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NASCAR Saturday at Homestead: Burton wins Xfinity; Kyle Busch wins Trucks

NASCAR Saturday at Homestead: Burton wins Xfinity; Kyle Busch wins Trucks

NASCAR Xfinity Series Hooters 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Harrison Burton squeaks out a win

Homestead, FL, June 13/20 (GRW): Coming to the restart after the final caution, with two laps to go, Harrison Burton was lined up alongside the race leader Noah Gragson. On the green he floored it and he was able to stay alongside Gragson but Austin Cindric had his eye on the prize and he shot ahead into position between the other two. The three raced like that to the checker but Burton squirted out ahead to beat Cindric to the line by 0.179 seconds. Gragson was right behind in third place. Those final two laps were the only laps that young Burton had led all the race.

“I’m so excited, that’s so awesome,” said Burton. “I gave away the lead in the first restart in the same position and I didn’t really want to do that again. I knew the nine (Gragson) was going to drive in real deep and slide up so I felt good about that. What a race, man. This track is so much fun and really puts it in the driver’s hands, especially at the end there. I’m just ready to go again tomorrow, to be honest with you. I’m ready to get two.”

Before that final caution came out Gragson had led for 83 laps and he had a five-second advantage over Dale Earnhardt Jr – so it looked like he had the win in the bag.

“It was tough,” Gragson said. “The No. 9 guys had really great pit stops all day. Restarts were just the biggest struggle. I was really proud of my restarts here last year here, but just couldn’t get them going [today]. I thought we were going to be able to come home with the win today running the top [for the final restart].”

There was drama even before the race went green. Chase Briscoe, who has already won twice and is looking like a strong contender for the championship, had a problem with his ballast mountings and he had to come into the pits for repairs before he was allowed to start. This left him six laps down on the race leaders – it seemed impossible the he could be a contender for the race win with such a deficit. However, during the race, he was able to make amazing progress and with 40 laps to go to the finish, he was on the lead lap in third place. However, he was out of sequence on his pit stops and he had to make one more stop, and he fell back. When the final caution flew there were only seven cars on the lead lap and when they all pitted he cycled back onto the lead lap and he was able to convert that to a seventh place finish. An amazing result, given how far back he had fallen at the start of the race. With a second round of the Xfinity cars running the next day, Briscoe would be starting from the fifth row with a good shot at another win.

At the start of the race, Gragson led at first before Ross Chastain took the lead coming off the lap 15 competition caution. But then Ryan Sieg took over and he led until the end of the first Stage.

A few laps into the second Stage Cindric pushed forward to lead the race until the next caution on lap 59. After that, Chastain led for 10 laps until Gragson regained the lead and won the second Stage. Earnhardt won the race out of the pits and he led for the next four laps under yellow – the only laps he was credited with leading in the whole race. After that, Chastain and Cindric took their turns in the lead but soon Gragson took over again and he was looking like being the strongest contender now.

Gragson lost the lead to Sieg in the round of green-flag pit stops half-way through the final Stage but, with 32 laps remaining, it was Gragson back in control – and he led the remaining laps until that final caution flew close to the end of the race – the caution which let Burton gain his advantage and win the race.

Click HERE for the results of the Xfinity Series Hooters 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The next Xfinity Series Race was scheduled to be run the next day (Sunday, June 14) right back here at Homestead Speedway.

PHOTO NGROTS HMS BuschLead 061320Kyle Busch leads Austin Hill during the Baptist Health 200 (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

NASCAR NGROTS Baptist Health 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Kyle Busch shakes of a penalty to take a dominant win

Homestead, FL, June 13/20 (GRW): Kyle Busch made up for his non-wins in the previous two truck races by overpowering the opposition on his way to a convincing win here. Apparently, his team was caught out by a rule change which made their truck illegal. It passed after they removed a reinforcing bar but now he had to go to the back of the field and he had to do a drive through the pits when the green flag flew to start the race. He managed to stay on the lead lap – but just barely.

When the first Stage ended on lap 30 of the 134-lap race, Busch was still back in 33rd place at the back of the lead lap trucks. However, he skipped pitting this time and this cycled him up into the lead when racing resumed. And, lo and behold, Busch, who had had such a poor start, was still leading when the second Stage ended.

Busch gave up the lead when the sixth caution + red flag flew but, after Matt Crafton, Chase Elliott and Christian Eckles led a handful of green-flag laps, Busch was back out in front and he led the rest of the way – through the final caution – to the checkered flag and the win.

On that final caution, with just 12 laps to go, Busch had to take on slightly used tires from earlier in the race while most of the others still had a set of fresh tires they could use. For sure, these used tires worked for him – but had this final run been longer, they might not have been up to the job.

“You’re always concerned about tires being better and having the opportunity to out-show you, but I felt like six laps was just the right amount, any more than that and it probably would have been a different outcome,” said Busch.

The Harvick ‘bounty’ to any Cup driver who can best Busch in this truck series is still on offer and this had encouraged Elliott to try his luck again. Despite being scored as the leader during the red-flag period, he was never able to mount an adequate challenge to Busch’s amazing run; he finished in fourth place behind Tyler Ankrum and Chastain.

Both of the Canadian drivers ran well – they were both up in the top ten at times. However, in the end, Raphael Lessard had to settle for an 11th place finish and Stewart Friesen came home in 14th place.

Click HERE for the results of the NGROTS Baptist Health 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The next NGROTS race will be held at Pocono Raceway in two weeks time on Saturday, June 27.

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