Kyle Busch Wins in Phoenix
iK9 Toyota Supra Driver Earns 94th Career Xfinity Series Win
Date: March 9, 2019
Event: iK9 Service Dog 200 (Round 4 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: ISM Raceway (1-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 3rd/1st (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):
● Busch started third and finished third.
● On lap 21 while running second, Busch reported that his No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra was too loose at the start of the run, but also tight in the center of turns one and two.
● During the first caution of the race on lap 33, crew chief Ben Beshore called Busch to the pits for four tires, fuel, and wedge and air pressure adjustments.
● Busch was the second car off pit road under the caution, but with seven cars staying on track, he restarted ninth.
● On the lap-39 restart, Busch gained six spots to reach the third position. He held that spot until the end of Stage 1.
● Busch stayed on track during the stage break to assume second place when the leader pitted.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):
● Started second and finished second.
● Busch took the lead for the first time on lap 53, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell. The duo raced side-by-side, with Bell retaking the lead on lap 58 before Busch regained the top spot on lap 59 and held the point for 11 laps. Bell retook the lead on lap 70 and held it through the end of the stage.
● On lap 71, Busch radioed that he was still fighting a tight-handling condition in turns one and two, but was also loose in turns three and four.
● At the conclusion of the stage, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He returned to the track in second.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):
● Started second and finished first.
● Busch took the lead on the lap-100 restart, once again overtaking Bell.
● On lap 125, Busch stated that his iK9 Toyota Supra was a little loose on exit and that it needed more rear grip. Busch said he liked the adjustments made on the last stop, but “needed a little more” on the final stop.
● During the fourth and final caution of the race on lap 133, Busch pitted for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment.
● The final caution was for fluid on the track, which sent three drivers spinning, including Bell, who hit the wall, ending his race.
● First off pit road on lap 134, Busch held onto the lead for the final 67 laps.
● This was Busch’s series-leading 11th Xfinity Series win at ISM Raceway. His previous win came on Nov. 12, 2016 when he started from the pole and led all but 10 of the race’s 200 laps.
● This was Busch’s second straight Xfinity Series victory, as he won last Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
● Saturday’s win was Busch’s 94th career Xfinity Series win and his 198th across NASCAR’s top-three series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (51), Xfinity Series (94) and Gander Outdoors Truck Series (53).
● Busch led four times for a race-high 116 laps in the iK9 Service Dog 200, bringing his laps-led total in the Xfinity Series at ISM Raceway to and astounding 2,156.
● The No. 18 iK9 team is now first in the owners’ championship with 181 points.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 35 laps.
● Only 13 of the 37 drivers in the iK9 Service Dog 200 finished on the lead lap.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“Can’t say enough about our guys at Joe Gibbs Racing. Obviously, they build really fast Supras. I want to say thanks to iK9. This is the iK9 Service Dog 200, so it’s really, really cool to be able to win for them again, and to be able to put them in victory lane back-to-back and in their race here at ISM Raceway. Super thankful for them for the opportunity to come out here and run a few races each year and to be able to put on a good show.
“Certainly want to give thanks to Mark Cronquist. These JGR engines were strong. Monster Energy, Cessna, Adidas, DVX Eyewear, Black Clover and the fans.
“It’s always cool to come out with Rowdy Nation and having their support and everybody that backs us and what we’re able to do and what we’re able to accomplish. Obviously, we’re doing a lot of those things these days. There’s a lot of talk and all that sort of stuff, but hey, if I’m allowed to enter a race, I’m going to enter a race. I’m going to go out there and race and I’m going to go out there and try to win. If I win, we win. If not, we’ve got to go again the next time. These guys here, they’re great. Congrats to all these guys that works so hard to get me where I’m at.
“We worked on this iK9 Toyota Supra all day. A lot like last week, just trying to put it all together. We certainly were off a little bit early on in the beginning. Christopher (Bell) was superfast and really, really good. We kept making the adjustments to get it to where he was. We were doing a good job of that. I hate it that he got caught up in that mess behind us and we weren’t able to race it out there at the end. I figured we were going to and it was going to be a heck of a JGR showdown at the end.”
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Production Alliance Group 300 on Saturday, March 16 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race starts at 5 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.