NASCAR came to Kentucky Speedway for the 9th time for a Cup series race. in 8 races there have been 4 different winners none of them a Chevrolet driver.
Last week in Daytona Kurt Busch was sitting out front with weather threatening to end the Coke 400 early when NASCAR gave the one to go signal and he ducked into the pits for service. While on pit road lightning struck and instead of being upfront Busch fell to back to tenth and the race was called complete 33 laps short of the finish. Instead of picking up a victory and a ticket to the playoffs he left Daytona wondering what if.
Winding down the final laps at Kentucky Speedway it appeared that the race was going to be between Joey Logano and Kyle Busch until Bubba Wallace spun out and set up overtime. Logano said after the race, “The caution came out at the wrong time. It happens. You try to think through your notebook on how to have a good restart. I thought I was going to have a decent one but I got stopped on the left rear there when Kyle got into me. That is what it is. That stopped all my momentum. 1 had a huge run and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I couldn’t block them all. I tried to stop Kyle on his right rear by side-drafting. I saw the 1 coming and felt like if I could get in front of him that we were so low at the time if I blocked the 1 he would just go to the middle and pass me. I felt like I couldn’t stop the 1. I was in a bad spot. Once I got stopped on the left rear on the restart I was a sitting duck and they just went by me on both sides.”
The restart allowed Erik Jones and Kurt Busch to get back into the thick of things and they took advantage. The final lap saw the two brothers Kurt and Kyle batting for the victory and they touched causing a tire rub for the 1 car of Kurt but they battled to the finish with older brother Kurt edging younger brother Kyle by 0.076 of a second. It’s the smallest margin of victory besting 2012 when Brad Keselowski won by 0.175.
After taking the checkered flag preformed a burnout and let a “Hell Yeah! Hell yeah!” “What a battle with my little brother,” he said later. “To race him side-by-side, to try to play the chess game at 180 miles per hour on the side draft. We were wide open through Turns 1 and 2. We were trying to go wide open through (Turns) 3 and 4…. As we drove down into Turn 3 on the last lap, I just stared straight as his door. I could see the No. 18 to my left and I never lifted (off the gas) until I heard him lift. Then I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I’ve still got to miss the wall.’
“He gave me just enough room, as a true racer would, or as my little brother would. But I’m really proud of the way we finished this race, finishing 1-2. We put on a hell of a show. One of those old-school type races where it’s two guys duking it out. Just happened to be brothers. Different manufacturers. This one, I can’t wait to go watch the video of and tell people about it and show the sport of NASCAR.” Kyle Busch said after the race
“I’m glad it was a thriller,” said Kyle Busch, a two-time Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart winner and four-time winner in the Cup Series this season. “Just unfortunately we were on the wrong end of the deal. Congratulations to Kurt and Chip and Monster and all the guys over there.
“It’s obviously cool to put on great races and great finishes, and been a part of a lot of them and not very many – in fact, none with my brother like that. So that was a first.”
This is the 3rd time the brothers finished 1 and 2 but the first time older brother has won. Earlier this season at Bristol Kyle edged Kurt. For Kurt this victory has a lot of firsts to it, his forst win with Chip Gannassi racing and the victory for Chevrolet at Kentucky.
During the post race press conference Kurt couldn’t help but take a little dig at younger brother, “I was supposed to fly home with him, and now I’m looking for a plane ride, So that’s Kyle. He won’t even wait. We shared a plane ride earlier this year. It was Phoenix where he won, and I had to sit there and wait for him to do his little victory lane thing. It’ll be fine. We’re going over to his house actually for a little get‑together on a Sunday off, and I’m going to plop the trophy down right on his kitchen counter.”
With the victory Kurt secures a place in the NASCAR Chase playoff joining Joey Lagano (2 wins), Martin Truex Jr (4 wins), Kyle Busch (4 wins), Brad Keselowski (3 wins), Denny Hamlins (2 wins), Chase Elliot (1 win), and Alex Bowman (1 win).