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Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Zippo 200 at The Glen on Saturday afternoon at Watkins Glen International in New York.
Busch picks up his fourth Xfinity triumph of the season and his first at Watkins Glen when racing in NASCAR’s second division. He led 43 of the 82 laps, including the final 22, in order to hold off a star-studded chase pack on the famed road course.
Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Justin Allgaier and Paul Menard rounded out the top five in the 20th race of the 2017 season.
Post-Race Information (via NASCAR.com)
Busch, who won three of his first seven Xfinity Series starts this season, looked primed for another dominant showing during the early going. He grabbed the lead on the opening lap and proceeded to lead the next 16 before a mistake late in the opening stage proved costly.
NASCAR Xfinity highlighted his loss of control after building a sizable lead:
NASCAR XFINITY @NASCAR_XFINITY
@KyleBusch loses control and the lead. A mistake drops the 1️⃣8️⃣ from first to third. #NASCARonNBCSN https://t.co/rWFwheUXqK
His error turned to gold for Keselowski, who assumed the lead and cruised to the Stage 1 victory under caution, much to the delight of Team Penske:
Team Penske @Team_Penske
.@keselowski wins Stage 1 at @WGI. #Zippo200 #NASCAR https://t.co/IZhnuRpNGL
Getting Busch out of the lead and pushed to the back of the field after a subsequent pit-road penalty created a far more wide-open competition.
That was on full display right off the bat at the start of the second stage, via NASCAR on NBC:
NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC
The start to Stage 2 didn’t go as planned for @ColeCuster00 and @KevinHarvick! We stay green on @NBCSN!
Stream: https://t.co/nUR0IoSem7 https://t.co/RTpTGxEy1L
Menard emerged from a mad dash to the finish of Stage 2 with the win after outdueling several cars, including Keselowski and Logano, after a restart with two laps left.
By the time the race cycled through the final pit stops, it had developed into a two-horse race between Busch and Keselowski, who opened up a 15-second lead on the rest of the field with 15 laps to go.
A late caution for the stalled car of Casey Mears brought the field back together, however, and created a three-lap fight for the victory.
It wasn’t enough for Keselowski, or anybody else, to get the run they needed to pass Busch, who had to work harder than usual but still ended up in Victory Lane.
NASCAR on NBC spotlighted the final few laps:
NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC
10 more wins to 💯 for @KyleBusch!
@NASCAR_Xfinity win No. 90 comes today at @WGI! #NASCARonNBCSN #XfinitySeries https://t.co/z1ou3D0nTP
Watkins Glen International provided a look at the celebration:
Watkins Glen Int’l @WGI
.@KyleBusch pulls the winning ride into @Gatorade Victory Lane! #Zippo200 https://t.co/EQX1nkwTT8
Looking ahead, the biggest takeaways from the Xfinity race heading into Sunday’s Monster Energy Cup Series event are pit strategy and understanding the length of the road course.
A couple of teams attempted to make it through the Zippo 200 on just two stops, and it didn’t work out in their favor. It will be interesting to see whether that causes Cup Series crew chiefs to exercise a little more caution Sunday, at least for the first few scheduled stops.
Busch showed patience throughout Saturday at The Glen, and the result was capturing the checkered flag.