Race Recap: Kyle Busch keeps going, wins fourth Xfinity race of year

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FORT WORTH — Early, late and often.

That’s been the theme of Kyle Busch‘s season in the Xfinity Series, and it continued Friday night as Busch led 150 laps to score his fourth win of the year.

Busch started from the pole, gave up the lead briefly to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones and Kyle Larson before leading the final 81 laps.

“(Crew chief) Chris Gayle, he got his money’s worth tonight, he had to work on this thing for me and make it better all night long,” Busch said. “I think some people a few years ago wrote Chris Gayle off. We worked together last year and won races. To come out as strong as we have this year, this could have been five in a row.”

It was Busch’s eighth win at Texas in the Xfinity Series, but his first with Gayle, who has 12 wins in 102 races as an Xfinity crew chief. Ten of the wins came with Busch.

“I think basically with the two off weeks we had, we talked a little bit about it,” Gayle said. “Thought we had been pretty good on the short runs all year long, but probably our long runs had been a little bit off. That was one thing I really wanted to be good at going into tonight.”

After leading the first four laps, Busch would lead three more times, with the second and fourth stretches totaling 63 and 81 laps.

Busch has led 776 laps in his five starts in the 2016 Xfinity season. The only start he hasn’t won was March 19 at Auto Club Speedway when he was passed by Austin Dillon out of Turn 4 on the final lap while limping along with a shredded tire.

Friday’s win was his third straight in a NASCAR national series race after becoming the first to sweep the Sprint Cup and Truck series races last week at Martinsville Speedway.

“I don’t know if I get a cookie or what,” Busch said “I’ve won a Truck race, a Cup race and an Xfinity race all three in a row. I want a cookie right now.”

The next cookie Busch will set his eyes on is Saturday’s Duck Commander 500.

MORE: Xfinity Series point standings

MORE: Race results

HOW KYLE BUSCH WON: Busch started from his third pole of the season and led 150 laps, including the final 81 to take his record eighth Xfinity Series win at Texas Motor Speedway.

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Brad Keselowski started eighth and made his way to a third-place finish. It’s his first top-five finish in the Xfinity Series this year. His previous best result in three starts was sixth … Erik Jones fought back from a penalty for crew members going over the pit wall too soon to finish second. It’s his fourth top-three finish of the year … JR Motorsports finished 4-5-6-7. Chase Elliott led the effort, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his first Xfinity start of the year, then Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler, who bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty on Lap 101 … Ryan Sieg finished 10th, earning the fourth top-10 finish of his Xfinity Series career.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Kyle Larson led a season high 38 laps but finished 11th … Ryan Preece brought out the caution on Lap 1 with a single-car spin on the backstretch. He finished 28th, nine laps down … Brennan Poole brought out the second caution on lap 45 when he lost a right-front tire and hit the wall in Turn 3. He finished 19th, three laps down … Daniel Suarez earned his worst finish of the year after spinning out of Turn 4 on Lap 79 to cause the third caution. He finished 16th, one lap down. In the first five races, Suarez hadn’t finished lower than eighth. Suarez still leads the standings by one point over Sadler … Tire problems caused a crash between Jeb Burton and Blake Koch with 56 laps left. Burton lost a right-side tire and hit the outside wall, where Koch couldn’t avoid ramming into him. Koch and Burton finished 34th and 35th, respectfully.

Quote of the Night: “Everybody gets a break from Kyle at Richmond, but I still have one more next week at Bristol.” – Kyle Busch

Next: Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16 at 12:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

AJ Allmendinger to return to NASCAR Cup Series

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AJ Allmendinger is getting another shot at success in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Kaulig Racing announced Wednesday that Allmendinger, currently chasing the Xfinity Series championship, will drive full-time in Kaulig entries in the Cup Series next season.

Allmendinger raced in Cup from 2007 to 2018 but won only one time — at Watkins Glen International — across those years. He moved to the Xfinity Series part-time with Kaulig in 2019, winning on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He won twice in 2020 and five times in 2021 and is a favorite to win the Xfinity championship this year. He has won four Xfinity races this season, including last Sunday at Talladega.

MORE: Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

Allmendinger, 40, will drive Kaulig’s No. 16 car in Cup next year. Justin Haley will drive the team’s No. 31.

Chandler Smith will replace Allmendinger in the Xfinity Series next year.

“It’s crazy how the last five years of my life have gone,” Allmendinger said. “More than anything, I love this organization. I know the fans get tired of me talking about all the men and women of Kaulig Racing. This is not a race team. This is a huge family.

“There will be tough times and growing pains, for sure. But I love what they’re about, and they believe in me. I’ll be OK whether it’s good or bad.”

