Kyle Busch outruns teammate Matt Kenseth for Chicagoland XFINITY win

JOLIET, IL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series FURIOUS 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 19, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

JOLIET, IL – SEPTEMBER 19: Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series FURIOUS 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 19, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

JOLIET, Ill.—In a race where teammates raced like archrivals to the checkered flag, Kyle Busch surged ahead of Matt Kenseth with a crossover move on the next-to-last lap and won the Furious 7 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race by .791 seconds over his Joe Gibbs Racing stablemate at Chicagoland Speedway Saturday night.

The two JGR cars were the clear class of the field, but after they swapped the lead three times on Laps 176 through 178, Busch pulled out to an advantage of more than one second over Kenseth. With Busch trying to save a half-lap of fuel, however, Kenseth closed the gap in the waning laps and roared past his teammate on Lap 199, as both drivers were trying to dodge the lapped car of John Wes Townley.

With Kenseth powering his No. 20 Toyota deep into Turn 3 after making the pass, Busch was able to cross over and retake the lead to the inside as Kenseth lost momentum.

Busch pulled away on the final lap to win his fourth XFINITY Series race of the season, his fourth at Chicagoland and the 74th of his career, extending his own series record.

Busch’s car, however, was too low on all four corners when the ride height was measured during post-race inspection. NASCAR is taking the car to its tech center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluation. If penalties are warranted, they will be announced next week.

Darrell Wallace Jr. used fuel-mileage strategy to perfection in finishing third, coaxing 67 laps out of his last tank of gas. Paul Menard ran fourth, followed by Ty Dillon, who moved into second place in the series standings, trailing leader Chris Buescher (seventh on Saturday) by 25 points.

Defending XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott ran 14th and dropped one position to third in points, 28 behind Buescher.

Busch thought he had control of the race when he passed Kenseth for the lead on Lap 178 of 200 and began to pull away.

“I thought when I got to him and I cleared him and drove away by a second-plus, it was over, and I said, ‘OK. Thank you—I can breathe a little bit,” Busch said. “Then he started running us back down, and I tried to go back to the top and I was loose up there again when I went back there.

“Just had to battle through there. He was right there, though… Once he lost his momentum off of (Turn) 4, it was over. That was some fun racing, though.”

Kenseth, who thought he had the faster car, was understandably disappointed with the outcome.

“I had the best car tonight, and I got beat by a better driver,” said Kenseth, who also would have preferred for Townley not to have been in the mix when the outcome of the race was decided.

“It would have been nice if he’d gotten the heck out of the way, I’ll tell you that,” Kenseth said. “Chase (Elliott) was very courteous. He was already a lap down, and he moved down and gave us the top, because he knew that’s where we were racing…

“Clyde Torkel (a reference to Townley derived from the movie Stroker Ace), he just stuck it right between us. I got around him, and he passed me back when I was trying to race Kyle for the win. That was disappointing.”

Wallace’s third-place finish was a career best for the driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, who is battling sixth-place finisher Daniel Suarez for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.

“I try not to let (the rookie contest) worry me too much, but I would say it’s good seeing me pass that 18 (Suarez) on the restarts every once in a while,” Wallace said. “As long as we’re finishing ahead of him, it will be a close battle all the way to the end.”

Suarez currently leads the points battle 251 to 225.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – Furious 7 300

Chicagoland Speedway

Joliet, Illinois

Saturday, September 19, 2015

1. (1) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 200, $91612.

2. (2) Matt Kenseth(i), Toyota, 200, $63647.

3. (12) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Ford, 200, $62603.

4. (7) Paul Menard(i), Chevrolet, 200, $38368.

5. (4) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, $40385.

6. (3) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 200, $37001.

7. (8) Chris Buescher, Ford, 200, $34943.

8. (19) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 200, $33833.

9. (9) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 200, $32734.

10. (11) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 200, $32818.

11. (10) Ryan Reed, Ford, 200, $31338.

12. (14) Kasey Kahne(i), Chevrolet, 200, $24784.

13. (16) John Wes Townley(i), Chevrolet, 199, $30230.

14. (17) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 199, $30716.

15. (18) Dakoda Armstrong, Ford, 199, $29577.

16. (25) Ross Chastain #, Chevrolet, 199, $29241.

17. (13) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 199, $28753.

18. (26) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 199, $28491.

19. (22) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 199, $28280.

20. (15) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 199, $28568.

21. (23) Blake Koch, Toyota, 199, $27957.

22. (6) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 199, $21841.

23. (30) David Starr, Toyota, 196, $27705.

24. (32) Mason Mingus(i), Chevrolet, 195, $27595.

25. (27) Michael Self, Chevrolet, 194, $27608.

26. (31) Jimmy Weller, Chevrolet, 194, $27347.

27. (34) Eric McClure, Toyota, 193, $27237.

28. (33) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 193, $27115.

29. (37) Martin Roy, Chevrolet, 190, $26964.

30. (39) Josh Reaume #, Chevrolet, 182, $27153.

31. (35) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 174, $26697.

32. (21) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Engine, 142, $26586.

33. (20) Cale Conley #, Toyota, Overheating, 140, $26470.

34. (38) Mike Harmon, Dodge, Engine, 129, $26358.

35. (5) Ryan Blaney, Ford, Accident, 108, $26671.

36. (24) Benny Gordon, Toyota, Rear Gear, 105, $18040.

37. (40) Derek White, Dodge, Electrical, 14, $17040.

38. (36) TJ Bell(i), Toyota, Vibration, 13, $16040.

39. (28) Dexter Bean, Chevrolet, Suspension, 6, $15040.

40. (29) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 3, $14040.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  136.709 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 11 Mins, 40 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.791 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 22 laps.

Lead Changes:  15 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Busch(i) 1-23; R. Chastain # 24; B. Scott 25-29; K. Busch(i) 30-40; M. Kenseth(i) 41-73; D. Suarez # 74-75; J. Townley(i) 76; M. Kenseth(i) 77-92; K. Busch(i) 93-136; M. Kenseth(i) 137-144; D. Wallace Jr. # 145-147; B. Scott 148-149; M. Kenseth(i) 150-175; K. Busch(i) 176; M. Kenseth(i) 177; K. Busch(i) 178-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Busch(i) 5 times for 102 laps; M. Kenseth(i) 5 times for 84 laps; B. Scott 2 times for 7 laps; D. Wallace Jr. # 1 time for 3 laps; D. Suarez # 1 time for 2 laps; J. Townley(i) 1 time for 1 lap; R. Chastain # 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 10 in Points: C. Buescher – 945; T. Dillon – 920; C. Elliott – 917; R. Smith – 894; E. Sadler – 839; D. Wallace Jr. # – 838; D. Suarez # – 830; B. Scott – 825; B. Gaughan – 798; R. Reed – 716.

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