Kyle Busch wins 82nd career Xfinity race in dominating fashion at New Hampshire

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Pole sitter Kyle Busch dominated en route to victory in Saturday’s AutoLotto 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Busch, who extended his own Xfinity record of poles earned to 53, led all but 10 laps – 190 of the 200 total laps – to capture his 82nd career Xfinity Series win, also extending his own series record.

“Records are meant to be broken,” Busch said after the race to NBCSN. “There may be somebody like me that comes down in years down the road and that does the same thing I’ve been fortunate enough to do. … It’s something cool for me to do and fun for me to do and helps me out and gives me more experience.”

It was also Busch’s fifth career Xfinity win at the flat 1.058-mile so-called “Magic Mile.”

MORE: Results from Saturday’s AutoLotto 200 at New Hampshire

MORE: Suarez, Sadler, Ty Dillon, Allgaier remain 1st through 4th in Xfinity standings

Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Erik Jones finished second, followed by Brad Keselowski, Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez was fourth and Austin Dillon came in fifth.

“Our cars were pretty equal, I felt like,” Busch said of Jones. “It was just a matter of track position. … (Crew chief) Chris Gale made some really good calls today and had a stout car. It’s fun to come out here, run here and win here. I think I learned a few things today that hopefully I can use tomorrow (in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race).”

Jones not only finished second, he clinched a spot in the inaugural Xfinity Series Chase for the Championship later this season.

“I think we were just as good, if not a little better, when we were close to him (Busch),” Jones said. “I think if we stayed a little closer, maybe we could have forced him to make a mistake. … The 18 was the class of the field today. It feels good to be up there with him, but we want to beat him one of these times.”

Alex Bowman, who will drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, finished eighth in the Xfinity event, even though he was involved in a wreck with Ty Dillon.

“I’ll talk to him,” Bowman said of Dillon and the incident after the race. “The kid tried to wreck me four times ad couldn’t get it done.

“I’ll probably let him calm down so I can talk to him without it turning into him yelling at me. That’s probably what I would do, too. I’d be upset, too. He has every right to be upset. Yes, I will speak to him, but I’ll let him cool down first.”

HOW BUSCH WON: Once again, Busch had the best car of the field. The race came to him, rather than he coming to the race, and Busch was able to repel all challengers, most notably Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Erik Jones (finished second) and Daniel Suarez (fourth).

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Even though he struggled to get grip late in the race, which could have reduced his chance for a late rally, Brad Keselowski still enjoyed a good day. … Alex Bowman finished eighth.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Dillon and Alex Bowman wrecked on Lap 75. Dillon took his car to the garage for repairs, while Bowman was able to continue on and finished eighth. Dillon finished 33rd. … Corey LaJoie backed his car into the wall on Lap 64 in a single-car wreck. LaJoie finished 37th. … While trying to go three-wide on a restart on Lap 173, Darrell Wallace Jr. got sandwiched between Austin Dillon and Brennan Poole, spinning and then collecting Ryan Preece and Ross Chastain. Even so, Wallace finished 12th. While Preece was able to continue on, damage from the wreck led to a flat tire on the that brought out another caution on the ensuing restart on Lap 181.

NOTABLE: Saturday was Kyle Busch’s sixth win in 10 starts this season in the Xfinity Series. … Only 13 of the 40 drivers that started finished on the lead lap.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I hate that for the 3 car, it’s unfortunate, but I definitely didn’t do it intentionally. He can think what he wants. He’ll get over it some day. I did not mean to do it.” – Alex Bowman responding to Ty Dillon’s accusation that Bowman intentionally wrecked Dillon.

WHAT’S NEXT: Lilly Diabetes 250, Saturday, July 23, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

 

NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick still No. 1 after quiet Vegas

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Kevin Harvick didn’t have a flashy night Sunday in Las Vegas, but it didn’t keep him from retaining the No. 1 spot in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

After winning the Bristol night race, Harvick finished in the top 10 in the first two stages in Vegas before placing 10th at race’s end.

Kurt Busch’s win at his home track vaulted him into the top 10 as 12 drivers received votes.

More: Playoff standings after Las Vegas

Here is this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): In the last eight races he’s won three times and finished outside the top 10 only twice.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 5): Placed fourth for his 11th top-five finish in the last 14 races.

3. Alex Bowman (Last week unranked): Finished fifth for his second top five and fifth top-10 finish in the last six races.

4. Denny Hamlin (Last week unranked): Left Vegas with a third-place finish to snap a three-race streak of finishing outside the top 10.

5. Kurt Busch (Last week unranked): Snapped a 46-race winless streak with his victory and advanced to the Round of 8.

6. Kyle Busch (Last week No. 3): Finished sixth after a “dismal” night. He has four consecutive top 10s.

7. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 5): Finished 13th to give him two finishes outside the top 10 since he won at Richmond.

8. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked): Opened the Xfinity playoffs with his second consecutive win.

8. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 2): Led 73 laps, but had to settle for a 22nd-place finish in Vegas.

8. Joey Logano (Last week No. 3): Finished 14th for his second straight finish outside the top 10.

Also receiving votes: Erik Jones and Chris Buescher.

NASCAR announces changes to Kansas playoff weekend

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Citing “programming changes,” NASCAR announced shifts in the race dates and start times for its visit next month to Kansas Speedway.

The Xfinity, ARCA and Truck Series races have been shifted, while the Cup race remains at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 18.

The biggest move is the Truck Series race shifting from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Here are the changes.

Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m. ETARCA Menards Series on FS1 or FS2; network TBD at a later date (previously at 10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m. ETTruck Series on FOX (previously Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. ET Xfinity on NBCSN (previously 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

 

Xfinity Series playoff standings after Las Vegas

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Chase Briscoe opened the Xfinity Series playoffs by earning his second consecutive win.

His victory Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gives him 57 playoff points and an automatic spot in the Round of 8.

Harrison Burton holds the final transfer spot. He has a two-point advantage over Ross Chastain.

Behind Chastain below the cutline are Michael Annett (-10 points), Riley Herbst (-14) and Brandon Brown (-20).

Below is the full Xfinity Series playoff standings going into Saturday’s race at Talladega (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance. Drivers in yellow are in the remaining playoff spots.

Xfinity Series playoff standings

Cup playoff standings after Las Vegas

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Kurt Busch flipped the script on the Cup playoff standings with his win Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings, but is the first driver to clinch a spot in the Round of 8.

Replacing Busch in the bottom spot of the playoff standings is Austin Dillon. He is 32 points behind Alex Bowman, who holds the final cutoff spot.

Behind Bowman is Kyle Busch (-9 points), Clint Bowyer (-20), Aric Almirola (-27) and Dillon.

“Obviously, the 1 car (Kurt Busch) was not a car that we needed to win a race,” Clint Bowyer said after Sunday’s race. “It’s been a hell of a battle back there with cars that are kind of in the same wheelhouse as far as points-wise. (Kurt Busch) winning changes that landscape quite a bit, but we’re only 20 points out.”

Here is the full playoff standings entering Sunday’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance to the Round of 8. Drivers in yellow hold the remaining available playoff spots.

Cup playoff standings