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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Kyle Busch expects that he won’t continue racing NASCAR Xfinity Series events after this year, and he has a chance to finish up with a perfect season.
After spinning off course twice, Busch rallied in the final stage to win Saturday at Road America. That gives him four victories in four Xfinity Series races this season.
NASCAR only allows Cup Series drivers such as Busch to compete in five Xfinity and five Truck Series races a year. Busch is scheduled to enter his final Xfinity event of the season next week at Atlanta.
“Since we’re this close, we might as well go 5 for 5,” Busch said. “That would certainly be nice. That would be special.”
Busch edged Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Hemric by 3.522 seconds, with Michael Annett third, AJ Allmendinger fourth and Harrison Burton fifth. Road America has had a different winner in each of its 12 Xfinity events.
This marked his 101st career Xfinity Series victory and 200th overall win with Toyota.
“I didn’t really come up here coming up expecting to win, just wanted to learn the track,” Busch said. “But when you’re in position there toward the end of the race, your mindset definitely changes and you get in the groove of what you’ve got to do.”
Busch will race Sunday in the first Cup Series event at Road America since 1956, though he will have to start in the back of the pack with a backup car after crashing his Toyota in practice Saturday.
He was much better at navigating Road America’s 4.048-mile course and 14 turns in the Xfinity Series race later in the day.
Busch appeared to be in seventh place during a restart with about six laps remaining but had fresher tires than the cars ahead of him. The restart took place after a wreck that began when Myatt Snider spun off course and impacted several cars, including Austin Cindric, who won this race last year and finished eighth this time.
Busch went past Allmendinger on the right and led for the final five laps.
“We knew that we had a better car, better tires to drive away,” Busch said.
Allmendinger said the difference in their tires at that point in the race made it virtually impossible to maintain the lead no matter what he did.
“At that point, you’re a wounded duck,” Allmendinger said. “You’re just trying to hang on.”
Busch will try to earn his fifth Xfinity victory of the season next week. Then he just might stop entering Xfinity events at all.
After his Xfinity Series triumph at Nashville two weeks ago, Busch noted the criticism he received for “beating up on the little guys” by winning on a circuit filled with drivers trying to work their way up to the Cup Series. He discussed that criticism again Saturday and noted how Kevin Harvick also had stopped entering as many Xfinity races a few years ago to focus on Cup Series events.
“Sometimes you drive guys away,” Busch said. “That’s part of it. We’ll just run on Sundays, I guess. I still own a truck team, so I’ll still run my Truck races that I can.”
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Steve Megargee, The Associated Press