NASCAR Xfinity: Kyle Busch dominates Richmond
Kyle Busch celebrates in victory lane at Richmond International Raceway after winning the Virginia529 College Savings 250 on Sept. 9, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Kyle Busch was dominant in the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Friday night, leading 197 of the 250 laps that made up the race en route to his eighth series win of the season and the 84th of his career.
“This Toyota was awesome today,” Busch said. “I can’t think NOS enough, Toyota, Xfinity and NASCAR and, of course, the fans, as well. We appreciate their support here on a Friday night. It’s fun to come out here and race at Richmond.”
Despite the dominant performance, Busch seemed surprised by the win.
“I just doubted our car today,” Busch said.. “It just wasn’t right. We just kind of missed it all through practice. It wasn’t good there, and then we qualified and, man, it was just a handful in qualifying. We didn’t qualify very well — seventh. That’s not very well for my expectations, but we just worked on it there at the start of the race. We were really out-of-control loose, and I got to fourth, but I thought that was kind of where we were going to be. But then, my guys had an awesome pit stop and got me out front.”
Austin Dillon started on the pole and led the first 51 laps before he lost four positions on pit road during the first of two yellow flags. Meanwhile, Busch went from first to the lead.
Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Erik Jones, finished a distant second, nearly six-and-a-half seconds behind, but giving JGR a one-two finish nonetheless.
“Mine was really good, but we weren’t quite there with the 18 (Busch),” Jones said. “Not much to say, man. He had about the same setup as us; he’s just that good. It’s unfortunate. We’ve run second to him a lot of times this year. I wish all of those were wins, but we’re getting stronger and stronger every time.”
Aside from the opening laps led by Dillon, Jones was the only other driver not named Busch to lead laps. He led two laps during a green-flag cycle of stops just before lap 160, staying out two laps later than his teammate.
Brad Keselowski finished third, Elliott Sadler was fourth, and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five. Sixth through 10th were Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman and Brennan Poole. Ryan Reed was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap. With his 11th-place finish, Reed became the 10th driver to lock up a chase berth ahead of the Sept. 17 season-finale at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. He joins Jones, Sadler, Suarez, Allgaier, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Poole, Brandon Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr.
“Obviously, we are really happy about locking into the chase and am looking forward to getting it started in the next couple of weeks,” Reed said.