NASCAR Xfinity Series at Richmond 2016: Results Winner, Standings and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2016

Kurt Busch leads the pack during the NASCAR Xfinity auto race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Chet Strange)
Chet Strange/Associated Press

Kyle Busch dominated the field Friday at Richmond International Raceway, leading 197 of 250 laps en route to winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Virginia529 College Savings 250.

Busch led all but two laps from lap No. 52 onward, and he ended the night with his eighth Xfinity Series victory of the 2016 season in 14 starts.

Here is a look at how the rest of the top 10 shook out behind Busch with full results available at NASCAR.com:

Virginia529 College Savings 250 Results
PositionDriverCar No.
1Kyle Busch18
2Erik Jones20
3Brad Keselowski22
4Elliott Sadler1
5Justin Allgaier7
6Ty Dillon3
7Austin Dillon2
8Daniel Suarez19
9Alex Bowman88
10Brennan Poole48
NASCAR.com

Elliott Sadler entered Friday's race with a comfortable 54-point lead over Daniel Suarez following last week's victory at Darlington. As seen in this rundown of the standings after Richmond, Sadler's advantage grew by virtue of a fourth-place result:

NASCAR Xfinity Series Standings Through Richmond
PositionDriverPointsBehindWins
1Elliott Sadler852Leader2
2Daniel Suarez794-581
3Justin Allgaier786-660
4Ty Dillon777-750
5Brendan Gaughan755-970
6Erik Jones753-993
7Brennan Poole736-1160
8Brandon Jones702-1500
9Darrell Wallace Jr.659-1930
10Ryan Reed626-2260
11Blake Koch570-2820
12Ryan Sieg567-2850
NASCAR.com

The Virginia529 College Savings 250 marked the second-to-last race before the start of the Chase for the Xfinity Series title, which means drivers outside the top 12 have only one more chance to steal a spot in the playoffs.

While much of the focus was on the Xfinity regulars Friday, Sprint Cup star Austin Dillon dominated the early portion of the race, leading the first 51 laps.   

The momentum swung away from Dillon when the first caution flag came out, though, due to J.J. Yeley spinning out Justin Marks, as seen in this vine courtesy of NASCAR Xfinity:

Busch's pit crew took advantage with a great stop to push the No. 18 car into the lead after Busch complained about his car earlier in the race, per Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com:

Busch took control of the race and lapped much of the field once he got into open air. He was far and away the best car, but Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones put himself in contention by passing Justin Allgaier for second place:

The reigning Sprint Cup champion led 106 consecutive laps until a green-flag pit stop on lap No. 158 allowed Jones to lead a pair of laps.

Jones' spot atop the leaderboard was short-lived, as he was forced to pit as well, which sent Busch back into first place.

Shortly after Busch regained the lead, the second yellow flag of the race came out due to a loose tire on pit road:

Although the caution tightened things momentarily, Busch had a fantastic restart, which helped him to remain in front and work on rebuilding the seven-second lead he had seized.

The rest of the field struggled to challenge Busch, but with Chase positioning on the line, there were some intense battles, such as this one between Suarez and Brennan Poole:

Once Busch reestablished his lead after the caution, the result of the race was seemingly a foregone conclusion. Another caution was needed to at least make things interesting, but the yellow flag didn't fly for a third time, which allowed Busch to win anticlimactically.

Busch left little doubt regarding his status as the driver to beat whenever he decides to enter an Xfinity Series race, but he hasn't been on top of his game in the Sprint Cup as of late.

The defending champ has finished outside the top 10 in three consecutive races, and he has gone five straight events without picking up a win.

The Xfinity Series represents a great opportunity for Sprint Cup drivers to gain some momentum, and based on the way Busch performed Friday, he is an obvious threat to take the checkered flag at Richmond once again Saturday night.

     

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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