It was a big weekend for NASCAR as the series gets into full swing after the suspension of its season due to CIVID 19. Kyle Busch earned his 58th career win on Saturday at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in the NASCAR Trucks Series race, while Harrison Burton won the Hooters 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
Saturdays win was the 58th career and the 8th win in his last ten races in the series. The last two races resulted in losses for Busch, but it wasn’t long before the Nevada native returned to the winners’ circle with his 58th career win. It was also and the 8th win in his last ten races in the series, and for Kyle Busch, he saw that as a drought, considering it has been since 2017 that he has gone more than three starts without a win.
Busch dominated the night and led the pack for 82 of 134 laps. While there were a few situations that proved to be a challenge, they had little impact on Busch. Busch was forced to start the race at the back of the field, then accessed a drive-through penalty due to his car failing the pre-race inspection. However, it wasn’t long before he put his sights on the job ahead, commenting, Busch said,
“It was awesome tonight. We’ve thrown away the last two races. This is how we’re supposed to perform and run and look.”
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The race was not without accidents and saw a red flag caution that lasted for sixteen minutes after an incident that saw Sheldon Creed crashing into the yellow barrels resulting in a mess at the entrance to pit road. This came with 26 laps remaining, and once the race went green, Busch quickly retook the lead. However, with seven laps remaining, the race once again went yellow, and that saw the pack bunching up and heading into a restart that Busch was able to stay ahead of.
Tyler Ankrum and Ross Chastain joined Busch on the podium in second and third respectively. Last year’s Homestead winner Brett Moffitt failed to finish after being part of an early race crash. That incident also brought an end to the day for Zane Smith who lost control.
After a week that saw Ray Ciccarelli in the news after a post he made on Facebook against NASCAR’s banning of the Confederate flag during races, he was behind the wheel racing. The post lamented how Ciccarelli would quit the sport at the conclusion of this season versus deal with the “political BS.” Commenting on the controversy, Ciccarelli said,
“I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn’t make them a racist.”
The comment didn’t do Ciccarelli’s CMI Motorsports team any favours and resulted in Bayley Currey, who only days before had been announced at the new #49 driver tweeting “Have helmet, will travel” which was quickly followed by “dowhatisright.”
In other Homestead news, the running of the Hooters 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race saw Harrison Burton coming from behind and taking the checkered flag to finish ahead of Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson. Burton chose to take the inside line going into the final lap, and that proved the right move allowing him to hold onto the lead and earn the win. That decision denied Noah Gragson and, Dale Earnhardt Jr. any hopes of regaining the lead, both of whom were in commanding positions in the final seven laps.
At the restart, Harrison Burton, Gragson and Austin Cindric went into the first turn three wide. Burton, who is the son of Jeff Burton wound up ahead and managed to hold off a hard-charging Gragson and Cindric. After the race, Burton’s mother, Kim, tweeted,
“Omg!!!!!! What a bad assss restart. You are the damn man kid!!!! I love you.”
As the checkered flag waved, it was Cindric earning second, and Gragson in third, Anthony Alfredo in fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr finished in 5th. Commenting on the final lap, Burton said,
“I don’t know what I was doing, either, honestly, what a race.”
The win put Burton in the record books at Homestead as the youngest driver to win a series race. Cindric earned his top five career finish but has yet to earn a win in 2020, a goal the son of team Penske president Tim Cindric is hoping to get soon. Speaking to the media after the race, Cindric said,
“Lot of personal strides, but at the same point, tired of losing, but losing in this sport means that you’re close to winning.”
The Hooters 250 was the third race from Earnhardt since he retired from full-time racing in 2017. His performance has seen him in the top five of each of those races and was close to overtaking Gragson before the flag came out. Commenting, Earnhardt said,
“I was rusty, all the way through.”
Earnhardt remains winless at Homestead at17 Cup Series starts and has only finished once in the top 10. While he may have wanted a better result, the day was a memorable one for the famed driver and son of Dale Earnhardt. It was announced on Saturday that Earnhardt is one of fifteen nominated for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It is expected that voting results will be announced on Tuesday, one that Earnhardt will broadcast on his podcast. Speaking on the nomination, Earnhardt said,
“If we are chosen, we’ll talk about that. If we are not chosen, we’ll talk about the ones that are and celebrate those people.”
Prior to the race starting on Saturday, Earnhardt was heard on his radio during the pace laps that he was a bit anxious about being behind the wheel again. In conversation with his team, Earnhardt said,
“There ought to be something in the rule book to keep this from happening. I haven’t been in a race car since Darlington last year. I’ve got no laps. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’ve been nervous as hell for a week.”
For fans, no one would have known it, and Earnhardt seemed like his usual self, getting up there in the action. NASCAR now moves on to the GEICO 500 at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. With the season heating up, fans hoping to score a bonus will find bet365 welcoming its newest players with up to $200 in bonuses. With eight races scheduled before August, the timing could not be better – register today!