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Kyle Busch Holds Off Joe Gibbs Racing Teammates To Win At Phoenix

Kyle Busch Holds Off Joe Gibbs Racing Teammates To Win At Phoenix

by March 13, 2016 0 comments

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kyle Busch earned his third NASCAR XFINITY Series win of 2016 after a dominate performance in Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Saturday’s win marks the driver of the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota’s ninth victory in only 20 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Phoenix International Raceway. Busch led 175 laps en route to Saturday’s victory. He has now won three of the first four races in the series this season.

“It’s just a knack for this place I guess,” Busch said. “You know, we’ve been off a little bit on the Cup side for years but here we seem to be a lot better. Last year we improved a lot. But, the XFINITY program it’s always been. I’m not sure why. I can’t say enough about Chris Gayle (crew chief) and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing. Obviously, did a great job for me giving me the car that I needed and prepared everything for today’s race. We didn’t sit on the pole but our teammates did. They were obviously really fast and they made me run hard all day long.”

For the second weekend in a row, Joe Gibbs Racing cleared the top-three starting and finishing positions. Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota and Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 19 Juniper Networks Toyota, both raced their veteran teammate in a competitive fashion, but it was the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who dominated to finish in the lead position.

Busch said, “Obviously he (Erik Jones) did a really good job and it’s no different than what Chris said, there was times when I was coming up through the ranks when I was an XFINITY Series driver that I was beating Mark Martin or I was beating Kevin Harvick or I was beating those Cup Series guys and I would get a lot of accolades for that and we’re going to see some of that stuff I’m sure this year. I’m sure I’m going to get beat and whether it’s by Erik Jones or Ty Dillon a couple of years ago at the Brickyard or Daniel Suarez it’s certainly going to be a big day for those guys.”

While Jones started on the pole with Suarez sharing the front row, Busch lined up behind his rookie teammates in the third position. The runner-up finish is third top-10 of the season; however, following post-race, Jones’ car didn’t meet the rear toe tolerance when going through the laser inspection station. Any penalties will be addressed next week.

“Yeah, a good day overall,” Jones said. “Working from the start really we had a second place car for the most of the day and then towards the end there before the last stop I thought we were a little bit better than the 18 (Kyle Busch) and started to work him over and that’s we came to pit road and just lost too much ground overall leaving pit road and trying to stay with him and after that we were too tight really to try and run him back down.”

Following his third place finish on Saturday, Suarez maintains the lead in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship point standings. He has an right point lead over series veteran, Elliott Sadler.

“Yeah, in the second part of the race I don’t know, maybe I got stuck a little bit in traffic and I was trying to be over-aggressive to make my way back to the front,” Suarez said. “I don’t think that much was the best boost. After that the car was a little bit too tight – tighter than before. I just need to keep working and minimize my mistakes and try again next week.”

While the Joe Gibbs Racing trio of Busch, Jones and Suarez dominated the top-three, JR Motorsports teammates, Justin Allgaier and Chase Elliott, completed the top-five. Rounding out the top-10 was Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Brad Keselowski and Brennan Poole.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series makes its last stop on the west coast swing on Saturday, March 19 at Auto Club Speedway. Race coverage will be found on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 4 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images

Camille Jones

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