Xfinity Final Field Set
Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch won Saturday night’s Xfinity Series race at Phoenix International but the big news took place behind him where the Championship 4 field was set.
Earning berths in the championship-deciding final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway next week are Justin Allgaier, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Elliott Sadler.
Busch led 190 of 200 laps on the way to his 10th victory of the season, his 10th at the one-mile track and the 86th of his career, extending his own series record. He beat runner-up Austin Dillon by 6.115 seconds.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished third.
“It means a lot,” said Busch. “That’s what we set out to do tonight, and we’ve been really fast here at Phoenix.
“We’ve had some great race cars and Chris Gayle (crew chief) and all these guys do such a great job each and every week preparing these things – and it’s fun to win here.”
Allgaier and Suarez secured spots in the Championship 4 with respective fourth and fifth-place finishes. Jones, who recovered from a pit road mistake on Lap 93, finished 10th.
Sadler’s inclusion in the final four sat in doubt after the race as NASCAR officials pondered whether loose lug nuts would cost Sadler, the 13th-place finisher, his spot.
NASCAR found two loose lug nuts, and decided crew chief Kevin Meendering will serve a suspension next week.
“The emotions of the last 30 minutes have been tough,” Sadler said. “We knew one was loose, and one was in question. Kevin’s pretty much become my best friend, and Kevin’s made me a race car driver again this year…
“We’ve saved our Darlington car – our best car – for Homestead. We’ve put all our eggs in that car. We’ve done everything right as a race team to go to Homestead with a legitimate shot of walking away a champion… Now that we know he’s going to be suspended, it’s going to be tough.”
Series Managing Director Wayne Auton said there was never a possibility of Sadler losing his spot in the Championship 4.
“At the end of the race, we bring all the cars down to the entrance of pit road for inspection of the wheels and the lug nuts,” Auton said. “We observed that the No. 1 car had two lug nuts not secured to the wheel. With that being said, all the teams were very much aware at the start of the Chase of the violations that could come about.
“We’ve advised the team that they’re going to be looking for a crew chief for next week and a monetary fine of about $10,000. It’s clearly in the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series rule book.”
NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – Ticket Galaxy 200
Phoenix International Raceway
Saturday, November 12, 2016
- (1) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 200.
- (8) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200.
- (13) Ricky Stenhouse Jr(i), Ford, 200.
- (9) Justin Allgaier (C), Chevrolet, 200.
- (6) Daniel Suarez (C), Toyota, 200.
- (3) Ryan Reed (C), Ford, 200.
- (22) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 200.
- (4) Blake Koch (C), Chevrolet, 200.
- (11) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 200.
- (2) Erik Jones (C) #, Toyota, 200.
- (14) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 200.
- (17) Aric Almirola(i), Ford, 200.
- (10) Elliott Sadler (C), Chevrolet, 200.
- (15) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200.
- (19) Justin Marks, Chevrolet, 200.
- (20) Cole Whitt(i), Toyota, 200.
- (24) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 199.
- (16) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 199.
- (12) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 199.
- (21) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 199.
- (30) Brandon Gdovic, Chevrolet, 199.
- (26) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 199.
- (33) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 197.
- (32) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 197.
- (36) BJ McLeod #, Ford, 197.
- (37) Brandon Hightower, Dodge, 196.
- (35) Austin Theriault(i), Chevrolet, 196.
- (40) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 191.
- (39) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 190.
- (38) DJ Kennington, Ford, Engine, 165.
- (23) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Accident, 150.
- (5) Darrell Wallace Jr (C), Ford, Accident, 148.
- (18) Corey LaJoie, Toyota, Accident, 148.
- (34) Garrett Smithley #, Chevrolet, Accident, 145.
- (25) Brendan Gaughan (C), Chevrolet, Accident, 136.
- (27) Ray Black Jr #, Chevrolet, Accident, 103.
- (28) Jeff Green, Ford, Accident, 90.
- (7) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Accident, 54.
- (31) Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, Brakes, 14.
- (29) Matt DiBenedetto(i), Toyota, Vibration, 3.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 97.31 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 03 Mins, 19 Secs. Margin of Victory: 6.115 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 6 for 39 laps.
Lead Changes: 6 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: K. Busch(i) 0; E. Jones (C) # 1-3; K. Busch(i) 4-95; T. Dillon 96-100; K. Busch(i) 101-152; J. Allgaier (C) 153-154; K. Busch(i) 155-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Busch(i) 3 times for 190 laps; T. Dillon 1 time for 5 laps; E. Jones (C) # 1 time for 3 laps; J. Allgaier (C) 1 time for 2 laps.
Top 10 in Points: D. Suarez (C) – 3,111; E. Sadler (C) – 3,102; E. Jones (C) # – 3,097; J. Allgaier (C) – 3,096; B. Koch (C) – 3,092; R. Reed (C) – 3,089; D. Wallace Jr (C) – 3,048; B. Gaughan (C) – 3,032; B. Poole # – 2,178; T. Dillon – 2,174.No Comment