In a change from week’s past, this week, I have decided to recap the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Entering the race, the biggest story of the day was Kyle Busch starting from the back as he began a weekend triple-header. Busch seeks victory 98 as he entered Texas Motor Speedway.
NASCAR Xfinity Stage 1:
Shortly after noon PST, under sunny skies, Michael Annett led the field to the green flag with Jeb Burton to his inside. Austin Cindric wasted no time as he took the leaders three-wide going into Turn Three, taking the lead on Lap One.
On Lap Five, Noah Gragson made contact with Riley Herbst, sending Herbst into the Turn Four wall. Herbst made his way to the pits to fix the rear-end damage but was unable to meet minimum speed causing his day to end early. On Lap Nine, Cindric brought the field back to green with Annett to his outside. Going into Turn Three, Jeb Burton got turned by Ross Chastain but was able to save it with some great driving with the race continuing under green. As the field approached the competition caution, Lap 18 brought the second caution of the day as Myatt Snider made contact with the wall after contact with Matt Mills. The Lap 18 crash was also confirmed to be the competition caution.
Cindric and Brandon Jones brought the field back to green on Lap 24. Justin Allgaier made Cindric’s life miserable as they battled for the lead, ending with Allgaier taking the lead on Lap 36. Things settled down for the rest of the stage as Allgaier took the green-and-white checkered flag. All lead lap cars came down pit road for service with Kyle Busch emerging with the lead, though Busch got caught speeding and would restart at the back of the field.
Lap 52 brought the second stage to green with Cindric pacing the field. Cindric and Allgaier engaged in a spirited, side-by-side battle with Allgaier eventually taking the lead. The fourth caution of the flag flew when Snider dropped debris onto the track. Allgaier brought the field back to green on Lap 73. Cody Vanderwal brought out the fifth caution as he spun to the outside wall. On Lap 79, Allgaier brought the field back to green with Cindric to his inside. With a comfortable lead, Allgaier took his second stage of the day and brought Stage Two to a close. All leaders came to pit road for service, with Brandon Brown utilizing pit strategy to come out as the leader.
Stage 3 commenced on Lap 97 with Anthony Alfredo bringing the field to green. Ross Chastain quickly took the lead with Kyle Busch in second place. Alfredo then re-took the lead on Lap 100 with Allgaier trailing in second. On Lap 106, Allgaier resumed the lead with Alfredo falling back through traffic. Alfredo then made contact with the Turn Two wall, bringing out the caution.
Allgaier and Busch brought the field back to green on Lap 112. Busch then mounted a charge for the lead, eventually taking over the lead on Lap 116. The following lap, Noah Gragson got loose exiting Turn Two and made contact with the wall, bringing out the seventh caution of the day. Pit strategy began to emerge as some lead lap cars pitted while other drivers stayed out. On Lap 123, Allgaier led the field back to the green flag.
With lap traffic playing a factor, Cindric was able to keep pace with Allgaier as the two engaged in a battle for the lead. Cindric used the lap cars to his advantage and got around Allgaier. The leaders then made green-flag pit stops with Cindric and Allgaier coming in on the same lap. With green flag pit stops occurring, Busch was able to leap Cindric in position and battle with Allgaier. While the pit stops were taking place, Allgaier suffered a penalty for blending with traffic too soon.
Once the long cycle of green-flag pit stops ran their course, Kyle Busch came out as the leader. With the race appearing the be a runaway, the caution flew with five laps left in the race, necessitating NASCAR’s overtime rules. Kyle Busch restarted the race as the leader with Cindric to his inside. Busch fired off well and maintained his lead. Without a challenge, Busch was able to fend off all challengers and notched number 98 into his belt, or so he thought.
After celebrating his win, Busch was disqualified by NASCAR for failing height requirements. Instead of celebrating his 98th victory, Austin Cindric was given the victory due to finishing behind Busch in second place.
With the exception of Busch having his NASCAR Xfinity Series victory stripped after the race, Cindric, Busch, and Allgaier provided audiences with a good show. What were your thoughts on today’s race?
Next week, the NASCAR Xfinity Series visits Kansas Speedway.
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