Busch Wins Lilly Diabetes 250 At Indy

Start of the 2016 Lilly Diabetes 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Start of the 2016 Lilly Diabetes 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [John Wiedemann Photo]

It was looking like an easy win for Kyle Busch in today’s Lilly Diabetes 250 NASCAR XFINITY race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A victory burn-out seemed to be near. Other than an early pit stop he had led for 55 laps from the pole and was cruising.

But two late-race cautions on laps 50 and 56 set up a green-white-checker finish that looked like doom for the worn out tires of Busch’s Joe Gibbs Toyota.

“Those restarts, especially the last one, weren’t good for us on old tires,” admitted Busch who was looking to score his 83rd XFINITY Series win.

The first caution on lap 50, when Erik Jones spun,  brought strategy into the race as Busch and second-place Daniel Suarez chose to stay out on old tires while challengers Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and others put on new Goodyears.

Busch held off the field on that restart however, as Suarez spun in turn two and Busch stretched his lead until the second caution on lap 55.

With Larson next to Busch and Harvick on his back bumper it looked like the two might just get together and stop the dominant Gibbs Toyota.

“I thought the #2 (Paul Menard) might give me a shove,” Larson said. “and that would give me a shot to beat him into turn one. But Kyle’s car takes-off better than anybody, even on worn tires.”

Harvick had a better view of the restart from the second row and hoped that on newer tires he, too, could forge ahead. “I didn’t get a good restart and then my first turn didn’t go well and that was that. I thought I could get him on the backstretch but the 48 car blocked my way.”

Even on very worn tires Busch stretched his lead as his challengers squabbled behind him. “I saw Harvick battle Larson behind me and got a pretty good jump. Harvick gave me a little shove but I had my way in turn one and that sealed it,” said Busch who won both Brickyard weekend races a year ago and was just 0.411 sec. ahead at today’s flag.

Menard hustled to third while Larson and Allgaier rounded-out the top five.

The Dash 4 Cash battle for the $100,000 prize went to Jason Allgaier as first Erik Jones and later Suarez eliminated themselves, allowing Allgaier to pass teammate Elliot Sadler on that last restart and claim the bonus cash. All Allgaier could say about the pass that cinched the $$,” I have no idea how that happened.”

So Busch did get to do a smoky burn-out and Allgaier was counting his Cash, the winner was also thinking about Sunday and another Brickyard sweep. “I’ll be starting up front tomorrow and you know what that means here.”

And so do his competitors.

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