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Eighteen Comes up a Winner in AutoLotto 200
This one was all Kyle Busch. The 81-time XFINITY Series winner made it No. 82, passing 17,000 career XFINITY laps led, and rewriting the record books in the process of winning Saturday afternoon's AutoLotto 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five behind Busch, who now has 33 wins more than second-place Mark Martin on the XFINITY Series wins list and nearly double the laps led over second-place Kevin Harvick (9,322) on the all-time XFINITY Series list.
"Records are made to be broken. There could be someone like me who comes down the road that does the same thing I have been fortunate enough to do," said Busch, who will start second in Sunday's New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. "Running in this series - it's something cool for me to do, fun for me to do and gives me the experience I need."
The win was the fifth in Busch's last eight XFINITY Series starts at the Magic Mile. He led 190 of 200 laps on Saturday, as the reigning Sprint Cup Series champion and July Sprint Cup Series race winner at NHMS now has six wins in 10 XFINITY Series starts in 2016.
The second-place finish for Jones clinches a spot in the Chase for the XFINITY Series championship.
"We were just as good if not better when we were up close to (Kyle)," Jones said. "If we could get a little bit closer to him then we could have forced him to make a mistake, but we just couldn't get close enough to him."
Alex Bowman, who will fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. (concussion symptoms) in the No. 88 on Sunday, finished eighth. Bowman was involved in a Lap 75 accident with Ty Dillon that saw Dillon hit the wall hard.
"It wasn't on purpose, obviously. Hopefully he gets over it and moves on," Bowman said. "We would have hoped for a better day today, but it is what it is. I think we can move on from this and have a good day tomorrow."
Busch wasn't tested much through the first 150 laps, but needed to be on his game for the final 50 as Jones began to close ground on the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota. There were also three cautions in the final 35 laps, keeping Busch on his toes during the subsequent restarts. Jones was never able to close the gap.
"(Erik) got a good restart and got to my inside on the last restart. I give him credit and he ran me clean and gave me room and didn't door-slam me to get the win," Busch said. "Our cars were pretty equal, we just had the position on him."
Kyle Busch will try to sweep the weekend and pick up his second straight win in Sunday's NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at 1:30 p.m. A limited number of seats for both Saturday and Sunday's events are still available. To purchase tickets please call the NHMS ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit www.nhms.com.