The streak of different winners at Road America in the NASCAR Xfinity Series was extended to a 12th season as Kyle Busch rallied from an early spin to win the Henry 180 on Saturday, July 3, after leading the final five laps of the event. The victory also extended Busch’s winning streak in this year’s Xfinity Series season to four wins in four starts along with achieving his 101st series victory.
Qualifying occurred on Saturday, July 3, with rookie Ty Gibbs recording his first Xfinity career pole after logging a pole-winning lap at 107.532 mph. Joining him on the front row was Austin Cindric, winner of last weekend’s event at Pocono Raceway and the reigning Xfinity winner at Road America.
Prior to the event, Noah Gragson (engine change) and Riley Herbst (backup car) dropped to the rear of the field along with Brett Moffit, Natalie Decker and Ryan Ellis (unapproved adjustments).
When the green flag waved and the race commenced, the entire field battled dead even entering the first turn until at the front, Gibbs was able to squeak ahead of Cindric and AJ Allmendinger through the Turn 2 straightaway and past the third right-hand turn.
Through Turn 3, the Turn 4 straightaway and the fifth left-hand turn, Gibbs retained the lead while Allmendinger bolted his way into the runner-up spot over Cindric, who was in front of Daniel Hemric, Kyle Busch, Justin Allgaier and Jeb Burton. Behind, Kaz Grala went wide in Turn 5 after locking up his brakes.
From the left-hand Turn 5 through the right-hand Turn 14, the field settled in a competitive, single-file line with Gibbs still leading Allmendinger and Cindric.
When the entire field returned to the start/finish line following 14 turns, Gibbs led the first lap followed by Allmendinger, Cindric, Busch and Hemric.
After leading the first two laps, Gibbs was overtaken by Allmendinger, a former winner at Road America.
On the fifth lap, the first caution of the event was displayed when Spencer Pumpelly, driving the No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro for JD Motorsports, spun in Turn 14 following a bump from Brandon Brown and got stuck in the gravel trap.
Under caution, multiple names like Kyle Busch, Gibbs, Hemric, Justin Allgaier, Andy Lally, Brandon Jones, Harrison Burton, Ryan Sieg, Preston Pardus, Brett Moffitt, Myatt Snider, Josh Williams and Alex Labbe pitted for four fresh tires.
The race restarted on the eighth lap as Allmendinger retained the lead over Cindric, Jeb Burton, Haley, Gragson, Annett and the field through the first three turns. Then in Turn 3, Kyle Busch spun into the grass following contact from Allgaier, though he was able to continue without any serious damage. Not long after, Gibbs was assessed a penalty for changing lanes during the restart.
With the field continuing to battle for positioning around every turn, Allmendinger cruised to the first stage victory on Lap 10 as he claimed his fourth stage victory of the season. Cindric settled in second followed by Jeb Burton, Haley and Gragson. Gibbs crossed the start/finish line in sixth, but he was discredited from earning any stage points as a result of his restart violation. The move promoted Hemric to sixth followed by Allgaier, Annett, Josh Bilicki and Riley Herbst.
Under the stage break, most of the leaders led by Allmendinger pitted while others led by Cindric and Gragson remained on the track.
The second stage started on Lap 12 with Cindric and Gragson restarting on the front row. At the start, Cindric peaked ahead briefly, but Hemric made a move to the outside of Cindric’s No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford Mustang to take the lead through the first turn. Through the first three corners, the Turn 4 straightaway and the left-hand Turn 5, Hemric and his No. 18 Poppy Bank Toyota Supra remained out in front while the field jumbled up while battling for positioning.
Shortly after, the caution returned for a hard accident involving Sam Mayer and Preston Pardus.
When the race restarted on Lap 15, Allgaier took over the top spot over Hemric, where he led the following two laps. Then, Allmendinger moved back to the front of the field.
With a series of battles occurring around the road course, Allmendinger, like he did in the first stage, was able to pull away and win the second stage on Lap 20, thus claiming his fifth stage victory of the season. Allgaier settled in second followed by Hemric, Haley, Busch, Jones, Gibbs, Cindric, Harrison Burton and Herbst. Moments before he crossed the start/finish line, Busch went off the track through the straightaway between Turns 11 and 12 as he kicked up dirt before continuing without serious damage.
Under the stage break, the leaders pitted as Allgaier inherited the lead. Following the pit stops, Allmendinger was penalized due to his crew members jumping over the pit wall early, thus sending Allmendinger to the rear of the field.
