Bubba Wallace

Kurt Busch wins Quaker State 400 in overtime

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Kurt Busch won Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway in an overtime finish, beating his brother Kyle Busch to the checkered flag after they made contact and both fishtailed exiting Turn 4.

It is Kurt Busch’s first win of the season and his first win with Chip Ganassi Racing, which snapped a 64-race winless streak. It is also Chevrolet’s first win at Kentucky Speedway in nine attempts.

The final restart came on Lap 268 with Kurt Busch in the second row on the outside behind race leader Joey Logano.

But with drafting help from his teammate Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch was able to sweep to the outside of Logano and challenge Kyle Busch over the final two laps.

“Hell yeah! Hell yeah!” Kurt Busch yelled to fans on the frontstretch before speaking to NBCSN at the start-finish line. “You know, racing your little brother every week and watching him win a lot. I’m proud of him, but he gave me a little bit of room on that outside. He could have clobbered us against the wall, and third place probably would have got it. What an awesome run.”

The victory came a week after Busch missed out on a trip to victory lane at Daytona International Speedway. The No. 1 team elected to pit from the lead under caution just before a lightning strike halted the race, which was called official more than two hours later without restarting.

“Well, we got a yellow at the end that put us back in position,” Kurt Busch said. “Whatever last week was, it’s this week right now, and we’ve got the trophy.”

It is the third time the Busch brothers have finished first and second in a Cup race (Kyle Busch won the first two). His younger brother finished second after leading 72 laps.

“I’m glad it was a thriller,” Kyle Busch told NBCSN. “Unfortunately we were on the wrong end of the deal …

“It’s obviously cool to put on great races and great finishes and been a part of a lot of them and none with my brother like that, so that was a first. You know, no hard feelings, and we move on.”

Kurt Busch celebrates with his crew members after the win (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images).

The top five was completed by Erik Jones, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin.

The overtime restart was set up by a Bubba Wallace spin with six laps left in the scheduled distance.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kurt Busch (first stage win of the season)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

Click here for results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Denny Hamlin earned his second top five in the last 10 races … Clint Bowyer finished sixth after placing 34th or worse in three of the previous four races … pole-sitter Daniel Suarez finished eighth, fighting back from going multiple laps down after a speeding penalty in the middle of the race.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Jimmie Johnson got loose and wrecked in Turn 2 on Lap 178 while running seventh. He finished 30th …. Austin Dillon lost a gear on the Stage 2 restart and went to the garage. He finished 35th.

NOTABLE: Chip Ganassi Racing is only the fifth team to win a Cup race this season (joining Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports and Spire Motorsports). It is the fourth team to win at Kentucky … Crew chief Matt McCall earned his first Cup win in 164 starts.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Today things went right, and my little brother gave me just enough room.  It was like, ‘You going to lift?  I ain’t going to lift.  You going to lift?  I ain’t going to lift.’  And we had a duel.  We had a duel going down through (Turns) 3 and 4, and I didn’t know who was going to come out on top.” – Kurt Busch

WHAT’S NEXT: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on July 21 (NBCSN).

Kyle Busch, Joey Logano ponder what might have been at Kentucky

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SPARTA, Ky. — They left pit road together, walking nearly as close as they had driven late in Saturday night’s Cup race, these combatants who once fought after an event.

There was no need to separate Kyle Busch and Joey Logano this time at Kentucky Speedway. As they walked, their arms moved, but that’s how drivers talk, using their hands to illustrate what they’re discussing about the car. 

Their late duel was just part of a thrilling finish that Kyle Busch lost to his older brother Kurt. For the first time in their careers, Kurt Busch won a Cup race with Kyle Busch second. After leading when the race went to overtime, Logano fell back and finished seventh.

But with about 20 laps left, Kyle Busch and Logano battled for what would be the lead once the two cars ahead of them pitted. Logano got underneath Busch on the frontstretch and came up the track. They nearly hit. Busch darted to his right to avoid the contact.

They continued to duel. Busch crossed over and got under Logano on the backstretch. Busch moved his car up, pressuring Logano but the defending series champ had the preferred line into Turn 3 and got by.

Busch then radioed crew chief Adam Stevens that his car was not handling as well. Stevens told the former champion: “Strap it up and … get after it.”

Logano continued to lead until a caution for Bubba Wallace’s spin sent the race to overtime. Logano led with Kyle Busch second, Erik Jones third and Kurt Busch fourth.

Logano couldn’t hold off both Busch brothers on the green-white-checkered finish.

“The caution came out at the wrong time,” Logano said. “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 (Busch) got into me.

