It was a hot day in the ALSCO Uniforms 250 of the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Texas Motor Speedway, the hottest race in series history on the 1.5 mile track. Kyle Busch fought for the lead on most restarts of the race, ultimately pushing Justin Allgaier into overtime to claim his 10th Xfinity victory in Texas.
Busch started the race 14th but quickly moved into the peloton on stage one, taking the lead from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones on a restart on lap 26 after the competition warning. However, his car didn’t stay in front for very long, Austin Cindric rounded him for the first time, winning the first stage.
The No.54 came back on top on the next restart and held on to win the second stage. This time Daniel Hemric took the lead from Busch when the race turned green. This was short lived, as Busch regained control during a restart on lap 98.
Allgaier started to show his strength on lap 117, taking the lead ahead of Busch. Another pair of warning flags would fly and the two would continue to swap positions until the green-white checkered finish. Cindric pushed Busch upside down, allowing the No.54 to retain the top spot on the No.7 JR Motorsports car.
Busch led 94 of 171 laps to claim his 99th career NXS victory and his second of the 2021 season, coming so close to the century.
Allgaier was second, Cindric third, Hemric fourth and Jones completed the top five.
Noah Gragson took a well-deserved seventh place after running close to the front for most of the race. After not even completing a lap last week in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Gragson started in 30th place. He worked his way through the field from the start, placing in the top 15 on lap 17.
Eventually, Gragson entered the top 10 on lap 40, just before the end of stage one. His pit crew made some good changes to the No.9 Chevrolet, allowing Gragson to slide so close into the top five. Although he was not as quick as Allgaier, he remained around fourth place until the last nine laps.
It was Gragson’s sixth top 10 of the season and shattered a four-finish streak of 15th or worse, three of which did not finish. He now sits ninth in the points standings with 12 races to go before the playoffs.
– JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) June 12, 2021
A promising day quickly turned sour for Jeb Burton, who fell on lap 61 after a contact from Josh Berry. Burton suffered a lot of damage up front after hitting the inside wall and ended up finishing in a disappointing 32nd. He was not happy with Berry, although the No. 8 driver JR Motorsports apologized for the incident.
– FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 12, 2021
Jeb Burton chatted with Josh Berry with Berry still in the car. pic.twitter.com/rqCuy9GC5z
– Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 12, 2021
Myatt Snider also met Berry and suffered a similar fate, although this happened much later in the race. Snider had come back from 32nd place at one point to enter the top 10 around the 66th lap. He kept Richard Childress Racing’s No.2 car in that position throughout the race, but on lap 158 Snider turned around, smashing the inside wall.
– NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) June 12, 2021
His good run ended there, bringing him back to 33rd place. It was Snider’s sixth consecutive result, either 16th or worse, his last top 10 (ninth) arriving at the Talladega Superspeedway in April. He still has the victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway to keep him in the top 12 for the playoffs, at least for now.
The ugly one
The accidents were really ugly here today; one of them involved Jeffrey Earnhardt and Stefan Parsons, who broke off a corner on the back straight and collided with the No.0 JD Motorsports car. Earnhardt seemed to suffer the most as they both ventured into the Inner Wall, ending their lives.
However, one of the biggest wrecks of the day involved Gray Gaulding and Tanner Berryhill, who reunited on the frontstretch. Both cars sustained serious damage to their cars, although Gaulding’s No.52 appeared to suffer the consequences. After Berryhill hit Gaulding, No.52 went to hit the outside wall, then went through the infield and hit the inside wall, coming to a stop. Gaulding got out of the car, as No.23 headed for the garage.
Harrison Burton also spun late in the race as he was in the top 10, crashing hard in Turn 2. His rear suffered significant damage and he finished 30th, a difficult end for the winner of the fall 2020 in Texas.
Honorable mention for the ugliest part of the day was the heat, as temperatures started in the mid-90s outside of cars. Interior temperatures reached 140s – extremely high heat for these conductors. Many of them wore cool jumpsuits, special clothes with tubes inside designed to help them cool off while running. Still, it was a rough and humid afternoon, and the effects of the heat were showing on the faces of the drivers, especially race winner Busch.
– Xfinity Race (@XfinityRacing) June 12, 2021
Outsider performance of the race
The only outsider in the top 10 was Brett Moffitt and his No. 02 Our Motorsports car. Moffitt, who fought in front most of the time, got his fifth top 10 of the season. He gained 11 positions to finish eighth, breaking a four-race streak outside the top 10. It was a good rebound for Moffitt after finishing 31st last week at Mid-Ohio due to fuel pump issues.
Ryan Sieg narrowly missed his seventh top 10 of the year with an 11th place finish. Brandon Brown was 13th, Jeremy Clements was 14th and Landon Cassill secured his fourth top 15 of 2021, six places above his starting point.
“I don’t care what he said, I’ll see him after the race.” – Jeb Burton responding to his team when Berry apologized for entering into him.
“Overall such a great car. I just got to think about a few things there on a few reboots that may or may not work, but there in the end they did. – Kyle Busch at Fox Sports after winning.
“It was nice to go and have a great day. We had a great day and Kyle beat us. He’s a very good driver and he just beat us today. – Allgaier talks to Performance Racing Network after the race.
The Xfinity race was fun as always, even with Busch’s victory. There were several battles for the lead as well as other positions on the ground. The extreme heat seemed to spice up the action – and probably the pulling compound – a bit. It helped that the Camping World Truck Series competed just before NXS, and it seemed the PJ1 had more grip as the race went on.
However, it still seemed like some drivers got lost, like Parsons outside Earnhardt as they exited Turn 2.
The heat, however, was too much. This race needs to go back in the spring for all series if they are to continue running there twice a year. To make it the hottest Texan race in Xfinity history, it’s not great for fans or riders. There is so much anyone can do to prepare for it.
For the first time since 2011, the Xfinity series will head to Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, June 19. TV coverage switches to NBCSN starting at 3:30 p.m. ET.