Kyle Busch celebrates birthday with Kansas win
Kyle Busch celebrated his 36th birthday Sunday in Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway after he pulled away on a restart with two laps to go win his first Cup race of the season.
Busch is the 10th different winner in the first 11 races of this season.
Busch’s 58th career Cup victory gives him at least a win in 17 consecutive seasons, tying him with David Pearson for second on the all-time list. Richard Petty ranks No. 1, having won at least one race in 18 consecutive seasons. Busch’s victory also came a day after he won the Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway.
MORE: Results of Sunday’s race
“What’s really cool is that we started the race good, and we worked our way forward from the start of the race,” said Busch, who also won his first stage of the season. “We made minor adjustments all day to the car and nothing really did anything. We kept getting tighter as the day went on, even though we were trying to free up.
“We did a long sim session this week, that was helpful. I feel like we’re really close for Kansas at least and what we can do and what we can learn on that. I look forward to hopefully being able to celebrate with my team and hopefully have a good night tonight. It’s cool to be able to work the way we did today.”
Kevin Harvick placed a season-best second. Brad Keselowski was third and followed by Matt DiBenedetto and Chase Elliott. William Byron’s ninth-place finish is his ninth consecutive top-10 result. The 23-year-old is the youngest driver in series history to score nine top 10s in a row.
Kyle Larson led 132 of 267 laps and won the second stage but bounced off the wall as he pushed Ryan Blaney on the final restart and Blaney got out of shape. Larson finished 19th.
“Hate that I screwed that up and cost us a good finish,” Larson said.
Larson’s race unraveled on the next-to-last restart. He led on the outside line and had Keselowski behind to push him. On the restart, Chase Elliott, lined up behind Keselowski, went high to make a move. Keselowski moved to block and that prevented him from pushing Larson. Meanwhile, Blaney pushed Kyle Busch into the lead.
When the caution came out soon after, Busch was in the lead and had control of the race. Larson was stuck restarting in the second row for the final restart behind Blaney.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch
STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Larson
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kevin Harvick has finished second in the last two Kansas races. ... Matt DiBenedetto’s fourth-place result is his third top 10 in a row, tying his career high. ... Tyler Reddick’s seventh-place finish is his fifth top 10 of the year. He had nine top 10s last year.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse and Ryan Preece were both collected in Christopher Bell’s spin late. Stenhouse, who was involved in an earlier caution, finished 34th. Preece was 32nd.
NOTABLE: Kyle Larson led 132 laps. He has won only three of the 15 races he has led at least 100 races. Said Larson: “Another day I lead a lot of laps and don’t win. Got to figure it out.”
NEXT: The series races May 9 at Darlington Raceway as part of NASCAR’s Throwback Weekend (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1)