Phoenix NASCAR: Kyle Busch secures 199th win with dominant form

Kyle Busch moved to within one victory of Richard Petty’s record of 200 NASCAR wins by claiming his 52nd Cup Series win and 199th overall at Phoenix.

The win, which keeps him unbeaten at Cup level at the track since it was reconfigured, came after a dominant display in which he led 176 of the race’s 312 laps.

Busch was saving fuel in the final stages of the race, which had a 74-lap long green flag period, and had it lasted any longer his Joe Gibbs team mate Martin Truex Jr would have likely taken the win.

Truex finished second after passing polesitter Ryan Blaney late on and was taking chunks out of Busch’s lead in the final two laps, eventually finishing just 1.5 seconds adrift of the winner.

Blaney won the first stage from pole, led 95 laps and was in front for much of the final stage until a combination of fuel saving, tyre degradation, and lapped traffic allowed stage two winner Busch to cut down a lead that had stood at 1.6s.

Aric Almirola finished fourth behind Blaney. He led 26 laps, first taking the lead at the start of the final stage. He led home Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Kurt Busch was seventh, ahead of Jimmie Johnson who had his strongest run in some time.

Kevin Harvick, who has seven wins at Phoenix, was surprisingly absent from the lead battle throughout the race, and finished ninth, with Joey Logano rounding out the top 10.

Clint Bowyer ran up front for much of the day but had to settle for 11th, with Ryan Newman’s strongest run yet for Roush Fenway Racing ending in a 12th place finish.

Chase Elliott started the race from second on the grid and took the lead at the drop of the green flag, but was later judged to have passed Blaney too soon and was penalised. He rallied back to finish 14th.

Brad Keselowski, who won the second round of the season at Atlanta, managed to finish in the top 20 despite causing the second caution of the race with a crash on lap 63.

That followed a yellow 24 laps earlier for Erik Jones. Those incidents and subsequent further cautions for Alex Bowman, Elliott, and Ryan Preece were all the result of tyres going down.

Tyre supplier Goodyear had warned of the higher speeds caused by the new rules package having an impact on the rubber ahead of the race and insisted teams abide by its pressure recommendations.

Michael McDowell caused the only non-tyre-related caution when his throttle stuck open on lap 160. He was uninjured despite hitting the wall hard at Turn 3.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 312
2 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 312
3 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 312
4 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 312
5 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 312
6 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 312
7 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 312
8 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 312
9 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 312
10 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 312
11 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 312
12 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 312
13 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 312
14 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 312
15 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 312
16 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 312
17 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 311
18 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 311
19 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 311
20 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 311
21 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 311
22 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 311
23 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 311
24 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 310
25 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 310
26 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 310
27 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 308
28 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 308
29 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 304
30 Quin Houff Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 302
31 Bayley Currey Rick Ware Racing Ford 301
32 Cody Ware Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet 300
33 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 267
34 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 229
35 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 191
36 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 157

Drivers’ standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 177
2 Joey Logano 171
3 Kevin Harvick 168
4 Denny Hamlin 165
5 Martin Truex Jr. 140
6 Kyle Larson 138
7 Aric Almirola 134
8 Brad Keselowski 133
9 Kurt Busch 126
10 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 123
11 Clint Bowyer 118
12 Ryan Blaney 113
13 Chase Elliott 108
14 Erik Jones 106
15 Jimmie Johnson 98
16 Alex Bowman 94
17 Ryan Newman 92
18 William Byron 82
19 Paul Menard 81
20 Daniel Suarez 77
21 Austin Dillon 76
22 Ty Dillon 74
23 Chris Buescher 73
24 Matt DiBenedetto 57
25 Daniel Hemric 53
26 David Ragan 49
27 Corey LaJoie 48
28 Ryan Preece 47
29 Darrell Wallace Jr. 42
30 Michael McDowell 41
31 Matt Tifft 30
32 Landon Cassill 25
33 Jamie McMurray 19
34 Cody Ware 12
35 Quin Houff 7
36 Reed Sorenson 1
36 Casey Mears 1

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