Capping a busy three days, the final race of the weekend finds the stars of the Xfinity Series looking to take on Kansas Speedway for the KSL 250. With temperatures up and the blue skies out, Michael Annett and Brandon Jones lined up on Row One.
Shortly after 2:15 pm PST, the green flag waved to begin the KSL 250 at Kansas Speedway. Annet was able to hold the lead but, before the first lap concluded, Brandon Jones took it away from Annett. As Annett fell back in the standings, Austin Cindric made his way up to second. Austin Cindric was able to take the lead from Brandon Jones as the competition caution came out at Lap 20. The leaders at the front stayed out while those lead-lap cars in the back came down pit road to play a different strategy.
Cindric chose the inside line to restart on Lap 26 with Jones to the outside. Following the races that preceded it, an uneventful Stage One came to a close with Austin Cindirc crossing the line first. Under the caution for the stage break, the lead lap cars down to the pits for tires and fuel. Cindric was able to hold the lead exiting the pits with Ross Chastain in second.
To begin Stage Two, Cindric chose the outside lane with Chastain to his inside. Justin Allgaier and Harrison Burton battled for second as Cindric padded his lead. As the stage progressed, Harrison Burton’s car showed long-run speed, reeling in Austin Cindric. With the flag flying to end Stage Two, Cindric held onto the top spot over Harrison Burton. Cindric carried that momentum through lead-lap pit stops as he maintained the lead over Harrison Burton.
Stage Three got underway on Lap 87 with Cindric leading the way over Burton. Cindric got away with the lead as Allgaier moved to the second position. By Lap 127, the lead-lap cars began to enter pit road for green-flag pit stops. Once green-flag pitstops cycled through, Cindric returned to the lead with Burton in second.
With less than 20 laps to go in the race, Harrison Burton began to close on Austin Cindric for the lead. Playing out similarly like the Truck Series race earlier in the day, the final laps came down to two drivers battling for the lead. With ten laps left in the race, Burton moved to the inside of Cindric. Cindric’s car slapped the wall as he tried to hold the lead. Burton moved forward and was able to take the lead as the end of the race drew near. As it appeared that Harrison Burton would win, the fourth caution of the day flew as Joe Graff Jr. hit the outside wall.
Under the caution, all lead lap cars came to the pits for tires and fuel to take them to the end. Cindric was able to re-take the lead by exiting ahead of Burton. Throwing a wrench into the situation, Ryan Sieg took the lead by not pitting. The green flag flew for a two-lap shootout with Sieg leading and Cindric to his outside and Harrison Burton in third. Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain appeared to get by Sieg as the fifth caution of the day came out for Jesse Little. Sieg maintained the lead with Cindric in second as the cars lined up for a second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Cindric and Brandon Jones took the lead and second place as the race came down to the final lap. Jones was able to get by Cindric and won the KSL 250 at Kansas Speedway.
As an overall, the race was a ho-hum affair as the two best drivers, Austin Cindric and Harrison Burton did not win. That does not constitute a bad race, though here in the Xfinity Series, as Brandon Jones made a great run to end the race. Not every race can be great, and this was one of them. What were your thoughts on today’s race?
The Xfinity Series is off next week but will return on August 8th at Road America.