Kyle Busch Earns 200th NASCAR National Series Victory With California Winby Camille Jones March 17, 2019 0 comments
FONTANA, Calif. – Kyle Busch won his 200th career NASCAR national series victory when he took the checkered flag in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
Busch won each stage of the race on his way to Victory Lane in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota. Following defeat in a dominant performance in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the two-mile oval, Busch came back to lead 134 of 200 laps in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event. Busch overcame a speeding penalty on pit road on lap 123 and was able to race his way back into the top-10 without hesitation to win the race. The victory ties Richard Petty with the most NASCAR national series wins.
“Feels just like number one,” Busch said. “Feels just like yesterday. Man, that was such an awesome racecar. I mean, dang. This Interstate Batteries Camry was awesome today. I’m glad we put on a heck of a show for all these fans out here in California at Auto Club Speedway. It takes green to get in Victory Lane today. Today is St. Patty’s day. All these other guys were at a disadvantage. The Interstate Batteries Green Machine was flying today. Just awesome. Just awesome. To win 200, I mean, whatever it means, it means a lot to me. It means a lot to all my guys, everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing.”
Busch knew his hopes of getting his 200th win may have closed with the speeding penalty, but he trusted his equipment to help him make a comeback.
“I knew we had a great racecar,” Busch said. “We had a great race car all day long. We were fast. I wasn’t sure how well we were going to be able to come through the field, get back in traffic, get our way worked back up to the lead. Brad (Keselowski) was really fast that run, he was way out front. We were catching the 22 (Joey Logano), the 4 (Kevin Harvick). If it went green to the end, I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out.”
Joey Logano started fifth and finished in second, marking his fourth top-10 finish in the 2019 season.
“We were racing hard and no matter who got to the lead, the 18 was going to pass us,” said Logano, driver of the Team Penske No. 22 AAA Southern California Ford. “He was the best car today. We have some work to do to get faster but the team did a great job today. We held strong today with the Auto Club Ford Mustang. You want to win at the home track of your sponsor. We gave it a solid run. I hate being that close. The last few laps you are running up against the wall and he had a big enough lead to kind of cruise a little and you are just hoping a lap car gets in the way or something. It was solid. We have a lot of momentum on this race team right now.”
Brad Keselowski finished in third in the Team Penske No. 2 Wurth Ford after starting 13th and leading 42 laps on Sunday. The effort marked his third top-10 finish this season.
“We were really good and got to the lead there on that last run but I just couldn’t quite keep it there,” Keselowski said. “It was a good effort by the team and we were right there in position and we gave it all we had.”
Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney completed the top-five, while Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-10 on Sunday.
There were four cautions for a total of 22 laps under yellow-flag conditions in the Auto Club 400.
On lap 57, Austin Dillon brought out the caution when his No. 3 Chevrolet began to pour out smoke due to damage from a blown tire.
On the restart on lap 61, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. stayed on the track instead of pitting. When the green flag fell, Stenhouse’s No. 17 Ford got loose and spun through the field, damaging several cars.
On lap 165, Bubba Wallace brought out the caution due to a blown tire putting down debris all over the track.
Now that the “West Coast Swing” is over, the drivers of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will head back east for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, March 24. Live coverage will broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images