Race Weekend Central

Different Week Same Story: Kyle Busch Dominant in the Desert

For the third consecutive week, Kyle Busch dominated the NASCAR XFINITY Series, this week at the Phoenix International Raceway.

He went on to lead 175 of the 200 laps en route to his ninth checkered flag in the desert.

Starting in third, it took Busch only five laps to gain the top spot, where he led the first half of the race. Following a mid-race caution, Busch restarted in fifth, and it would only take him seven laps to take back the lead.

Busch’s biggest battle came right before the final pit stop, when Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones had caught him and at one point even got underneath of the No. 18. Following the stop, he would not be denied after having over a 3.5-second lead.

During the pit stop both of the top two drivers took just two tires. The two tire change on Jones’ car changed the balance and he got too tight, allowing him to compete with Busch in the final stint of the race.

“With the XFINITY program it has always been good,” Busch said of his triumph at Phoenix. “We didn’t sit on the pole, but our teammates did and they were obviously really fast. They made me run hard all day long. There is nothing left in this car, it is all used up.”

Even though he didn’t race at Daytona, Busch has led 72 percent of the laps through the first four races in the XFINITY Series.

After starting from the pole, Jones was the highest-finishing XFINITY regular. After leading the first five laps, he was within marginal distance of the lead all race long in case Busch were to slip. With three straight top-three finishes, he now sits just 18 points behind point leader Daniel Suarez.

“He was really fast and we had a shot at him there on that long run we got to him and started to work him,” Jones said. “If it would have stayed green I feel like we could have got him, it stayed green but we had to pit. On the pit stop we lost a lot of ground to him and he just ran away.”

Suarez has now finished in the top 10 in each of the first four races to start 2016. The championship leader ran inside of the top three for the majority of the 200 miles as JGR has taken the top three finishing positions the last two weeks.

Justin Allgaier recorded his best finish of 2016 with a fourth and JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott rounded out the top 5.

After leading 11 laps around the halfway point, Ty Dillon came home in the sixth position. Cup Series regular Brad Keselowski led nine laps through the final cycle of green flag pit stops, but was passed for the final lead change with 14 laps to go. The No. 22 car finished ninth.

On the final lap two rookies Brennan Poole and Brandon Jones battled it out until turn 4 to see who would come home with a top-10 finish. The No. 48  team edged out the No. 33 car for Poole’s first 10 of 2016.

There were just three cautions for 16 laps, two of which came when cars hit the outside wall, the first coming on the opening lap.

This is the fifth time in Busch’s career that he has won three straight races in the XFINITY Series.

Full results can be found here.

Bad news for the rest of the competition: the series heads to the Auto Club Speedway next weekend, where the driver of the No. 18 has won six times prior, the last coming in 2013.

About the author

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Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.

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I hope the photo of Kyle holding his son isn’t meant to soften our criticism of this weekly atrocity.
While nothing can supplant the Chase as the Number One thing wrong with NASCAR, this weekly poaching of the JV race is somewhere in the picture.


First of all I seen two guys missed the race today that run in the Xfinity Series while the 4 CUP Drivers make the race is ABSURD……..
Brian France should be ASHAMED for this to happen WEEK after WEEK with these CUP DRIVERS DOMINATING the XFINITY SERIES ……..
Does he think watching this PUKE Kyle Busch come down in the Lower Series and DOMINATE THE RACES is RIDICULOUS, In the last 3 Races Kyle Busch has led 493 out of 563 laps, That really makes NO ONE wants to watch these races at all……….. 4 Races in and still no Xfinity Series regulars (NO WINS)


This is no longer absurd. It is now sickening stupidity. It is so nauseating listening to Larry McReynolds and Kenny Wallace saying this isn’t the fault of Joe Gibbs and Kyle Busch, but rather, it’s the fault of the other drivers and teams not stepping up their game to beat the super power of Kyle’s cup-light car. McReynolds was falling all over Gibbs, saying that they (Gibbs) knew what was coming, and they got a good jump start on the competition. Plus, Kyle is always shooting off his mouth saying that, since the Toyota Xfinity cars are so similar to the Toyota cup cars, he and his team learn so much by running in the Xfinity series and beating up on the teams who, collectively don’t have the yearly funding that Gibbs has for Kyle to run one race.

And adding to the nauseating garbage is the series regular drivers constantly saying they love having to race against Kyle. It makes them run harder, they say. I would love just one of them (and not that egotistical little twerp Eric Jones either) to say how they don’t like it, as the broadcast always becomes about Kyle, and they don’t even notice the series regulars. Plus, He drops down to this level and he can’t be beat, thus he takes a lot of the money away from the regulars.

I admit, I don’t like Busch. He is too cocky and arrogant. And he is even worse since he was given the greatest gift of all by NASCAR. But, I hope he does win every Xfinity race he enters. And the ones he doesn’t win, I hope another cut driver does. If for no other reason, when it comes time for the final race of the Xfinity chase, no series regular has won a race to automatically get in. Then, maybe that brainless idiot named France will finally do something to get the cup drivers out of this series. The empty stands and non-existent television ratings haven’t worked.


The series regulars have probably been told that they are to love racing against Kyle lest they fall victim to double-secret probation.


AMEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The myth of Kyle in the lower series as the best is comical and lazy reporting. He runs that series constantly and has the best equipment going for him. He damn well better win. The more you run the more your odds increase. The praise over this is kinda pathetic. I am a fan Team Penske (shocker) but when they run in that series I don’t go on the internet screaming their greatness when they wins a race. I go meh, what will they do on Sunday, when it really counts. The few followers who drink the Kyle drink, lumping Xfinity as the same as Cup, are hard core nutjobs and logic does not apply. Cuppers have been in the lower series for a very long time. Nothing new, however didn’t those Cuppers give it a break now and then? Again I do believe there is value in racing against those guys, I really do believe. But at what point with inferior equipment do these guys think they have a chance in hell. But hey, many have made a good living running in the lower series. So maybe the “feeder” series description should go away. Arca is more like it. Yeah, lets scream for JMS a feeder for HMS, where are his new and rising prospects. Gibbs seems to chew up his “prospects”, I believe Logano was the last one to advance to Cup. A mess it has become, imo.


And I mean for JMS who does he nurture other than the next T-shirt salesman Chase Elliott right into the greasy gimme, gimme hands of Rick Hendrick? Everybody else has been discarded.

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