“That is what it is. That stopped all my momentum. (Kurt Busch) had a huge run, and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I couldn’t block them all. I tried to stop (Kyle Busch) on his right rear by side-drafting.

“I saw (Kurt Busch) coming and felt like if I could get in front of him that we were so low at the time if I blocked (Kurt Busch) he would just go to the middle and pass me. I felt like I couldn’t stop (him). 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.”

As for Kyle Busch? He was left with a runner-up finish.

“At least I salvaged the same finish we should have had anyways,” Kyle Busch said.

Kyle Busch also pondered doing more on his last-lap duel with his older brother.

“I knew I cleared him into (Turn) 3, and if I just stayed in the gas, I was never going to make the exit,” Busch told NBC Sports. “I was going to plow the fence. Maybe I should have just gotten in front of him and messed up his air. It’s so easy to do with these cars, it’s pretty much just an air game. I missed my chance over there, I guess. That’s about all I could have really done different.”

 

Big wreck shuffles front of field at Daytona

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With inclement weather approaching, several cars near the front of the pack in Sunday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 were involved in a major wreck with 43 laps remaining in the scheduled 160-lap event at Daytona International Speedway.

Entering Turn 1, leader Austin Dillon moved down the track in front of Clint Bowyer, who also was attempting to cut down to the lower side of the corner. Contact was made that included more than at least 18 cars.

“That was pretty bad, man, and then he just kept coming down,” Bowyer said of Dillon to NBC Sports. “I had a big run, and he tried to block me. I got off him, and he kept trying to block it.

“It’s pretty unfortunate for us. … It’s a mess that (Dillon) created. The kid was doing everything he could do to stay in the lead. It was just pretty foolish. It was pretty early in the race and a lot of racing left to be aggressively blocking or whatever the hell that was.”

When asked by pit reporter Marty Snider if he spoke with Dillon in the infield care center, Bowyer said, “It doesn’t matter.”

Dillon told NBC Sports’ Kelli Stavast: “I really thought it was urgent because of the lightning and rain coming, so I jumped up there, had a good push from (Bowyer). My plan was to as soon as I cleared (Denny Hamlin) was to cut left and cut down again to go with my Chevy teammates. I was just trying to get a race win, that’s all it was.

“It’s part of this kind of racing. I was being aggressive and keep the lead, and that’s what you get. It’s part of it. I wish we could have worked with the Chevys to finish off what we started.”

In addition to Dillon and Bowyer, other drivers involved in the major wreck included Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Parker Kligerman, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Ryan Preece, Bubba Wallace, Alex Bowman and Matt DiBenedetto.

 

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Martin Truex Jr. leads Toyota fleet in final Cup practice at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Martin Truex Jr. turned the fastest lap as Toyotas took the top four spots in the final Cup practice Thursday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.

Truex’s No. 19 Camry made a lap at 205.936 mph, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (205.738 mph) and Erik Jones (205.724 mph). The No. 95 of Matt DiBenedetto was fourth fastest at 205.381.

Matt Tifft (205.292) rounded out the top five, followed by Parker Kilgerman, Clint Bowyer, Bubba Wallace, Daniel Hemric and Ty Dillon.

In an incident late in the session, Brad Keselowski bumped William Byron,  who was able to recover without losing control of his No. 24 Chevrolet but sustained enough damage for a backup car.

Kyle Busch was fastest in the opening session for Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400.

Click here for speeds from the final Cup practice.

Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer fastest in final Cup practice at Chicagoland

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JOLIET, Illinois – A couple of hours after earning the pole for this afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Joey Logano was fastest in the final Cup practice at Chicagoland Speedway.

Logano led all drivers with a speed of 174.452 mph.

The top three and six of the top 10 drivers were Ford drivers.

Clint Bowyer was second-fastest (174.447 mph), followed by Kevin Harvick (174.379), Bubba Wallace (174.368) and Ryan Newman (174.357).

Sixth through 10th-fastest were Jimmie Johnson (174.312 mph), Michael McDowell (174.300 mph), Alex Bowman (174.261), William Byron (174.182) and Ryan Blaney (174.020).

Add in Chase Elliott (11th at 174.008 mph) and Hendrick Motorsports led all teams with four drivers in the top 11.

Kevin Harvick had the best 10-lap average (173.296 mph, from laps 36-45), followed by Jimmie Johnson (173.206 mph, laps 41-50) and Alex Bowman (173.107 mph, laps 36-45).

Qualifying for Sunday’s Camping World 400 will take place later today at 6:35 p.m. ET.

Click here for the full practice report.

Follow @JerryBonkowski