Kyle Busch dominates again to win second SRX race in a row at Berlin Raceway

SRX / Wayne Riegle

Even rain couldn’t hold Kyle Busch back in Michigan. In two SRX series starts this season, Kyle Busch has won both of them.

It was once again a dominant win, like his win at Motor Mile in southwestern Virginia, this time over Brad Keselowski. It makes him the first driver to go back-to-back on the pavement in series history.

After gaining the lead in the closing laps, Busch had to defend his lead in a late race restart following a Fun Flag designed to bunch up the field. He was able to get the jump and won by .783 seconds.

“The restart was really good,” he acknowledged. “Just being here before, knowing what to expect, all that sort of stuff… I thought about restarting in fourth and I thought, ‘oh, don’t change it up now, just stick with what I was doing all night.'”

Busch has plenty of experience at the track, having competed in late models at the famous racetrack. Now he’s been able to convert his success into the SRX in its rebirth of Thursday Night Thunder on ESPN.

“Can’t say enough about the guys that I get to work with, they’re a lot of fun, everybody does a great job on these SRX cars.”

“Would love to come back. This is my two-for-two and I’m out for the year, but the rest of these guys can put on a show for you.”

It is his last appearance in the series this season. He said he wasn’t able to make any more starts this season since the other races conflicted with his NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

“I was only able to fit in these two races that made sense for me and my family and everything,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday.

However, he said that he’s open for more races in the future, something that should worry his SRX competitors.

After a rain delay that forced a shortening of the second heat race and a delay to the main event, the race was initially led by Brad Keselowski, who took the lead early and was chased by Kyle Busch. Busch made contact with Keselowski for the second week in a row but didn’t send him spinning this time.

The Fun Flag, an invention by SRX that serves no purpose but to bunch up the field and create more exciting on racing, on lap 28 was the first caution.

Another invention by SRX is live-race radios. Joey Logano talked to Kyle Busch on lap 41 after the green flag came out.

“Heard you get on the radio, that lights a fire,” Busch said as he lost ground on Keselowski before getting passed by Helio Castroneves while talking to Logano.

Helio Castroneves then took the lead from Brad Keselowski with 40 laps to go before a Fun Flag lap 62 was the second caution.

After the restart, Kyle Busch passed Castroneves for the lead on the outside with 25 laps to go. Kesolowski followed him past after making contact and getting Castroneves slightly sideways off his bumper.

Busch first held onto the lead through a Fun Flag that flew 16 laps to go that increased the intensity in the middle of the pack. Hailie Deegan challenged Ryan Newman heavily for fourth right behind Helio Castroneves in the final laps, with a hard-charging Marco Andretti just behind in sixth.

The final restart came after a Fun Flag with 6 laps to go. Kyle Busch got the jump on the restart, with Brad able to slot in for second.

The rest of the field was two-wide. Ryan Newman able to get third. Marco Andretti, who saved his tires particularly well to climb from the back of the pack, and Hailie Deegan both passed Castroneves.

It was tire strategy that allowed drivers to advance through the .438-mile circular oval, with Andretti putting his tires to best use.

Johnny Benson Jr. finished last despite earning heavy cheers from the crowd when the Grand Rapids, Michigan driver competed at the track in his hometown.

Brad Keselowski won the first heat at the track with set by random draw and Ryan Newman won the second after the field was inverted.

The series returns for a dirt race at Eldora Speedway. The cast of full-time drivers will be joined by Chase Briscoe, replacing the suspended Paul Tracey, whose suspension will last the rest of the year, series CEO Don Hawk confirmed.

He’ll be joining NHRA drag racer Ron Capps, along with Tony Kanaan, Austin Dillon and Matt Kenseth who will be joining series regulars Marco Andretti, Hailie Deegan, Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, and Ken Schrader.

Photos: SRX at Berlin Raceway

SRX Race 4 Results

1 – Kyle Busch
2 – Brad Keselowski
3 – Ryan Newman
4 – Marco Andretti
5 – Hailie Deegan
6 – Ken Schrader
7 – Tony Stewart
8 – Helio Castroneves
9 – Bobby Labonte
10 – Kevin Harvick
11 – Kasey Khane
12 – Johnny Benson Jr.

Owen Johnson