With 23 laps remaining, the final stage commenced as Allgaier and Kyle Busch restarted on the front row. At the start, Allgaier was able to prevail over Busch to remain as the leader. With the field fanning out through the first two turns, Allgaier led Busch through the first three turns, the Turn 4 straightaway, the left-hand turns in 5 and 6, a brief straightaway in Turns 7 and 8, a long right-hand turn in 9 and 10, a long straightaway from Turn 10 to 12 and a pair of turns in 13 and 14 before returning to the start/finish line.
The following lap, Allgaier continued to lead, but he had Cindric closing in for the lead entering the first turn after Cindric overtook Kyle Busch for the runner-up spot. Then, through the second turn, Cindric made a move to the right of Allgaier’s No. 7 BRANDT Chevrolet Camaro. Following a side-by-side battle through the straightaway and under the Sargento bridge, Cindric returned to the lead.
With 20 laps remaining, Cindric was leading by more than four seconds over Gragson, with Allgaier being pressed by Busch and Gibbs for more. Haley was in sixth followed by Herbst, Hemric, Jones and Jeb Burton.
A lap later, the caution returned for a harrowing accident involving Spencer Pumpelly, who lost his brakes entering the first turn, spun through the gravel trap and plowed into the tire barriers, where the rear end of his No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro ended up on top of the barriers.
Under caution, nearly the entire field pitted while names like Brandon Jones, teammate Harrison Burton, Harvick, Josh Bilicki and Cody Ware remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Hemric was penalized due to a crew member jumping over the pit wall too soon.
With 16 laps remaining, the race restarted. At the start, Jones retained the lead over teammate Harrison Burton, Harvick and the field through the first three turns, the Turn 3 and 4 straightaway and through the left-hand fifth turn.
The following lap and after navigating his way through the 14-turn circuit, Jones continued to lead followed by Harrison Burton and Cindric, who started to close in on Burton for more. After leading through the first four turns,, Jones locked up the brakes entering Turn 5 in front of Cindric, forcing Cindric to crossover to the left of Harrison Burton and Jones through the fifth turn. After going three wide with Burton and Jones, Cindric reassumed the lead entering the sixth turn.
With Cindric out in front, Harrison Burton remained in second place. A lap later, Allgaier and Gibbs moved up the leaderboard followed by Gragson while Jones slipped back to sixth. Meanwhile, Kyle Busch was in eighth in front of Allmendinger.
Then, through Turns 12 and 13, Gibbs moved up into second place followed by Allgaier and Gragson while Harrison Burton fell back to fifth. Behind, Kyle Busch and Allmendinger moved up to sixth and seventh.
A few laps later, Jeb Burton and Brandon Jones spun in Turn 14, but the race remained under green as both plummeted on the leaderboard.
With 11 laps remaining, Harrison Burton brought his No. 20 Dex Imaging Toyota Supra to pit road for service. Shortly after, the caution returned when Gibbs, who was running in the runner-up spot, came to a stop under the Corvette bridge in Turn 6 following a transmission failure to his No. 81 Monster Energy Toyota Supra, an issue that eliminated him from race-winning contention.
Under caution, some led by Cindric pitted while the rest led by Gragson remained on the track.
Down to the final eight laps, the race restarted under green as Gragson and Allmendinger started on the front row. At the start, Gragson jumped ahead with the lead followed by Kaulig Racing’s Haley and Allmendinger through the first turn.
Then, the caution returned when Snider made contact with Harrison Burton, spun and made light contact with the wall through the Turn 2 straightaway. Snider’s incident resulted in ensuing chaos behind as Cody Ware, Kris Wright and Natalie Decker wrecked and knocked down a number of advertising billboards through the Turn 2 straight In the midst of the incident, Cindric and Allgaier sustained damage to their respective machines, forcing both to pit under caution.
With six laps remaining, the race restarted as Gragson and Haley started on the front row. At the start, Gragson received a bump from Allmendinger to retain the lead over Haley through the first three turns and through Turn 5. With Gragson’s No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro leading, Kyle Busch bolted his No. 54 M&M’s Ice Cream Toyota Supra into third place entering Turn 3 as he then challenged Allmendinger for the runner-up spot through Turns 5 and 6.
Then in Turn 8, Allmendinger made his move beneath Gragson and made contact with Gragson before he moved his No. 16 Hyperice Chevrolet Camaro back into the lead followed by Busch. Gragson, meanwhile, fell back to third in front of Haley, Harrison Burton and the field.
The following lap and with five laps remaining, Busch made his move beneath Allmendinger entering the first turn and made contact with Allmendinger, which gave Busch the advantage through the Turn 2 straightaway and Turn 3 to take the lead. From there, Busch started to pull away from the field.
