Kyle Busch capitalized on others’ misfortune at Kansas Motor Speedway Saturday to take his first-ever win at the track and the 21st win of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
Busch didn’t have the strongest car Saturday, however a consistent race with minimal problems was all it took to race to the win. Martin Truex Jr., meanwhile, led a race-high 172 laps and looked poised to take his first win of 2016 before being forced to pit with a lose wheel on Lap 215 of 267.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Truex told NASCAR.com. “I went around (Turns) 1 and 2, and I was like, ‘The wheel’s loose.’ I kept telling myself that maybe it’s not, maybe it’s just shaking because it has tape on it or something stupid. It was loose, and I knew it right away. Frustrating, but that’s how it goes.”
Another driver who might’ve had the speed to challenge Busch but also ran into problems was Team Chevy’s Kevin Harvick. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was chasing down Busch when he hit a piece of debris that cracked his splitter and tightened his car’s handling, forcing him to turn up second at the checkered flag.
Hit a big piece of debris and knocked a big hunk out of the nose and knocked the splitter down,” Harvick said. “From that point on, it was tight. Otherwise I would have drove around him. All in all, it just didn’t play out that way and they were able to win the race.”
Busch elected to stay out under a Lap 233 caution, a decision that proved crucial to his victory. The Toyota driver said he knew his car was the strongest out front in clean air, making the decision to forego fresh rubber in exchange for track position a “no brainer.”
“I can’t say enough about everybody on this team,” said Busch. “At the beginning of the race, we weren’t very good. (Crew chief) Adam Stevens and the guys just keep working on it. The 78 (Truex) was probably the fastest car but we just kept ourselves in the game. It’s pretty impressive.”
Kyle’s brother Kurt Busch finished third for Chevrolet, while Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, AJ Allmendinger and Chase Elliott represented Chevy in the top ten, finishing sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.