RICHMOND, Va. — Kyle Busch took the lead on pit road after just over 50 laps and showed why he’s the NASCAR Xfinity Series career victory leader with a dominant run at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night.
The defending Sprint Cup Series champion led 197 of 250 laps en route to his 84th victory in the series. He also won for the eighth time in 14 starts this season, and the sixth time in his career at Richmond. It was his first victory since July 23 at Indianapolis.
And while Busch has plenty of experience dominating at Richmond, he called this victory, “Unexpected.”
“We just kind of missed it all through practice. It wasn’t good there, and then we qualified and it was just a handful in qualifying. We didn’t qualify very well. Seventh, it’s not very well for my expectations, but we just worked on it,” he said in Victory Lane.
“There at the start of the race we were really out of control and loose and I got to fourth but I thought that was where we were going to kind of be, but then my guys had an awesome pit stop and got me out front. … After that it was lights out, man. It was on a rail from there.”
The race was slowed by caution flags just twice, and that allowed Busch to build leads as high as 7 seconds, or more, and to put virtually the entire field a lap down. At one point, there were only five cars on the lead lap.
His margin of victory was a whopping 6.453 seconds. Only 11 cars finished on the lead lap.
Erik Jones, Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, finished second, followed by Brad Keselowski and points leader Elliott Sadler.
“We were second best for sure,” Jones said. “We were running away from everybody else.”
Pole-sitter Austin Dillon led the first 51 laps, but Busch led virtually from the rest of the way, only relinquishing the top spot to Jones for two laps during green flag pit stops.
WHO’S HOT: Brennan Poole started 31st and had raced himself into the top 10 before the race reached the halfway point, even though there was only one caution for seven laps in that time. He ran in the top 10 the rest of the way and finished 10th. … Ryan Reed finished 11th and became the 10th series driver to lock himself into the series playoffs with one race left in the regular season.
WHO’S NOT: Points leader Elliott Sadler, a native of Emporia about 70 miles from Richmond, rallied to finish fourth, but was having a rough night through much of the race. He got lapped by Busch just past the midpoint and later got a stop-and-go penalty for speeding on pit road. He finished 12.8 seconds behind the race winner.
THEY SAID IT: “It’s been a good track for me over the years. I’m not sure why. I remember the first time I was here, I think I knocked every wall down.” — Kyle Busch.
UP NEXT: The series move to Chicagoland Speedway for the last race before its 12-driver championship playoff begins.