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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch completes ISM Raceway sweep

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway on March 10, 2019 in Avondale, Arizona.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kyle Busch pulled to within the 200 NASCAR national-level wins mark Sunday, claiming 199 with his win of the Ticket Guardian 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at ISM Raceway. Sunday’s win completed a two-race ISM Raceway sweep, as he also won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race there Saturday.

“This Skittles Camry was awesome today,” Busch said. “The guys did a great job – Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the boys. All through practice we worked on this thing each and every time and never gave up on it. Just kept trying to fine tune it and make it better and better each and every time.”

Sunday’s win also was Busch’s second-straight Cup win at ISM Raceway, as he also won there last November.

Martin Truex Jr. finished second, and Ryan Blaney was third. Aric Almirola and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five.

Busch took his race-winning lead when he passed Blaney with 16 laps remaining. Blaney, then, lost second to Truex with four laps remaining.

Busch went from the lead to fifth in the running order because of varying pit strategies during a caution for a Chase Elliott spin on lap 219. Blaney got back inside the top-five during the same caution with a two-tire stop after making an extra pit stop for a loose wheel during a previous caution.

“We were on two tires, and I just held on,” Blaney said. ”Actually, ours held on a lot better than what I thought it was going to, but then, when it got to 30 to go or 25 to go, I got kind of tight, and I couldn’t hit three and four anymore, and then, I ran up on lap traffic and it absolutely killed me. Once we got passed, we were kind of close on gas, so it was full fuel-save mode when you know you’re not gonna win the race. It was a good call to take two tires. I don’t think we would have got to third on four, because it was hard to pass out there. I’m proud of this team. We needed that. That’s where we’ve been running all year; it just hasn’t been where we’ve been finishing.”

Busch and Blaney combined to lead most of the race, with Busch leading a race-high 177 of the 312 laps that made up the race. Blaney led 94. They also were the winners of the two 75-lap stages that made up the first 150 laps of the race, with Blaney running up front at the end of the opening stage and Busch the second.

Blaney started on the pole and led the first 35 laps before being passed by Busch. Blaney was among the 10 drivers who stayed out during a caution for Brad Keselowski on lap 63. As a result, he retook the lead.

Elliott looked to lead the first couple of laps after starting next to Blaney on the front row, but he was penalized for jumping the start.

Hamlin also held a brief lead in the first stage when he was one of three drivers to take only two tires during a lap-39 caution for Erik Jones. But Busch retook his lead soon after restarting fourth with four new tires.

Busch, then, stayed out during the caution between the two 75-lap stages in the first 150 laps and led throughout the second stage.

The second stage ended under caution when the yellow flag was displayed after Alex Bowman hit the wall on lap 148.

Finishing sixth through 10th were Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway:

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Posted by on March 11, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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