On Saturday afternoon, fans were treated to “The Rowdy Show” as Kyle Busch dominated on his way to winning the ServiceMaster 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
“Can’t say enough about all the guys at JGR,” Busch said in victory lane. “They all do such a great job. Can’t say enough about Monster Energy and Toyota for their support. Thanks to the Nationwide Series – fun race to win in – and thanks to the fans for their support. Nice to be on the west coast; Busch fans are a little more friendly.
“We had a good car today. Got a little loose on the restart and fell back a bit, but was able to work my way back up there.”
Through a series of pit strategy, Busch fell back a couple spots out of the lead after leading most of the first 130 laps. He would work his way back to the front and on a restart with 46 laps to go, Kyle Busch would get the run off of turn two to take the lead from Justin Allgaier. Busch then held off Allgaier on the final restart and left the field to claim his 12th victory of the season.
With the victory, Busch puts his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota only four points behind the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford heading for the owner’s championship heading to the final race of the season at Homestead.
“I hate it that he had trouble like that as we were racing for a win together,” Busch said. “But that’s what this sport is about. We were at the end of the stick last week. You go into next week, push hard and see the points tally up at the end.”
Keselowski, behind the wheel of the No. 22, was running fourth at lap 142 when Brian Scott would have a big slide and make contact with Keselowski, causing Keselowski to back into the wall. Keselowski would salvage a 19th place finish.
“Just disappointed for Roger Penske; he’s worked hard this year,” Keselowski said. “Some things you can control, some things you can’t control.”
Justin Allgaier finished second after a hard fought battle with Austin Dillon in the closing laps.
“It was a great day for our Brandt Camaro,” Allgaier commented. “We had a great car in the sping – brought a lot of notes back. We had a good car today and battled hard all day. Austin and I were racing really hard. We’re trying to stay in the top five in points, too. It was a lot of fun racing him.
“Thanks to Nationwide Insurance because this is the funnest race that I’ve had on a short track.”
Points leader Austin Dillon would finish third after running inside the top five throughout the whole race.
“They’re going to race hard – it’s just in the nature of racecar drivers,” Dillon commented of his battle with Allgaier. “He got into me – he said he didn’t so I’ll have to watch it later. We had a good car, just not a good enough car to run with Kyle.”
Going into the season finale, Dillon holds an eight point lead over Sam Hornish Jr.
“Just stay focused and do your own things,” Dillon said. “It’s a tough championship battle and you just have to do the best you can.”
Regan Smith finished fourth while Hornish Jr. rounded out the top five after struggling to find the balance with his mustang during the first half of the race.
“It was tough because we were up and down a lot today,” Hornish said. “Our car wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be, but it was better than yesterday. Well it’s not going to victory lane, it’s a victory kind of day.”
Hornish added that he’s confident about the championship going into the final race of the year.
“We had the opportunity to go down and test so I feel we have that on our side,” he added. “I like Homestead and we’ve always run good there. We’re going to go down there and do what we can do. 8 points is more than what we want, but it’s manageable and we’re going to go for it.”
Matt Kenseth finished sixth followed by Trevor Bayne, Elliott Sadler, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney.