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Kyle Busch prevails in Xfinity Series debut at Road America

Jul 3, 2021; Elkhart Lake, WI, USA; Xfinity Series driver Kyle Busch (54) reacts after winning the Henry 180 at Road America. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

PLYMOUTH, Wis.– Taking advantage of a late wreck that foiled other contenders — not to mention fresher tires for the final six-lap green-flag run — Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Henry 180 at Road America, claiming his fourth NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in four starts this season.

On Lap 41 of 45, Busch took the lead from AJ Allmendinger, whose No. 16 Chevrolet was struggling on older tires.

Over the next four laps, the driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota widened his lead to 3.522 seconds at the finish over teammate Daniel Hemric, who ran second after passing Allmendinger for the runner-up spot.

Busch won in his Road America debut and for the 101st time in his career, extending his own series record. The victory came after Busch experienced several off-track excursions that luckily didn’t deprive his car of the speed necessary to win.

“Obviously, tires — that was the saving grace for us,” said Busch, who got four new tires under caution on Lap 36. “We had a set of tires left over and (Allmendinger) didn’t.

“When we did put our last set of tires on, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to get through that many cars. I don’t know what happened on those last couple of restarts. I couldn’t really see what was happening. We were fortunate to get by that stuff and get through that stuff without any damage to our race car.”

Busch restarted seventh on Lap 40 after the final caution for the multicar wreck. He made up four positions almost immediately and passed Allmendinger for the lead in Turn 3 on the following circuit.

Michael Annett overtook Allmendinger on the next-to-last lap and finished third. The winner of the first two stages, Allmendinger held fourth, with Harrison Burton completing the top five.

An 11-car wreck between Turns 2 and 3 after a restart on Lap 37 damaged the contending cars of Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier and set Busch up for his run to victory. Cindric appeared in control of the race until he pitted for tires after the No. 81 Toyota of Ty Gibbs stalled on the track with transmission issues on Lap 35 and caused the sixth caution of the race.

Cindric’s No. 22 Ford sustained damaged to the right rear in the melee that followed the restart, and he was forced to pit for repairs. Nevertheless, he charged to eighth place at the finish and holds an 89-point lead over second-place Allmendinger in the series standings.

“Sometimes it works out for you, and sometimes it doesn’t,” Cindric said philosophically. “Today was one of those days. It just wasn’t meant to be. If they gave out an award for cars passed, we would handily have that.

“I’m not sure there’s a corner on this car that doesn’t have damage. I appreciate the hard work by everybody. We had a decent points day, and we will move on.”

Gibbs, who edged Cindric for the pole position during Saturday morning’s time trials, was running second when his car stopped because of the broken transmission at the top of the hill in Turn 6. His 33rd-place result was his worst in a part-time campaign that has produced two victories and seven top fives in nine starts.

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service. Special to Field Level Media.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race — 12th Annual Henry 180
Road America
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Saturday, July 3, 2021

1. (5) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 45.
2. (4) Daniel Hemric, Toyota, 45.
3. (12) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 45.
4. (3) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 45.
5. (10) Harrison Burton, Toyota, 45.
6. (20) Kevin Harvick(i), Ford, 45.
7. (34) Riley Herbst, Ford, 45.
8. (2) Austin Cindric, Ford, 45.
9. (36) Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 45.
10. (13) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 45.
11. (19) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 45.
12. (6) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 45.
13. (15) Andy Lally, Toyota, 45.
14. (8) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 45.
15. (33) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 45.
16. (16) Preston Pardus, Chevrolet, 45.
17. (30) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 45.
18. (7) Kaz Grala(i), Chevrolet, 45.
19. (21) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 45.
20. (29) Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 45.
21. (22) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 45.
22. (26) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 45.
23. (27) Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 45.
24. (17) Cody Ware, Ford, 45.
25. (25) Kris Wright(i), Toyota, 45.
26. (31) Stephen Leicht, Toyota, 45.
27. (32) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 45.
28. (9) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 44.
29. (14) Josh Bilicki(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 42.
30. (28) Ryan Ellis, Toyota, Accident, 42.
31. (24) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, Accident, 41.
32. (35) Natalie Decker, Chevrolet, Accident, 38.
33. (1) Ty Gibbs #, Toyota, Transmission, 34.
34. (11) Jade Buford #, Chevrolet, Suspension, 16.
35. (23) Sam Mayer #, Chevrolet, Accident, 12.
36. (18) Spencer Pumpelly, Chevrolet, Accident, 11.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 74.972 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 25 Mins, 47 Secs. Margin of Victory: 3.522 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 11 laps.
Lead Changes: 12 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders: T. Gibbs # 0;T. Gibbs # 1-2;A. Allmendinger 3-10;A. Cindric 11-12;D. Hemric 13-15;J. Allgaier 16-17;A. Allmendinger 18-20;J. Allgaier 21-23;A. Cindric 24-26;B. Jones 27-30;A. Cindric 31-35;N. Gragson 36-39;A. Allmendinger 40;K. Busch(i) 41-45.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): AJ Allmendinger 3 times for 12 laps; Austin Cindric 3 times for 10 laps; Kyle Busch(i) 1 time for 5 laps; Justin Allgaier 2 times for 5 laps; Brandon Jones 1 time for 4 laps; Noah Gragson 1 time for 4 laps; Daniel Hemric 1 time for 3 laps; Ty Gibbs # 1 time for 2 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 16,22,10,11,9,18,7,1,07,98
Stage #2 Top Ten: 16,7,18,11,54,19,81,22,20,98