MORE: Chase Elliott atop NASCAR Power Rankings

Team owner Matt Kaulig said Allmendinger is “one of the best in the world at every type of track. He’s done so much for Kaulig Racing and our program. He’s a gigantic part of what we’re building.”

Team officials said Allmendinger has a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

 

 

NASCAR viewer’s guide for Charlotte Roval

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Sunday provides a final chance for drivers to advance to the Round of 8 and keep their Cup championship hopes alive.

Talladega winner Chase Elliott is the only driver who has advanced to the next round. That leaves seven spots available going into Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Chase Briscoe holds the final transfer spot by a tiebreaker over Austin Cindric. At least for now.

William Byron is 11 points behind both drivers, but Hendrick Motorsports will appeal Byron’s 25-point penalty from Texas on Thursday. Should Hendrick win and Byron get those points back, he would move into a transfer spot.

There’s just part of what to watch for in Sunday’s race.

Favorites to be No. 20

This season remains tied for the most different winners in series history at 19, but there are a few candidates who could become the 20th different winner this year on Sunday.

Among the favorites to do so:

Ryan Blaney, who came close to winning last week at Talladega, won the inaugural Cup race at the Roval in 2018.

Martin Truex Jr., who has four career Cup wins on road courses, still seeks his first victory of the season.

Michael McDowell, who is coming off a third-place finish at Talladega, has had a career-high 12 top-10 finishes this season, including top 10s in each of the last four road course events this year.

Will history repeat?

Last year, the four drivers eliminated after the Roval were Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell and William Byron.

Harvick was eliminated in the first round this year, but Byron (-11 to the cutline) and Bell (-33) are in jeopardy of being eliminated in this round again. Bowman stated Tuesday that he will miss his second consecutive race because of continued concussion symptoms. He will be among the four eliminated from title contention.

Bowman missed last weekend’s race because of concussion-like symptoms suffered at Texas. A decision on if he’ll be able to race at the Roval will come later this week.

Will chaos continue?

Consider what some of the former Roval winners have endured on their way to the checkered flag:

In 2019, Chase Elliott drove into the Turn 1 wall on a restart while the leader. He recovered to win.

In 2020, Elliott overcame a loose wheel to win for the second year in a row.

In 2021, Kyle Larson won after his team changed batteries and put the alternator belt back on.

Could a similar fate be in store for this year’s winner? Or will they have a cleaner day?

Entry lists

Thirty-nine drivers are entered including IndyCar driver Conor Daly, former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat, former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and former 24 Hours of Daytona winner Joey Hand. JJ Yeley will drive the No. 51 for Cody Ware, who stated that he would skip this event because of his ankle injury at Texas the footwork needed on a road course.

Charlotte Roval Cup entry list

The Xfinity entry list includes 41 drivers for 38 spots. Among those joining the series regulars are IndyCar driver Marco Andretti and former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat.

Charlotte Roval Xfinity entry list

This week’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Saturday, Oct. 8

Forecast: Partly cloudy with a high of 66 degrees. No chance of rain during the Xfinity race.

  • 10 – 10:30 a.m. — Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. — Xfinity qualifying (NBC Sports App)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Cup practice (NBC Sports App, USA Network coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.)
  • 1 – 2 p.m. — Cup qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 3 p.m. — Xfinity race (67 laps, 155.44 miles; NBC, Peacock, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 9

Forecast: Sunny with a high of 64 degrees. No chance of rain during the race.

  • 2 p.m. — Cup race (109 laps, 252.88 miles; NBC, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

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Hailie Deegan announced Tuesday that she will make her Xfinity Series debut Oct. 15 Las Vegas Motor Speedway on NBC and Peacock.

The 21-year-old Deegan is in her second full-time season in the Camping World Truck Series. She finished a career-high sixth in that series last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

She will drive the No. 07 car for SS Green Light Racing with Jeff Lefcourt.

 

 

Alex Bowman to miss Charlotte Roval race

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Alex Bowman announced Tuesday night on social media that he will sit out this weekend’s Cup playoff race at the Charlotte Roval.

Bowman said on social media: “I am continuing to make strides in my recovery to make sure I can return to competition at 100%.”

This will be the second consecutive race he will have missed because of concussion-like symptoms after his crash at Texas Motor Speedway.

Noah Gragson will drive the No. 48 car this weekend for Bowman.

“Alex’s health is our first priority,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports, in a statement. “We’re focused on supporting his recovery and seeing him back in his race car when the time is right. Alex has a long career ahead of him, so we will invest the necessary time and take our guidance from medical experts. We’re putting no pressure on him to return before he’s 100% ready.”

Bowman will be one of the four drivers eliminated from title contention Sunday.

Also Tuesday, Cody Ware announced that he will sit out this weekend’s Cup race at the Charlotte Roval, as he continues to recover from the ankle injury he suffered at Texas.