Rain shortened Saturday’s Blue Jeans Go Green 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway from its 200-lap scheduled distance to 168 laps, but that still left Kyle Busch enough time to turn in a dominating performance and claim a third-straight series win at PIR. Busch led all but 13 laps on his way to his seventh-career Nationwide win at Phoenix and the fourth-straight for crew chief Adam Stevens.
“It can rain all it wants as far as I’m concerned,” Busch said as the race leader during the rain delay that led to NASCAR officially calling the race. “But we can go back green, too.”
Kevin Harvick had to settle for runner-up honors, while pole sitter Brad Keselowski finished third.
“We probably had about a third or fourth-place car all weekend,” Keselowski said. “We made adjustements to try to get better, but I just had my hands full for whatever reason.”
Two more Sprint Cup regulars filled out the top-five of the finishing order, with Kyle Larson taking fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth.
Keselowski started on the pole, but lost the lead to Busch on lap six. While Busch continued on up front, Keselowski made contact with the No. 87 of Daryl Harr, causing Harr to spin, wreck and bring out the caution on lap 20. While the front-runners stayed out during the caution, Keselowski pitted for repairs.
The front-runners pitted under green around lap 80. A caution on lap 91 caught most of those who pitted a lap down, but Harvick, Busch and Kenseth were still on the lead lap. They stayed out during the yellow flag to restart first through third. Having pitted during the first caution, Keselowski had yet to pit under green and was able to head down pit road during the yellow flag.
Busch took the lead from Harvick on the restart and ran up front for the remainder of the race. Harvick, though, lost a few more spots on pit road during a caution on lap 134. Keselowski restarted next to Busch on the front row after that caution and challenged for a few laps before Busch was able to clear.
Harvick got back up to second, passing Kenseth for third on the restart and then getting by Keselowski for on lap 159.
The yellow flag and then the red flag for rain didn’t come soon enough for Ryan Reed. Reed spun and wreck, at least partly because of damp conditions.
“I think the comination of a little bit of a damp race track, and I was being super aggressive,” Reed said. “We knew the rain was coming, and we were faster than the guys in front of us and running them down.”
But first, take a look at this photo gallery of images for Saturdays Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR):