SPARTA, Ky – Normally, this story would start with how Kyle Busch dominated another 1.5-mile race and went on to Victory Lane. But, not this week because older brother Kurt Busch took the win after a last-lap side-by-side duel to the checkers with Kyle.
With six laps remaining in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, the caution flag waved. This set up a Green-White-Checkered Overtime dash to the finish for the trophy.
Kurt restarted fourth while Kyle was first. Kurt wasted no time and took the action three wide down the backstretch with Joey Lagano in the middle of Busch Bro Sammich.
And, for the first time with his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet team, Busch crossed the stripe first with the win. It was his first victory with the team he signed on with for 2019, and the first win ever for his crew chief Matt McCall.
“Hell yeah, hell yeah!” the very jubilant driver said during his frontstretch interview pumping a fist to the loud and full crowd. “You know, racing your little brother every week and watching him win a lot – I’m proud of him – but I’m proud of him for giving me a little bit of room on that outside.
“He could have clobbered us against the wall and third place probably would have won. We got this Monster Energy Chevrolet in Victory Lane, thank you Kentucky.”
This win comes a week after McCall called Busch to pit road at Daytona International Speedway when NASCAR displayed the one to go at lap 118, of 160. However, a lightning strike within the eight-mile area rule forced them to bring out the yellow, instead.
Busch was already down pit road, handed the lead and eventually the rained-out race call win to Justin Haley, in just his third Cup start. When asked about it, Busch was pretty nonchalant and instead turned back to talking about his Kentucky victory.
“That was last week, we did get a late yellow tonight to help us gain some positions to get near the front,” he said. “It’s this week now and we have trophy!”
Kyle complimented his brother in the end, said he was happy for him and then left him in Kentucky with no airplane ride home because he knew big brother would be late with all the victory responsibilities. “We were just on the wrong end of this deal,” he said, after leading a race high 72 laps.
Erik Jones was in the catbird seat if the Busch Brothers went bonkers on each other and crashed. They didn’t and he took third, followed by Kyle Larson and Denny Hamilin to round out the top-five finishers. Lagano felt he had the fastest car all night, but finished seventh leading only 19 laps
This weekend, the Cup Series heads to the Land of Lobsters for some wicked fast racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Custer Stands in Victory Lane for Xfinity
Cole Custer won the Xfinity Series race, meaning the Big Three of him, Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick have now won 12 of 17 races this year. Matter of fact, that’s exactly how they finished on Friday night after Custer led 88 of 200 laps.
Reddick led 72 laps. The domination these three drivers, who all race for different teams, have shown has been quite impressive. The good part from where fans stand is at least Xfinity Series regulars are winning their races – instead of Cup interlopers.
Kids Kicking it in Trucks
After turning 18 in March, Tyler Ankrum was then allowed to race on the 1.5-mile or higher tracks of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. He didn’t have to wait long to find Victory Lane, either.
Actually, maybe the win found him after two front runners crashed each other out late in the race and then another leader ran out of fuel with three to go. Either way, he’s the most recent first-time winner in NASCAR this year.
Local driver Stewart Friesen overcame his primary truck being confiscated by NASCAR for an unapproved firewall in pre-race inspection. This caused him start last in the field, but he rallied back, survived some wrecks and took home second place.
This moves him to second in points, trailing leader Grant Enfinger by 34 markers. Ross Chastain had a good enough finish to move into 18th, which places him inside the Playoff Cut Off.
Feature Image Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports