LOUDON, N.H. (AP) — Kyle Busch had an expected result in his unexpected NASCAR start.
Busch led all but a handful of laps and simply dominated in his latest Xfinity Series victory Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Busch raced to his sixth Xfinity victory of the season and record-extending 82nd of his career.
The 2015 Sprint Cup champion also won the last race at Kentucky Speedway and his six wins have come in just 10 races.
Busch has 164 career wins across all three of NASCAR’s national series, and is 36 wins shy of matching Richard Petty’s total of 200. Petty, of course, won all 200 in the Cup series to go with seven championships and a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Busch topped the 17,000 laps-led mark in his career and was never seriously challenged, pulling away off every restart and he eventually took his traditional victory bow.
“I guess they’re big numbers,” Busch said. “Running in this series is something fun for me to do, cool for me to do and it also helps me out and gets me a little more experience.”
Busch was not scheduled to drive this season at New Hampshire in the No. 18 Toyota. But he was pulled into duty when Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver Matt Tifft was forced out following surgery last month to have a tumor removed.
“He’s going through some rehab right now, so can’t wait to see him come back,” Busch said.
Erik Jones was second, followed by Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon. Jones, who clinched a spot in Xfinity’s version of the Chase, said he bought a car with the $100,000 earned in the series’ “Dash 4 Cash” promotion for winning at Dover.
“I bought a car, but I can’t talk about it,” he said.
Alex Bowman finished eighth, a day before he subs for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Cup race. Earnhardt will sit out because he suffers from symptoms of a concussion.
“Dale’s probably sitting at home super bored, watching TV,” Bowman said.
Hey, he wasn’t the only one bored watching Busch rout the field and lead 190 of 200 laps.
Busch continued to roll at New Hampshire, a track that served as one of his turning points last season.
He crashed into a concrete wall the day before the Daytona 500 and broke his right leg and left foot. Busch rebounded from his injuries to win his first career Sprint Cup championship.
But he had missed the first 11 races and was left needing a midsummer hot streak to even think about racing his way into the Chase.
He got one.
Busch sat 35th in the points standings when he won the New Hampshire Cup race last July, the second of three straight victories that propelled him into the Chase. He started the streak with a win at Kentucky Speedway and capped it by kissing the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“That was awesome. That was just something really, really special that actually gave me some confidence going to Indy,” Busch said. “I was like, ‘Man, you know how cool it’s going to be to win three in a row? But you know how cool it’s going to be to win the Brickyard 400?’ There was certainly some thoughts that we had going into that week, and we just set our mind to it and we were able to capitalize and that was good.”
Busch starts second on the front row with pole winner Jimmie Johnson on Sunday.
With three victories this season, Busch has no worries about making the Chase.