By Taylor Long
The Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Speedway played out like a movie we have all seen before. Kyle Busch dominated the race, en route to an impressive win. Of course, there were subtle changes but like any given summer’s Marvel Movie, the formula seems secure. Consider Kyle Busch to be NASCAR’s version of Tony Stark, he is here to stay.
It was a relatively clean affair, with the new Aero and Horsepower packages continuing to give drivers more stability over long hauls. The race started with a bang as Ryan Blaney lead the field to the green flag. Chase Elliot was penalized for jumping the restart and served a pass through penalty.
The higher speeds lead to a few minor incidents, with issues for Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, and Erik Jones. Ryan Blaney won the first stage of the race, and this led to a career day for the young driver, eventually finishing second. Kyle Busch took over the lead early on and dominated stage 2.
Stage 3 was more exciting, Aric Almirola was in the mix, as was Jimmie Johnson. Hendrick Motorsports had a mixed day, with Jimmie Johnson leading laps and bringing home a top 10. Alex Bowman left the race after a further incident. Chase Elliot finished 14th, despite a spin and pass through penalty earlier in the race. While it wasn’t what the team hoped for, it was a great step in the right direction.
Ryan Blaney grabbed the lead, but ultimately relented with 20 laps to go. When Kyle Busch took the lead he never looked back. He led 177 laps on the day. This is NASCAR win number 199 for Kyle Busch, who is now a razor’s edge from tying Richard Petty for the most wins in NASCAR history. This is somewhat controversial, as is Busch himself, as all of Petty’s wins came in NASCAR’s premier series. It was a different era, but it was still the top of the series. When Kyle Busch breaks this record is the question, not “if”. He seems on a collision course with the record, as Sunday’s dominance showed.
Joe Gibbs teammate Martin Truex Jr. finished second followed by Blaney and Almirola. Despite Blaney and Almirola having career days, no one was going to beat Kyle Busch at ISM, and as the final leg of the West Coast Swing brings the series to Fontana, California, smart money seems to be back on Busch as he seeks to rewrite one of the sports most hallowed records.