on the outskirts of Nashville, Tenn.
He carved up another one on Saturday afternoon (June 19) in the Tennessee Lottery 250, demolishing the hopes that other frontrunners had of taking the win, his 100th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Moments after climbing from his car and greeting fans with his customary bow, Busch could not help but think of the dominance of another era in NASCAR’s No. 2 series.
“I remember growing up as a kid and watching Mark Martin win every week in that 60 car, just the domination he had,” Busch told NASCAR on NBC following his win. “And he’s No. 2 with 49 wins.”
As for the fate of the guitar this time after winning? Busch initially raised the musical instrument up in victory lane as if it was about to be smashed before putting it back down.
“Having a little fun. What’s the harm in having a little fun?” Busch said. “It is what it is. It happened, and today it didn’t. We’ll move on and I guess I don’t have to give pieces out to the rest of my crew guys. Maybe I’ll just buy a whole one for the guys who were on this 100th win and let them have their whole ones.”
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) June 19, 2021
In a race that saw just one on-track caution through the first two stages, the final 50 laps were anything but calm with five cautions in the final stage. It reracked the field multiple times, forcing Busch, who won stage two by multiple seconds, to fight for every inch of a race victory. He and his No. 54 car were up to par each time, holding off charges on three restarts in the final 30 laps.
This included overtime set up by a caution brought out by Landon Cassill, a sequence also marked by Justin Allgaier furiously fighting off Brandon Jones for second. That side-by-side fight wouldn’t end, and it helped Busch immensely. During overtime, Busch pulled away and when Jones was able to join a handful of others racing for second, it allowed Busch to pull away and race into history.
It was a bitter taste for Allgaier, who finished second. Like a week ago, the chance to overtake Busch late was there, and on Saturday he was able to race side-by-side with Busch following restarts with 38 and 28 to go. Busch was once again stronger than Allgaier in the end.
“Running second sucks, I’m not going to lie to you,” Allgaier said. “When we took the lead from Kyle, I thought we were good. We were able to drive away there, and when those restarts came, he got me down in three and four and we got loose and I think that was the difference-maker. After that, we just didn’t have the speed.”
Busch, who started on the pole, didn’t lead a lap in stage one, as that went to Austin Cindric. The Team Penske’s driver’s day, however, had a rotten ending as he, Daniel Hemric and Michael Annett were involved in a multi-car incident with 28 laps to go and Cindric’s car was tagged and turned into the outside wall.
Austin Cindric takes a big hit as a multi-car crash unfolds right behind the leaders with less than 30 laps to go at Nashville Superspeedway. pic.twitter.com/ML6QZ970L0
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 19, 2021
Bayley Currey’s car also made collided with multiple pit crew members on pit road in the early part of the race after appearing to have non-working brakes. At least one crew member was transported to a local hospital.
Per NBC, one of the pit crew members from Bayley Currey's team is being taken to a local medical facility for further evaluation.
— Jayski.com (@jayski) June 19, 2021
Several other incidents occurred later in the final stage, including one involving Jade Buford and Joe Graf Jr. Buford appeared to get loose next to Graf and made contact, with Graf getting the worst of it.
— Xfinity Racing (@XfinityRacing) June 19, 2021
Both ended up out of the race, though, as the damage on Buford’s car was too severe to continue.
The big wreck that collected quite a few leaders like Cindric, Annett and Hemric came on the following restart. A couple more cautions would also come in the final 20 laps, leading to a green-white-checkered finish. While Busch took the lead on the final restart, Jones fought Allgaier for second. Harrison Burton also joined the mix as a crash occurred on the backstretch, but the race stayed green to the end and Busch reached the century mark in Xfinity wins.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to the track next Sunday for the Pocono Green 225 Recycled by J.P. Mascaro & Sons at noon ET on NBCSN.