NASCAR at Phoenix results: Kyle Busch passes Ryan Blaney late to win TicketGuardian 500

Kyle Busch won his first NASCAR Cup Series race of the season, the TicketGuardian 500, on Sunday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, clinching his 199th career victory in all three major series. Busch collected win No. 198 on Saturday when he took the checkered flag in the Xfinity Series race.

The No. 18 was the dominant car all day, leading the most overall laps. Busch, however, was tested in the Final Stage, battling Ryan Blaney in the final 60 laps before taking the lead for good with 15 to go.

We mentioned it was his 199th win in the NASCAR National Series, well it was his 52nd trip to Victory Lane in the Cup Series. Busch will now have an opportunity to compete for a second career championship as his ticket has been punched to the playoffs alongside Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin. 

It's his third win at Phoenix and the 12th time he's swept a race weekend. The Truck Series wasn't in action this weekend but, for what its worth, Busch won in that series last week too. 

Blaney won Stage 1 from the pole, capitalizing on a short-run shootout at the end of the first 75 laps. Kyle Busch led every lap in Stage 2 to earn his second stage win of the season, tying him with Kevin Harvick for the Cup Series lead. 

TicketGuardian 500 results

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Ryan Blaney
  4. Aric Almirola
  5. Denny Hamlin
  6. Kyle Larson
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Jimmie Johnson
  9. Kevin Harvick
  10. Joey Logano
  11. Clint Bowyer
  12. Ryan Newman
  13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  14. Chase Elliott
  15. Ty Dillon
  16. Chris Buescher
  17. Paul Menard
  18. Daniel Hemric
  19. Brad Keselowski
  20. Matt Tifft
  21. Austin Dillon
  22. Bubba Wallace
  23. Daniel Suarez
  24. William Byron
  25. David Ragan
  26. Corey LaJoie
  27. Ross Chastain
  28. Matt DiBenedetto
  29. Erik Jones
  30. Quin Houff
  31. Bayley Currey
  32. Cody Ware
  33. Landon Cassill
  34. Ryan Preece
  35. Alex Bowman
  36. Michael McDowell

Stage 1: The Blaney and Busch show

Ryan Blaney started on the pole but immediately surrendered the lead to Chase Elliott. Unfortunately for Elliott, he started a little too fast as NASCAR deemed his restart illegal and the No. 9 had to serve a pass-through penalty immediately. When Elliott came down pit road, Blaney regained the top spot.

Kyle Busch rode behind the No. 12 for the first 35 laps, but once the lapped traffic came into play, Busch capitalized on an opportunity and passed Blaney for the lead. Not long after, Erik Jones complained of a rear vibration, blew a tire and went for a spin to bring out the first caution of the day.

Denny Hamlin emerged as the race leader after opting for two tires under yellow ahead of Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson, who also took two tires. Kyle Busch was the first of the drivers taking four tires to make it off pit road in fourth. Elliott flipped some track position during the caution too, bouncing back to the top 20 after the early setback. Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. were penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear.

The two tire gamble didn't help any of the three drivers on the restart as it concerned holding off Kyle Busch, who immediately drove past them on the outside and reclaimed the lead. As Busch paced the field, Brad Keselowski fell to the back of the pack, complaining on the radio about his car. 

Shortly after the complaint, Keselowski blew a tire and hit the wall. The issue was bigger than just a tire however as Keselowski was forced to bring his No. 2 to the garage, though he did rejoin the race. It was almost a headache for Ryan Preece, too, but he continued his wizardry of eluding crashes by narrowly driving around Keselowski. Before the restart, Daniel Suarez's car shut down and he had to be pushed to pit road, although it didn't end his day.

Blaney reclaimed the lead on the restart, capitalizing on Aric Almirola spinning the tires. He would go on to finish the stage in the same position he started: first.

Stage 1 results

  1. Ryan Blaney
  2. Aric Almirola
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Alex Bowman
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Kyle Larson
  7. Austin Dillon
  8. William Byron
  9. Chase Elliott
  10. Kevin Harvick

Stage 2: Kyle Busch leads 'em all 

Kyle Busch restarted Stage 2 from the lead ahead of Kevin Harvick and had no troubles assuming his place out front. Clint Bowyer moved his way into second while Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.

This remained the same throughout the entire stage as Busch led every single lap en route to the green-and-white checkered flag. Busch did run the final two laps under yellow however after Alex Bowman continued the theme of blown tires, running into the wall and ending the stage under caution.

Stage 2 results:

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Clint Bowyer
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Martin Truex Jr.
  5. Denny Hamlin
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Chase Elliott
  10. Kurt Busch

Final Stage: Busch and Blaney duke it out

Kyle Busch won the race off pit road between stages and restarted ahead of Bowyer in the lead. As Busch led the way, in the rear of the field Michael McDowell got loose and hit the wall, taking out his teammate David Ragan in the process. That ended a rough week for McDowell which included getting body-slammed by Daniel Suarez after qualifying.

After McDowell got his car into the garage, Busch brought the field back to green. Similarly to the end of the second stage as Busch was dominating, Bowman lost it yet again and went hard into the wall this time ending his day.

Jimmie Johnson took two tires and won the race off pit road under yellow. During the caution Ryan Newman was penalized for a safety violation while Austin Dillon got tagged for speeding. Johnson may have restarted from the lead but he immediately gave it back to Busch when the field went green.

With the No. 18 out front, things were pretty settled until Elliott became the latest victim to the spinout. He was reporting a vibration a few laps earlier before he lost control of the No. 9. Fortunately for his team, no one was in the vicinity when he spun and Elliott sustained minimal damage.

Daniel Hemric stayed out and led the field to green in the No. 8 ahead of teammate Austin Dillon who took fuel only under yellow. With risky moves came a shaky restart, which proved to be too much for Ryan Preece, who got loose after touching Suarez's bumper and went spinning to bring out another caution. The No. 47 was able to make it back onto the track but not for long as he made contact and brought out the caution again shortly after the restart.

Preece's second caution brought Hemric, Harvick and Bowyer down pit road while the rest of the leaders stayed out. Aric Almirola assumed the race lead on the restart ahead of Austin Dillon and Blaney. The No. 12 took the lead away from Almirola with 60 to go with Busch following into second place not long after.

With less than 50 to go, Matt DiBenedetto brought his car onto pit road citing battery issues. This ruined another strong outing for the No. 95 and more importantly tanked the DFS lineups that used him as a value play similarly to McDowell earlier in the race.

Blaney held the lead until 15 to go when Kyle Busch finally pounced and made his move. Once he made the pass, that was all she wrote as Busch drove onto his first win of the season. 

Hungry for more NASCAR? Relive Sunday's race through our live blog below. And make sure to catch NASCAR all season long streaming on fuboTV (try for free).

TicketGuardian recap

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