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Fontana NASCAR: Kyle Busch claims 200th win despite penalty – NASCAR

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Fontana NASCAR: Kyle Busch claims 200th win despite penalty - NASCAR

Kyle Busch took his 200th NASCAR win by producing a dominant display in the Cup Series race at Fontana.

The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver won all three stages and led 134 laps out of 200 to claim his 53rd premier series victory.

It wasn’t a completely drama-free race for the 2015 Cup series champion though, as he was handed a pitlane speeding penalty between the second and third stages.

It took him just nine laps to get back into the top 10 following the infraction, and a late race caution brought out by a tyre blowout for Bubba Wallace effectively gave Busch a free pitstop halfway through the final stage as he had stayed out while other frontrunners pitted under green.

That put Busch right in the middle of a lead battle between Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

The Ford pair ran first and second at that final restart with Busch hot on their heels, but five laps after the restart Busch breezed past both and wouldn’t be challenged for the final 26 laps.

Busch maintained a gap of around 2.4 seconds over Logano in the final stages of the race, eventually crossing the line 2.35s ahead of the reigning champion – making it the first time he had come back from a pitlane penalty to win.

The victory was Busch’s 53rd in Cup, but his 200th across the three major NASCAR championships – drawing him level with Richard Petty overall, although all Petty’s wins came in the top tier.

Busch had been on the cusp of the 200 mark since his sweep of all three series at Phoenix a week earlier, and could have claimed it in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Fontana had Cole Custer not held him off in the final battle.

Keselowski, who led 42 laps while Busch was back in the pack, finished third ahead of Kevin Harvick.

Ryan Blaney finished fifth – he was the only leading driver not to put during the final caution period, having made a green flag stop a few laps prior.

That arguably cost him a chance at victory as his tyres were marginally older than the leaders on the final restart.

Kurt Busch continued his run as the strongest Chevrolet driver of 2019 with a sixth place finish for Ganassi, ahead of Denny Hamlin – who led eight laps early on.

Martin Truex Jr rallied back from early race contact with a spinning Ricky Stenhouse Jr to finish eighth, with Aric Almirola and polesitter Austin Dillon completing the top 10.

Dillion nearly didn’t run the race after falling ill overnight. Haas Xfinity driver Custer was on standby to step in, being the only second-tier series driver left in California able to call up.

His services weren’t needed with Dillion completing the race, and running in the top 10 for much of the 400-mile event.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200
2 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 200
3 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 200
4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 200
5 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 200
6 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 200
7 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200
8 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200
9 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 200
10 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 200
11 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200
12 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 200
13 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 200
14 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 200
15 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200
16 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 200
17 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200
18 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 200
19 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 200
20 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 200
21 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 200
22 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 199
23 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 199
24 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 198
25 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 198
26 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 197
27 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 197
28 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 195
29 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 195
30 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 194
31 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 193
32 Cody Ware Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet 192
33 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 192
34 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 192
35 Joey Gase MBM Motorsports Toyota 188
36 Garrett Smithley Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 188
37 B.J. McLeod Rick Ware Racing Ford 172
38 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 130

Drivers’ standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Kyle Busch 237
2 Joey Logano 222
3 Kevin Harvick 213
4 Denny Hamlin 205
5 Brad Keselowski 176
6 Aric Almirola 174
7 Martin Truex Jr. 169
8 Kyle Larson 163
9 Kurt Busch 160
10 Ryan Blaney 155
11 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 146
12 Chase Elliott 135
13 Erik Jones 133
14 Jimmie Johnson 121
15 Clint Bowyer 119
16 Alex Bowman 110
17 Ryan Newman 107
18 Daniel Suarez 105
19 William Byron 104
20 Austin Dillon 103
21 Paul Menard 98
22 Chris Buescher 94
23 Ty Dillon 84
24 Matt DiBenedetto 76
25 Ryan Preece 61
26 David Ragan 61
27 Daniel Hemric 58
28 Michael McDowell 54
29 Corey LaJoie 54
30 Darrell Wallace Jr. 49
31 Matt Tifft 41
32 Landon Cassill 33
33 Jamie McMurray 19
34 Cody Ware 17
35 Quin Houff 7
36 Reed Sorenson 4
37 Casey Mears 1
38 Ross Chastain 0
39 Parker Kligerman 0
40 B.J. McLeod 0
41 Brendan Gaughan 0
42 Tyler Reddick 0
43 Bayley Currey 0
44 Joey Gase 0
45 Garrett Smithley 0
46 Ryan Truex 0

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