Kurt Busch out-duels brother Kyle on last lap to win Kentucky

With smoke pouring from a tire rub, Kurt Busch out-dueled his younger brother, Kyle, on the final lap to win at Kentucky Speedway.

Kyle had grabbed the lead at the start of overtime, only to see Kurt get side-by-side and the two bang fenders before Kurt emerged off Turn 4 to win Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.

The win comes one week after Kurt Busch lost out on a chance to win at Daytona when his team elected to pit just before the race was to go green but was then red-flagged for lightning and eventually called for rain.

“Hell yeah! Hell yeah!” Busch screamed when asked about the last lap. “I’m proud (Kyle) gave me a little room on the outside. He could have clobbered us against the wall and he probably would have got it.

“What an awesome run. Whatever last week was, we got the ‘W’ now – whooo! That was epic. I was hopeful that we would get a shot, just one more restart. We got that yellow with my little brother, it’s the best guy in the world to go race against.”

Asked about his future as he only signed a one-year deal with Chip Ganassi Racing, Busch said: “I thought this year might be my last but we’re having so much fun we’ll have to see how things go.”

The win is Kurt’s first of the season and his first with Chip Ganassi Racing. It’s the 31st of his career and first at Kentucky.

Busch said the wait for his first win of the season was more about “getting a new team up to speed.”

“You’ve got a pit crew, aero, side-force. We’ve got to make mistakes to learn from those lessons. We’ve got guys like this right here, Chip Ganassi. You’re in Victory Lane, buddy. Thank you so much. I told  you we’d make these guys winners.

“Thank you to everybody on this team back at the shop that works on this car and makes it the winning car that it is. We’re going to have those days where things don’t go right. Today things went right, and my little brother gave me just enough room.

“It was like, ‘You gonna lift?  I ain’t gonna lift. You gonna lift? I ain’t gonna 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.”

Erik Jones finished third, Kyle Larson was fourth and Denny Hamlin completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top-10 were Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, several lead-lap cars elected to pit but Bowyer remained on the track and took over the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 167. He was followed by Kurt Busch and Almirola.

After 170 laps, William Byron had moved up to the second position while Kurt Busch worked feverishly to fend off the advance of his brother, Kyle.

On Lap 179, Jimmie Johnson, while running seventh, got loose while racing Logano spun and hit the wall to bring out a caution. 

Suarez received the free pass under the caution and returned to the lead lap. Kevin Harvick was penalized for an uncontrolled tire and had to restart from the rear of the field.

Only a handful of cars elected to pit under the caution. Bowyer led the way on the restart on Lap 185 followed by Byron, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch. 

Byron received a restart violation on the restart and was forced to make a pass-through penalty down pit road.

After 195 laps, Kurt Busch mounted a serious challenge to Bowyer for the lead but Bowyer was able to withstand the challenge and remain out front.

On Lap 205, Kurt Busch got around Bowyer for the lead just as Bowyer needed to make a scheduled stop for fuel and tires.

Kyle Busch moved back into the top spot when Kurt Busch dropped to pit road on Lap 213 to make his final stop for fuel.

Several more lead-lap cars began their final green-flag pit stop on Lap 217. Erik Jones elected for a two-tire pit stop that put him out ahead of Kurt Busch and Bowyer when he returned to the track. Kyle Busch and Logano pit on Lap 225. 

Martin Truex Jr. was penalized for speeding during his stop and had to make a pass-through penalty under green.

Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 249, Logano emerged as the leader following a wild side-by-side battle with Kyle Busch. Jones ran in third.

With 15 laps remaining, Logano had moved out to a more than 1-second lead over Kyle Busch. Jones ran third, Kurt Busch was fourth and Hamlin fifth.

A caution was displayed on Lap 267 after Bubba Wallace spun through Turn 2 but was able to keep it off the wall. 

Most of the lead-lap cars remained on the track with Suarez the first to pit. At the start of overtime, Logano led the way, followed by Kyle Busch, Jones Kurt Busch and Hamlin.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps Led
11 Kurt Busch Chevrolet269 41
218 Kyle Busch Toyota2690.07672
320 Erik Jones Toyota2690.3051
442 Kyle Larson Chevrolet2690.782 
511 Denny Hamlin Toyota2691.0755
614 Clint Bowyer Ford2691.09140
722 Joey Logano Ford2691.19019
841 Daniel Suarez Ford2691.25452
96 Ryan Newman Ford2691.65215
1037 Chris Buescher Chevrolet2692.519 
1121 Paul Menard Ford2692.582 
1217 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford2692.59721
1312 Ryan Blaney Ford2693.358 
1410 Aric Almirola Ford2693.404 
159 Chase Elliott Chevrolet2694.062 
1695 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota2694.355 
1788 Alex Bowman Chevrolet2681 lap 
1824 William Byron Chevrolet2681 lap 
1919 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota2681 lap 
202 Brad Keselowski Ford2681 lap3
2147 Ryan Preece Chevrolet2681 lap 
224 Kevin Harvick Ford2681 lap 
2343 Darrell Wallace Jr. Chevrolet2672 laps 
248 Daniel Hemric Chevrolet2672 laps 
2534 Michael McDowell Ford2672 laps 
2613 Ty Dillon Chevrolet2672 laps 
2736 Matt Tifft Ford2672 laps 
2832 Corey Lajoie Ford2663 laps 
2938 David Ragan Ford2663 laps 
3048 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet2663 laps 
3115 Ross Chastain Chevrolet2645 laps 
3200 Landon Cassill Chevrolet2636 laps 
3351 Bayley Currey Ford2627 laps 
3477 Quin Houff Chevrolet2609 laps 
353 Austin Dillon Chevrolet23831 laps 
3652 B.J. McLeod Chevrolet110159 laps 

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