With 35 laps left in the Blue Jeans Go Green 200, the skies would open up and rain would begin to fall. After a two-hour rain delay, NASCAR would make the decision to call the race.
When the rain began to fall, it was Kyle Busch that was in front of the field and he would pick up his third straight Phoenix victory behind the wheel of the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry. It marks his 64th career win in the Nationwide Series.
Busch had dominated the race, taking the lead early in the event and leading 155 laps, only falling out of the lead for 13 laps when he had to head down pit road.
“It can rain all it wants now but if we have to go back to green, we can go back out there,” Busch said at the beginning of the rain delay. “This car is good.”
Kevin Harvick, who made the pass by Keselowski shortly before the caution for second, would end up finishing in the runner-up spot. Today’s race at Phoenix International Raceway marked his first race with JR Motorsports.
“Kyle is really fast. We’re struggling on the restarts to get going,” Harvick commented. “Our car is really loose and stays loose for the first six laps. You just go out there and drive the thing in the corner and hope it sticks.”
Brad Keselowski would finish third after winning the pole for the race; he will lead the Sprint Cup Series to the green flag tomorrow as well.
“I haven’t been where I want to be,” Keselowski commented. “We keep making adjustments on it – but we’re getting further away from that. We could finish second or third, but we don’t want to do that as we want to win. So we’ll keep taking shots if we get a chance.”
Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth would round out the top five for a Sprint Cup Series regular sweep of those five spots.
“We kind of lost our brakes about 60 laps to go and couldn’t pass anybody after that so we were stuck where we were,” Kenseth commented. “It’s been going okay.”
Elliott Sadler would finish sixth, followed by Trevor Bayne and JR Motorsports teammates Regan Smith and Chase Elliott. Ty Dillon rounded out the top 10.
“We were just starting to come in,” Dillon commented. “We were way too tight at the start of the race – kept working on it and feel that we can get up to seventh.”
Brian Scott finished 11th, followed by James Buescher, Dylan Kwasniewski, Ryan Sieg and Chris Buescher.
The race would see four caution flags, with the first caution flying at 20 for Daryl Harr going around after contact from Brad Keselowski. Keselowski was working his way through lap traffic when Harr came down and crossed paths with Keselowski.
“I was just trying to go in deep there,” Keselowski commented. “I was just trying to show him a nose and he came down and I couldn’t slow down enough to stop from wrecking him. I hate to see that because of them trying to make it in this series, but that’s part of racing.”
Under that caution, Will Kimmel stalled on the backstretch with a problem in the rear of his vehicle.
Derrike Cope brought out the second caution at lap 90 when he got into the wall after blowing a right front tire, while Jamie Dick blew his motor with 68 laps to go. The final caution came out with 35 laps to go for a combination of rain and rookie Ryan Reed getting into the backstretch wall. Reed got loose off the corner and couldn’t save the car as he made heavy contact with the inside retaining wall.
“I feel fine,” Reed commented. “I just hate it for the guys. I don’t kno what happened down there. I think a combination of the damp track and the car stepping out with me. I tried to save it – but I couldn’t. I just got real aggressive and hate it that happened.”
Daytona winner Regan Smith will keep the points lead heading to Las Vegas next weekend.