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Associated Press
Kyle Busch leads a group of drivers through the first turn during a NASCAR Nationwide auto race Saturday, in Avondale, Ariz.

Busch wins third straight at PIR

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kyle Busch became the first driver to win three straight Nationwide races at Phoenix International Raceway, dominating his way through a rain-shortened race Saturday.

Busch took an early lead and was still out front when the race was halted with 32 laps left in the 200-mile race around Phoenix’s odd-shaped mile oval. After a delay of more than two hours, the race was called, giving Busch his series-record 64th Nationwide victory.

Kevin Harvick finished second and pole sitter Brad Keselowski was third, followed by Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth.

Busch led 155 laps for his 10th overall victory at PIR and the fourth straight Nationwide win for Joe Gibbs Racing at the track. Joey Logano won for JGR in the 2012 fall PIR race.

Busch swept the two Nationwide races at Phoenix in 2013, overcoming a pit-road speeding penalty to end a 24-race winless streak in the series in the spring and leading 169 laps in the fall for his 12th Nationwide victory of the season.

He had the dominant car at PIR on Saturday, moving into the lead on lap 6 after starting third. Busch led 83 laps after that, retook the top spot on a restart after a pit stop midway through and stayed there another with about 60 laps left.

Then came the rain.

PIR dodged the heavy downpours that spread across the Phoenix area for most of the day, but rain sent the fans scrambling and halted the race with 32 laps left.

NASCAR sent out the blowers in an effort to get the track dry, but another round of storms moved across the area, soaking the track and ending the race.

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