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Kyle Busch wins NASCAR Xfinity race at Chicagoland

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Kyle Busch wins NASCAR Xfinity race at Chicagoland

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Joe Gibbs Racing grabbed its first victory of the weekend on Saturday night when Kyle Busch won the Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

The race was a rout for JGR as drivers Busch and Matt Kenseth combined to lead 186 of the 200 laps.

The two then dueled over the closing laps, with Kenseth sliding past Busch for the lead with two laps remaining. Kenseth had to race his way around Chase Elliott and John Wes Townley to make the sweeping pass of his teammate.

But Busch immediately answered, snatched the lead back, and sailed off to his record 74th career Xfinity Series victory. Kenseth was stuck behind Townley over the final lap, which held him up and prevented him from making another attempt at the win.

He dryly then referred to Townley as the character who played a fried chicken magnate in "Stroker Ace" when discussing the closing laps. Townley is sponsored by his family's chain of fried chicken restaurants.

"Yeah, I just couldn't get Clyde Torkel out of the way, but I was trying, man," said Kenseth, who noted Elliott moved out of the way. "Thanks to Chase for giving us a lane to race for the win."

Busch marveled at the closing laps in victory lane.

"That was some fun racing," he said before accepting the winning trophy from actor/rapper Ludacris.

Kenseth finished second, and the two Toyota drivers ran first and second for all but 17 laps of the race.

It was a strong opening race for JGR, which has won seven of the last 14 Xfinity Series races. More impressive, the organization heads into Sunday's opening round of NASCAR's playoffs with eight wins in the last 11 Sprint Cup events.

All four of JGR's drivers are in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field and the organization is considered a heavy favorite to win the Cup championship this year.

On Saturday, in a race for fun, Busch certainly enjoyed the closing laps with his teammate.

"That was a race. I thought that was a blast being able to run with Matt like that. I'm glad it was a teammate," Busch said, noting he thought an earlier pass of Kenseth had sealed the win.

"I thought when I got to him and I got clear of him and I drove away from him, it was over. I thought 'Thank you, I can breathe a little bit.' Then he started running us back down."

Kenseth was disappointed in defeat.

"The best car didn't win tonight, the best driver did," said Kenseth. "Kyle just did a better job driving than I did and I had the fastest car. I just took too long to get to the top (lane) and try to make that work. So anyway, we got beat. It's a bummer to be second."

Darrell Wallace Jr. finished third in a Ford and was followed by the Chevrolets of Paul Menard and Ty Dillon. Daniel Suarez, in the third JGR Toyota in the field, finished sixth.

Kyle Larson finished 22nd after running out of fuel in the closing laps for the second time Saturday. He was leading the Truck Series race Saturday morning and was headed to the victory when he ran out of gas.

He took to Twitter almost immediately after the race ended to vent about his bad luck.

"Hope I'm done worrying about fuel for the weekend," he tweeted.

Tales of the Turtles 400 coming to Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 17

Tales of the Turtles 400 coming to Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 17

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, titled Tales of the Turtles 400, is coming to Joliet on Sept. 17, Chicagoland Speedway and Nickelodeon announced last week.

It will mark the seventh straight year Chicagoland Speedway will kick off NASCAR's playoffs.

Nickelodeon Sr. Vice President of Sports Marketing Anthony DiCosmo and President of Chicagoland Speedway Scott Paddock joined SportsTalk Live to discuss it all, and even had a few special guests join them as well.

Check it out in the video above.

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Kurt Busch had a monster start to the season with a last-lap pass to win the crash-filled Daytona 500.

Busch is sponsored by Monster Energy, which kicked off its first season as the title sponsor for NASCAR's top series Sunday with the season-opener. It wasn't NASCAR finest moment, though, as multiple accidents pared down the field and had a mismatched group of drivers racing for the win at the end.

"The more that becomes unpredictable about Daytona, the more it becomes predictable to predict unpredictability," Busch said. "This car's completely thrashed. There's not a straight panel on it. The strategy today, who knew what to pit when, what segments were what. Everybody's wrecking as soon as we're done with the second segment.

"The more that I've run this race, the more that I just throw caution to the wind, let it rip and just elbows out. That's what we did."

It appeared to be pole-sitter Chase Elliott's race to lose, then he ran out of gas. So did Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard. As they all slipped off the pace, Busch sailed through for his first career Daytona 500 victory.

It also was the first Daytona 500 win for Stewart-Haas Racing, which is co-owned by Tony Stewart. The three-time champion retired at the end of last season and watched his four cars race from the pits.

"I ran this damn race (17) years and couldn't win it, so finally won it as an owner," Stewart said.

Ryan Blaney finished second in a Ford. AJ Allmendinger was third in a Chevrolet, and Aric Almirola was fourth for Richard Petty Motorsports.

The win was a huge boost for Ford, which lured Stewart-Haas Racing away from Chevrolet this season and celebrated the coup with its second Daytona 500 victory in three years. Joey Logano won in a Ford in 2015.

The first points race of the Monster era was run under a new format that split the 500 miles into three stages. Kyle Busch won the first stage, Kevin Harvick won the second stage and neither was a contender for the win. NASCAR also this year passed a rule that gave teams just five minutes to repair any damage on their cars or they were forced to retire.

But the race was slowed by wreck after wreck after wreck, including a 17-car accident at the start of the final stage that ended the race for seven-time and reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick. It was a particularly rough incident for Patrick and her Stewart-Haas Racing team, which had all four of its cars collected in the accident.

"Just seems like that could have been avoided and was uncalled for," Johnson said of the aggressive racing behind him that triggered the accident.