Fontana NASCAR: Kyle Busch claims 200th win despite penalty

Dominik Wilde
Busch claims 200th NASCAR win despite penalty
Busch claims 200th NASCAR win despite penalty

Kyle Busch took his 200th NASCAR win by producing a dominant display in the Cup Series race at Fontana.

The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver won all three stages and led 134 laps out of 200 to claim his 53rd premier series victory.

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It wasn't a completely drama-free race for the 2015 Cup series champion though, as he was handed a pitlane speeding penalty between the second and third stages.

It took him just nine laps to get back into the top 10 following the infraction, and a late race caution brought out by a tyre blowout for Bubba Wallace effectively gave Busch a free pitstop halfway through the final stage as he had stayed out while other frontrunners pitted under green.

That put Busch right in the middle of a lead battle between Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

The Ford pair ran first and second at that final restart with Busch hot on their heels, but five laps after the restart Busch breezed past both and wouldn't be challenged for the final 26 laps.

Busch maintained a gap of around 2.4 seconds over Logano in the final stages of the race, eventually crossing the line 2.35s ahead of the reigning champion - making it the first time he had come back from a pitlane penalty to win.

The victory was Busch's 53rd in Cup, but his 200th across the three major NASCAR championships - drawing him level with Richard Petty overall, although all Petty's wins came in the top tier.

Busch claims 200th NASCAR win despite penalty
Busch claims 200th NASCAR win despite penalty

Busch had been on the cusp of the 200 mark since his sweep of all three series at Phoenix a week earlier, and could have claimed it in Saturday's Xfinity race at Fontana had Cole Custer not held him off in the final battle.

Keselowski, who led 42 laps while Busch was back in the pack, finished third ahead of Kevin Harvick.

Ryan Blaney finished fifth - he was the only leading driver not to put during the final caution period, having made a green flag stop a few laps prior.

That arguably cost him a chance at victory as his tyres were marginally older than the leaders on the final restart.

Kurt Busch continued his run as the strongest Chevrolet driver of 2019 with a sixth place finish for Ganassi, ahead of Denny Hamlin - who led eight laps early on.

Martin Truex Jr rallied back from early race contact with a spinning Ricky Stenhouse Jr to finish eighth, with Aric Almirola and polesitter Austin Dillon completing the top 10.

Dillion nearly didn't run the race after falling ill overnight. Haas Xfinity driver Custer was on standby to step in, being the only second-tier series driver left in California able to call up.

His services weren't needed with Dillion completing the race, and running in the top 10 for much of the 400-mile event.

Race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Laps

Gap

1

Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

200

2h47m42.s

2

Joey Logano

Team Penske

Ford

200

2.354s

3

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Ford

200

4.037s

4

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

200

9.146s

5

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Ford

200

9.241s

6

Kurt Busch

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

200

9.820s

7

Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

200

13.178s

8

Martin Truex Jr.

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

200

13.313s

9

Aric Almirola

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

200

17.949s

10

Austin Dillon

Richard Childress Racing

Chevrolet

200

20.084s

11

Chase Elliott

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

200

20.715s

12

Kyle Larson

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

200

24.401s

13

Daniel Suarez

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

200

24.421s

14

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Roush Fenway Racing

Ford

200

28.059s

15

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

200

28.377s

16

Chris Buescher

JTG Daugherty Racing

Chevrolet

200

28.424s

17

Jimmie Johnson

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

200

31.131s

18

Matt DiBenedetto

Leavine Family Racing

Toyota

200

33.800s

19

Erik Jones

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

200

35.571s

20

Paul Menard

Wood Brothers Racing

Ford

200

36.692s

21

Alex Bowman

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

200

37.562s

22

Ryan Newman

Roush Fenway Racing

Ford

199

1 Lap

23

Ryan Preece

JTG Daugherty Racing

Chevrolet

199

1 Lap

24

Michael McDowell

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

198

2 Laps

25

David Ragan

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

198

2 Laps

26

Matt Tifft

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

197

3 Laps

27

Ty Dillon

Germain Racing

Chevrolet

197

3 Laps

28

Ross Chastain

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

195

5 Laps

29

Landon Cassill

StarCom Racing

Chevrolet

195

5 Laps

30

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Richard Petty Motorsports

Chevrolet

194

6 Laps

31

Corey LaJoie

Go FAS Racing

Ford

193

7 Laps

32

Cody Ware

Petty Ware Racing

Chevrolet

192

8 Laps

33

Daniel Hemric

Richard Childress Racing

Chevrolet

192

8 Laps

34

Reed Sorenson

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

192

8 Laps

35

Joey Gase

MBM Motorsports

Toyota

188

12 Laps

36

Garrett Smithley

Spire Motorsports

Chevrolet

188

12 Laps

37

B.J. McLeod

Rick Ware Racing

Ford

172

28 Laps

38

Clint Bowyer

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

130

Overheating

Drivers' standings

Pos

Driver

Points

1

Kyle Busch

237

2

Joey Logano

222

3

Kevin Harvick

213

4

Denny Hamlin

205

5

Brad Keselowski

176

6

Aric Almirola

174

7

Martin Truex Jr.

169

8

Kyle Larson

163

9

Kurt Busch

160

10

Ryan Blaney

155

11

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

146

12

Chase Elliott

135

13

Erik Jones

133

14

Jimmie Johnson

121

15

Clint Bowyer

119

16

Alex Bowman

110

17

Ryan Newman

107

18

Daniel Suarez

105

19

William Byron

104

20

Austin Dillon

103

21

Paul Menard

98

22

Chris Buescher

94

23

Ty Dillon

84

24

Matt DiBenedetto

76

25

Ryan Preece

61

26

David Ragan

61

27

Daniel Hemric

58

28

Michael McDowell

54

29

Corey LaJoie

54

30

Darrell Wallace Jr.

49

31

Matt Tifft

41

32

Landon Cassill

33

33

Jamie McMurray

19

34

Cody Ware

17

35

Quin Houff

7

36

Reed Sorenson

4

37

Casey Mears

1

38

Ross Chastain

0

39

Parker Kligerman

0

40

B.J. McLeod

0

41

Brendan Gaughan

0

42

Tyler Reddick

0

43

Bayley Currey

0

44

Joey Gase

0

45

Garrett Smithley

0

46

Ryan Truex

0


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