SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Being the best at anything takes talent, hard work and a little more.
On Saturday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch claimed his 96th Xfinity race victory by 0.132 seconds over Justin Allgaier, the defending champion of the event.
But, admittedly, Busch and his Toyota Supra needed a little help and it came from Jeb Burton’s Chevrolet on the race’s final restart on Lap 96.
“Anybody that was behind you, you had to rely on them,’’ Busch said. “You can’t win these races by yourself anymore. You have to rely on those around.
“Jeb did a really good job with the restart, coming up through the gears. He timed the push really well, and it helped us. It propelled us to the victory.’’
Allgaier, who is from Riverton, led three times for 24 laps but he was unable to get in front of Busch on the final restart.
“We just had a couple or restarts at the end that didn’t go our way,’’ Allgaier said, noting that he went from third to seventh on the restart with 16 laps remaining. He was able to work his way back up to fourth before the final caution came out.
In the final laps, Allgaier, driving a Chevrolet, was able to close up on the rear bumper of Busch, but he was never able to make a good enough run to get past Busch.
“(Allgaier) behind me was definitely beating me in turns 1 and 2, no question,’’ Busch said. “But having that straightaway speed, as much as we did, the run that he would get just wasn’t enough.
“He never got close enough to make the move out to try and get by us. If he had two laps more, he probably would have gotten us.’’
Busch, who struggled with the handling of his car for most of the race, seemed like he was destined for just a top-five finish when John Hunter Nemechek brought out the race’s sixth caution flag. After another yellow for an incident between Brandon Jones and Austin Cindric, Busch found himself restarting in the third spot behind Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick.
That’s when the Indiana 250 went sideways for Bell and Reddick, the two drivers spun out and crashed hard into the turn No. 2 wall, allowing Busch to take the lead and Allgaier to be second.
“I’m fine,” Bell said after he and Reddick were checked at the infield medical center and released. “Out of all the NASCAR crashes I’ve been in that definitely takes the cake. I don’t exactly know what happened, I guess both of us had our foots down going into 2.”
When the race restarted Busch chose the inside lane and Burton, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, was close enough to the No. 18 Toyota to keep Busch in front and force Allgaier to spend the final four laps trying to chase. Noah Gragson, another teammate of Allgaier, finished third in the No. 9 Chevy, more than two seconds behind Busch. Burton was fourth.
“Kyle’s great, especially on restarts,” Allgaier said. “That’s what sets him apart.”
So instead of celebrating back-to-back wins at Indy, Allgaier settled for his fourth runner-up finish this season.