Kyle Busch tops Kevin Harvick to score first win of season

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Kyle Busch ended weeks of frustrating runner-up finishes by winning at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday in a race that left many of his competitors frustrated.

Busch, who had finished second in three of the first six races of the season, dominated the final 100 laps to collect his 44th career Cup victory.

MORE: Race results 

MORE: Points report 

Kevin Harvick overcame pit issues to finish second. 

“It looked to me like (Harvick) stayed pretty good right there the whole last run of the race,” said Busch, who had twice finished second to Harvick this season. “I kind of got out on him a little bit because he kind of slipped a couple laps and then he kind of closed back in on me, but once he closed back in on me, it just kind of seemed like it was the accordion of four to six (car) lengths. That was about all there was and that was what it was in dirty air for everybody today. It was really hard to pass some of the guys that were even slower than us.”

Jamie McMurray placed a season-best third. Erik Jones finished fourth and Ryan Blaney placed fifth after a penalty for an uncontrolled tire, a loose wheel and damage to the front of the car.

It was a race of survival. Tire woes caused Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson to crash. Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Aric Almirola were collected in a seven-car crash. They were among several cars damaged in incidents.

Stage 1 winner: Kevin Harvick

Stage 2 winner: Kyle Busch

How Kyle Busch won: It was bound to happen after all those runner-up finishes this season. It didn’t hurt that Kevin Harvick had various issues that kept him from dominating and scoring his fourth win of the season. Still, Busch was strong and earned this win.

Who had a bad day: Martin Truex Jr. suffered his first DNF of the season when he crashed just before the end of stage 1 while running second. He finished 37th. The finish ended a streak of 10 consecutive top-five finishes on 1.5-mile tracks, dating back to last season. … Kyle Larson had a right front tire go down and he slammed into the Turn 1 SAFER barrier for his first DNF of the season. … Denny Hamlin had two pit road penalties and was involved in a crash with more than 150 laps left. He placed 34th … Jimmie Johnson had a loose wheel that dropped him off the lead lap and then was collected in the crash with Hamlin and five others later in the race. Johnson placed 35th.

Who had a good day: Jamie McMurray had not finished in the top 15 all season. He placed third. It was his best finish since placing second at the spring Talladega race last year. … Erik Jones recorded his fourth top-10 finish of the season and his best result of the year. … Darrell Wallace Jr. finished eighth, his best result since his runner-up showing in the Daytona 500. … William Byron, who started at the rear because of an engine change, finished 10th to earn his first career top-10 result in Cup.

Notable: NASCAR will take the cars of Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones to a wind tunnel to compare them.

Quote of the day: Rodney Childers, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, was critical of the NASCAR-mandated pit guns in an interview on Fox Sports 1, saying “at some point we’ve got to get these (air) guns better, I’ve bit my lip all year about this stuff and I’m tired of biting my lip about it. We’ve got to bring some better stuff out here for these guys to change tires with.” Childers isn’t the first person to express concern with the new air guns all teams must use this year.

Next: The Cup series races at Bristol at 2 p.m. April 15.

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