They say that records are meant to be broken but some records seem insurmountable: the Boston Celtics’ eight straight championships; Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game; Wayne Gretzky’s 2,857 career points.
Up until recently, NASCAR’s unattainable record was 200 wins, set by seven-time Cup Series champion Richard Petty between 1960 and 1984.
However, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch is all but guaranteed to reach that number, sitting at 199 NASCAR national series victories as easily one of the most dominant drivers on the circuit right now.
In fairness, Petty’s 200 wins all occurred in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series while Busch’s have been earned in a combination of Cup, the Xfinity Series and the Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
However, a 200th victory is far and away more wins than the next closest competitor, with David Pearson earning 106 national series victories throughout his career. No current driver comes anywhere near Busch’s and Petty’s numbers.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) March 16, 2019
With Busch entered in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway, running in a companion weekend with the Cup Series, it wasn’t unprecedented at all to think that the record-tying 200th victory would happen this weekend.
If it’s going to happen this weekend, Busch will have to wait until Sunday.
21-year-old Xfinity Series regular Cole Custer held off Busch in the remaining laps of the Production Alliance Group 300 to earn his third career victory, with Busch nearly two seconds behind as the checkered flag flew.
Busch won the first two stages of the race and led 98 of the 150 laps, but a slow pit stop under caution late in the race cost him track position and was followed up with a penalty for an uncontrolled tire, forcing the 33-year-old driver to restart at the tail of the field with just over 30 laps remaining.
Unsurprisingly given the speed of the No. 18, Busch was able to work his way inside the top 10 by the time the next caution flew on lap 124 and gain a spot or two on what would be the final pitstop of the day.
Busch was able to pass the handful of cars that stayed out under caution and began to chase down Custer, but eventually stalled out and had to settle for a runner-up finish.
“I just wasn’t fast enough,” said Busch. “At the end there, he (Custer) was really good and really fast and had a good car. They got better throughout the day and got closer to our rear bumper there on that second-to-last run before we had our pit road problems and dropped us back in the pack. Obviously, we were able to rebound, but when you have a fast guy out front and a fast guy in second, they run the same times and they stay the same distance apart. We just weren’t quick enough there at the end to chase them down. Hate it for all the iK9 Supra guys and everybody that supports us and supports our program. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Busch starts fourth in Sunday’s 400-mile, 200-lap race and was second quickest in final practice on Saturday afternoon.
The Auto Club 400 begins at 3:30PM ET on Sunday, March 17. The television broadcast is on FOX while the radio broadcast can be heard on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.