When the field returned to the start/finish line, Busch was leading by nearly a second over Allmendinger, with Gragson, Michael Annett and Haley in the top five. Jones and Harrison Burton followed in pursuit along with Harvick, Hemric and Herbst. Way behind the leaders, a multi-car wreck occurred in Turn 12, involving Ryan Sieg, Josh Bilicki, Ryan Ellis and Brett Moffitt. Despite the incident and the damage, the race proceeded under green.
The following lap, Jones went off the track in Turn 1, but the race remained under green. By then, Busch extended his advantage to more than two seconds over Allmendinger.
Down to the final two laps of the event, Busch remained out in front by more than two seconds over Allmendinger, who had Annett and Hemric closing in for the runner-up spot. Behind, Harrison Burton challenged Gragson for fifth place while Harvick was in seventh.
When the final lap of the event started, Busch was the leader by more than three seconds. Behind, Annett and Hemric were in second and third after both passed Allmendinger, who was struggling with grip, through Turns 13 and 14. Not long after, Hemric moved into the runner-up spot in Turn 3.
Back out in front, Busch continued to set sail with a comfortable advantage. With no pressure occurring in front of him and behind, Busch was able to navigate his way through the 14-turn circuit and climb up the road hill from Turn 14 to streak across the finish line and take the checkered flag for the win.
With his victory, Busch is four-for-four in this year’s Xfinity Series season as he claimed his first triumph at Road America and extended his all-time lead in Xfinity Series victories to 101. He also recorded the first Xfinity win for crew chief Mark McFarland, with McFarland and Joe Gibbs Racing’s ARCA team assisting Busch’s efforts to the Xfinity win.
With his Xfinity Series plans for the future uncertain now that he has achieved 100+ victories, Busch is scheduled to run his fifth and final series event of the season next weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“Obviously, tires, that was the saving grace for us,” Busch said on NBC. “We had tires left over. [Allmendinger] didn’t. When we came in to put them tires on, I wasn’t sure we were gonna be able to get through that many cars, but man, I don’t know what happened the last couple restarts. Just melee at the start going down the straight. I couldn’t see what was happening. Then, there was a wreck between [Turns] 2 and 3, and was just fortunate to be on the right side in order to get by that stuff and get through that stuff without too much damage to our race car. Obviously, it was neat to have the opportunity to run this race today, get ready for tomorrow. Hopefully, tomorrow will look a lot like this day.”
Hemric settled in the runner-up spot for the ninth time in his Xfinity Series career while Annett picked up his first top-five result of the season with a strong third-place effort.
Allmendinger, who was aiming to become the first repeat winner in the Xfinity Series event at Road America, settled in fourth place while Harrison Burton finished in the top five.
Harvick, Herbst, Cindric, Gragson and Haley finished in the top 10.
Allgaier finished 12th, Jeb Burton came home in 14th, Kaz Grala settled in 18th in front of Brandon Jones and Snider ended up in 23rd behind Ryan Sieg. Ty Gibbs, following his late transmission issue, ended up 33rd.
There were 12 lead changes for eight different leaders. The race featured seven cautions for 11 laps.
With an eighth-place run, Austin Cindric continues to lead the regular-season standings by 89 points over AJ Allmendinger as third-place Daniel Hemric trails by 105 points.
1. Kyle Busch, five laps led
2. Daniel Hemric, three laps led
3. Michael Annett
4. AJ Allmendinger, 12 laps led, Stage 1 & 2 winner
5. Harrison Burton
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Riley Herbst
8. Austin Cindric, 10 laps led
9. Noah Gragson, four laps led
10. Justin Haley
11. Brandon Brown
12. Justin Allgaier, five laps led
13. Andy Lally
14. Jeb Burton
15. Tommy Joe Martins
16. Preston Pardus
17. Josh Williams
18. Kaz Grala
19. Brandon Jones, four laps led
20. Timmy Hill
21. Alex Labbe
22. Ryan Sieg
23. Myatt Snider
24. Cody Ware
25. Kris Wright
26. Stephen Leicht
27. Landon Cassill
28. Jeremy Clements, one lap down
29. Josh Bilicki – OUT, Accident
30. Ryan Ellis – OUT, Accident
31. Brett Moffitt – OUT, Accident
32. Natalie Decker – OUT, Accident
33. Ty Gibbs – OUT, Transmission, two laps led
34. Jade Buford – OUT, Suspension
35. Sam Mayer – OUT, Accident
36. Spencer Pumpelly – OUT, Accident
Next on the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is Atlanta Motor Speedway. The event will occur on Saturday, July 10, at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.