By Jeff Thornton
A race that started at 2:45 pm this past Sunday did not end until after 8:10 pm. A sellout crowd witnessed a lot of heat and weather issues along with a lot of entertaining racing. The race started with a track temperature of 134 degrees. Debris on the track extended a few more parade laps until the green flag dropped. Ryan Blaney edged Busch at the end of the first lap to take the race lead. The first caution came on lap two when Tyler Reddick spun bringing out the first caution of the day. There were three more caution laps until the race was red flagged on lap five for lightning spotted several miles from the track. The weather-related stoppage lasted for 1 hour 45 minutes. The temperature and humidity fell after the long stoppage making the race more enjoyable for the fans.
On the restart Busch passed Blaney for the lead on lap nine and the two would change positions several times during the first stage but Busch held on to win the first stage of the race. The amount of braking created several issues with exploding brake parts. The first car that had brake issues was Carson Hocevar on lap 91 bringing out another caution flag. Blaney regained the lead on the restart and would go on to win the second stage of the race ending on lap 140. Tyler Reddick would bring out another caution on lap 173 when his brake rotor also broke apart. His afternoon would be finished for the day.
Kyle Larson would take the lead on the restart. Noah Gregson would bring out a red flag when his car also blew a rotor on lap 199. It took several minutes to clear the debris and car from the track. Gregson would be ok. After this caution, Kyle Busch took over the lead. Lap 219 would result in another red flag when Austin Cendric clipped Austin Dillon who then collided with Ricky Stenhouse Jr who hit and damaged the wall. This would take several minutes to repair. Busch would take the lead on the restart.
Bubba Wallace brought out the final caution on lap 236 when his brake rotor exploded. Busch would take the lead in overtime and never looked back. Busch in his 15th race for Richard Childress racing this season now has three wins. Busch now has won in the Cup series at 25 different tracks. This was the 9th Cup series race won from the pole and his 63rd win in the Series. “It is always fun to be able to win. Thanks to the crew for getting me an outstanding car. It was hard on the restarts but we were able to win at the end,” said Busch.
Denny Hamlin was second, Joey Lagano last year’s winner was third and Kyle Larson finished fourth. In the Toyota 200 on Saturday, Grant Erfinger out lasted Christian Eckes in overtime to win the Nascar Truck Series race. The weekend had a lot of action and fans. The track did an outstanding job as host for this weekend!