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Kyle Busch captured his second straight NASCAR Xfinity Series win Saturday after Brad Keselowski’s late penalty on pit road opened the door for the No. 18 to cruise into Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
XFINITY Racing @XFINITYRacing
2016: @KyleBusch sweeps Kentucky/@NHMS #XFINITYSeries poles & wins back-to-back.
2017: Same https://t.co/oxWPxn257p
Ryan Preece, whose best finish in an Xfinity Series race last season was second, came in second, while William Byron recorded his fifth straight top-10 finish by crossing the finish line third.
Here’s a look at the top of the race standings, with complete results available at NASCAR’s official website:
- 1. Kyle Busch
- 2. Ryan Preece
- 3. William Byron
- 4. Kyle Larson
- 5. Brad Keselowski
- 6. Ben Kennedy
- 7. Elliott Sadler
- 8. Ty Dillon
- 9. Cole Custer
- 10. Brennan Poole
The track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ran particularly smooth Saturday afternoon, and drivers had some sticky conditions to thank on a day when there was intense jockeying for the lead.
According to NASCAR scribe Jeff Gluck, officials in New Hampshire placed PJ1 Trackbite on the top and bottom lanes of the racing surface, while the middle groove of the track was left untouched.
Those adjustments gave drivers some additional traction, and the result was a thrilling day of racing that featured seven different leaders and 13 total lead changes, as Motorsport.com’s Jim Utter observed:
Jim Utter @jim_utter
This is definitely one of more entertaining #NASCAR races at @NHMS I’ve seen in a while
The primary contenders who took advantage were Keselowski, Busch, Preece, Byron and Kyle Larson—who won the rain-delayed Stage 1, as NASCAR on NBC documented—and they battled for prime positions throughout the final 100 laps as the competition heated up.
NASCAH on NBC @NASCARonNBC
.@KyleLarsonRacin wins Stage 1, but @RyanPreece_ is moving on up!
Can the 2013 modified champ score the upset today? Watch NOW on @NBCSN! https://t.co/afKdaplbXd
Keselowski—the Stage 2 winner—and Busch ran one-two for extended portions of the final stanza, but those positions flipped after the leaders made green-flag pit stops with 31 laps remaining.
Although Keselowski appeared primed to return to the lead, he was hit with a pass-through penalty after his stop resulted in equipment being removed from his pit stall.
Busch’s No. 18 slid into the top position with Keselowski reeling, which allowed him to capture back-to-back Xfinity Series wins a week after he held off a hard charge from Ryan Blaney at Kentucky.
Gluck put the severity of Keselowski’s slip-up in perspective:
Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck
Brad Keselowski is 23 seconds behind Kyle Busch after that penalty. Probably a race-losing penalty.
Thanks to that error, Busch has now won half of his Xfinity starts this season and has recorded a top-seven finish in all six outings.
The Xfinity Series will be back in action on Saturday, July 22, when drivers hit the track for the Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.