In his first Xfinity Series race since injuring both legs in February’s Daytona race, Kyle Busch led 27 laps and returned to victory lane in the Great Clips 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
With four laps to go, Busch charged passed Chase Elliott in the closing laps after a brief red flag for a four-car crash with 14 laps to go. Busch and Elliott were there after race leaders Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick got into each other a few laps before and nearly avoiding wrecking. Elliott took advantage and led five laps before Busch pounced and led the way to his 71st Xfinity Series win.
“This is only a preliminary to what we got to do for Sundays, but this is a start,” Busch told Fox. “Can’t say enough about this team.”
Busch was congratulated in Victory Lane by Darrell Wallace Jr., who finished 15th, and was quickly joined by his wife, Samantha, and his son Brexton Locke Busch, who was born on May 18.
“You never know when it’s your last (race), obviously that’s for sure after Daytona and what happened,” Busch said. “I can’t say enough about my wife and my family and my friends, everybody that pushed me so hard to get me back to here and get me back in the race cars and doing what I love to do. Thankful that Brexton is here today, he’s hanging out with us and sleeping right through it. He’ll see the pictures of it when he’s a little older, but I’m not so sure he’ll remember today.”
In a pre-race interview with Fox, Busch hadn’t seemed very confident his No. 54 Toyota had what it took to get to Victory Lane.
“(I’m not) too surprised we’re standing here,” Busch said. “I knew we had a good piece, I just didn’t think we had a winning piece. We saw it with restarts all day long, how they were back and forth.”
Busch first took the lead 16 laps into the race and would lead three more times. There were 13 lead changes among seven drivers. Logano led four times for 54 laps before his dust up with Harvick.
“Harvick and Joey getting at it there in the corner a little bit obviously helped our day,” Busch said. “I don’t know if we could have passed (Logano), but we were really close to the 22 today. It was kind of all dependent on who got out front first.”
Busch was followed by Elliott, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher and Elliott Sadler.
Including a competition caution on Lap 27 and the red flag period, there were eight cautions for 26 laps.
How Kyle Busch won: After starting 12th, Busch led three times for 27 laps, including the final four. Busch put himself in position to take advantage of a Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano mishap when he went from 12th to fourth on a restart with 30 laps to go.
Who had a good day: Chris Buescher started 20th but led 23 laps before finishing fourth, increasing his points lead over Ty Dillon to to 25 points … After starting 16th, Aric Almirola took advantage of late cautions and contact between Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano to finish in the top five, his first of 2015. Thanks to cautions, Denny Hamlin bounced back from running out of gas with 47 to go to finish 10th.
Who had a bad day: Darrell Wallace Jr. started the day off great, racing in the top three. During a Lap 44 caution, Wallace lost four positions on pit road then fell back to 16th thinking he was losing a tire. Wallace was involved in a three-car accident on Lap 108 but finished 15th on the lead lap … Daniel Suarez was running in 15th when his No. 18 Toyota spun in Turn 2. Suarez finished 20th, one-lap down in his first career race at Michigan … Defending race winner Paul Menard led once for five laps, but brought out the caution and the red flag with 14 laps to go after he hit the wall to start a four-car wreck. Menard managed to finish 18th on the lead lap.
Quote of the Day: “You got to start somewhere, right?” – Kyle Busch after winning his first Xfinity Series race after recovering from leg injuries at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Notable: Kyle Larson (third) posted his third top-10 finish in three races at Michigan International Speedway. … Chase Elliott (second) posted his second top-10 finish in two races at Michigan International
What’s next: Chicago 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, June 28, at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.