Kyle Busch takes Stage 1 at Kansas, engine issues befall Kyle Larson

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Kyle Buch won Stage 1 of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Busch led 37 of the 80 laps. The stage ended under caution brought out when Kyle Larson‘s engine blew up on Lap 76.

Kevin Harvick finished the stage second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Jamie McMurray.

Among incidents during the first stage:

* The No. 00 of Derrike Cope was penalized twice for driving through too many pit boxes, as well as for speeding.

Cope also took the car to the garage after the first penalty before returning to the track and eventually adding the second pit box penalty.

* Points leader Martin Truex Jr. was penalized on Lap 36 for a restart violation on the restart following the competition caution on Lap 30. Truex served his pass-through penalty on Lap 38.

During the pre-race driver/crew chief meeting, NASCAR Cup Series Director Richard Buck told drivers:

“Restarts, just want to remind everybody to get lined up in the order of race control, bumper to bumper, door handle to door handle. A reminder to stay in your lane until you cross the start-finish line. The front row establish the lanes and the inside lane must be established above the inside painted line.’’

* The No. 83 of Brett Moffitt brought out the second caution when he hit the wall on Lap 46.

* Larson came to pit road with 15 laps left in the stage with apparent engine issues. After his team looked under the hood, Larson came back on the track and crew chief Chad Johnson told him over the team radio to run the car as much – and as long – as he could.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long as on Lap 76, Larson’s engine blew up — although he’s still technically in the playoffs, 29 points above the cut line, depending on what happens in the final two stages. It’s the first engine failure for Larson since he became a full-time Cup driver, according to NBCSN.

“I felt it drop a cylinder or something,” Larson told NBCSN. “It’s a disappointing way to finish our race and probably our season, but we’ll be alright.

“I’ll cross my fingers and pray to anything I can pray to, but I don’t think 29 points (the margin he was above the cut-line coming into the race) is enough. It sucks to have an engine failure, but it is what it is. … Disappointing, but still a long race left to go, so maybe we can get lucky.”