100th career Xfinity victory -
GLADEVILLE – Kyle Busch won a smashing victory Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway, then teased about smashing another trophy guitar.
After capturing the Tennessee Lottery 250 – his 100th win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series – Busch mischievously held the track’s trademark trophy Gibson guitar high overhead, then brought it downwards, as if to dash it to bits as he did in his infamous “rock star-type celebration” here in 2009.
But he stopped, grinned, and strummed some air guitar before a cheering, laughing crowd.
“Just having a little fun,” Busch chuckled afterwards. “What’s wrong with having a little fun?”
Busch won the race by darting past leader Justin Allgaier with two laps to go in the scheduled 188-lapper, which went one lap into overtime after a fifth caution in the final 48 laps.
“I had a shot to win,” said Allgaier, who held the lead three times throughout the race but couldn’t hold off Busch at the end. “It’s disappointing.”
“Those last 30 laps were pretty exciting,” said Busch, who started on the pole and led six times for 122 laps. “I knew my car was fast, and if I got clear I could drive away.”
The victory was Busch’s fifth at the Superspeedway. In addition to his Xfinity win in 2009 that was low-lighted by the dashing of the valuable Sam Bass hand-painted guitar, he previously won two NASCAR truck series races and an ARCA race.
Yesterday’s race was part of weekend tripleheader that signals the re-opening of the Superspeedway after a decade’s shutdown.
“It’s good to be back,” Busch said. “The track was very racy. It’s wider than I remembered.”
As for notching his 100th win in NASCAR’s second-tier Xfinity Series: “It’s a great day for all the teams I’ve worked with over the years. I can’t fathom what 100 wins really means ... maybe someday when I’m in my rocking chair.”
Busch’s victory was met by a mix of cheers and jeers from a grandstand crowd estimated at about 9,000.
“I saw the fans stand up when Allgaier took the lead, then they sat down when I took it back,” Busch said with a smile.
Harrison Burton finished third and Hendersonville’s Josh Berry came in fourth, the highest-finishing rookie. Nashville’s Jade Buford, driving for Big Machine Racing, ended up 33rd after getting caught up in a crash.
Busch will be among the favorites in today’s Ally 400 main event, the track’s inaugural Cup Series race, and the first in Middle Tennessee in 37 years. The prior Cup races had been run at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway.
In Saturday’s Cup practice, Kyle Larson and William Bryon tied for the fastest lap around the 1.33-mile concrete track, posting identical speeds of 161.082 mph.
Larson rides a three-race winning streak into today’s race, including a victory in last week’s All-Star race in Texas.
“It’s been awesome,” Larson said of his hot streak. “We’ll just keep our heads down and try to keep winning.”
Today’s race is a 38,000-seat sellout, with several thousand more expected to watch from luxury suites and track-side. Governor Bill Lee is scheduled to be among the spectators to officially welcome big-league NASCAR racing back to Middle Tennessee.
XFINITY NOTES - Saturday's effort for Busch was his third victory of the 2021 season and third Top 10 finish.
Austin Cindric continues to lead the Xfinity points standings by 90 points over AJ Allmendinger.
There were 12 lead changes among 5 drivers with Busch leading 122 laps while Cindric led 53. Cindric was involved in an accident and completed only 160 of the 189 laps.
The next race in the Xfinity Series is June 27 at the Pocono Raceway.