Kyle Busch makes NASCAR history with Brickyard 400 win
Kyle Busch has won the Brickyard 400 for the second consecutive year, once again sweeping the weekend.
Although Busch had to accept a bit of delayed gratification when the race was red-flagged at the 02:43:52 mark for a six-car accident on Lap 155 — and 10 laps longer than the advertised distance — the defending winner of the 2015 Brickyard 400 swept the weekend events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Busch, 31, became the first driver at any track to win both qualifying sessions, the Xfinity Series heat race and feature leading up to Sunday’s Sprint Cup win — the 38th victory of his career.
“This Skittles Camry was awesome,” Busch said. “It was so fast and able to get out front and stay out front. Not even some of my teammates could challenge us we were so hooked up. It was on rails.
“It was fun to come out here and have such a dominant piece at Indy, they don’t come along very often. I was just hoping that I didn’t screw it up."
When Busch was asked whether this was a statement win and a harbinger of the playoffs, he replied, “Joe Gibbs Racing, for sure. I wouldn’t say the 18. I think any of us have a shot to win any given race there is. Carl was really strong today. Matt was strong today. Truex showed his strength today — and Denny (Hamlin) was there as well.
Matt Kenseth finished second followed by Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick.
The No. 18 led the first 26 laps. He relinquished the lead to Brad Keselowski when he pitting on Lap 27. Keselowski held the point for the next 14 laps until Greg Biffle ignited the second cautionon Lap 53 when he hit the wall after blowing a right front entering Turn 1 and hit the wall.
Joey Logano was the only driver with the lead lap cars not to pit on Lap 56 and took the lead. When the race returned to green on Lap 59, Logano was passed by Busch three laps later. With the exception of pit stops, Busch led 149 laps — a new race record.
The race was slowed by seven cautions. The third yellow flag waved when David Ragan cut a left rear tire and wrecked in Turn 1. Tony Stewart, making his final start at his home track, had just pitted before the caution. He was penalized for speeding during the stop and forced to restart 24th, one lap down on the Lap 127 restart.
Stewart, who ran in the top 10 for most of the day, earned the lucky dog by passing Kasey Kahne on Lap 130. He was running 19th returned to the lead lap on the fifth caution — on Lap 150 with ten laps remaining in the race.
Multi-car wreck halts the race
Once again, Busch was off to a commanding lead when a multi-car wreck was triggered on the Lap 154 restart when Carl Edwards got loose and punted Ryan Newman. Ryan Blaney, Danica Patrick, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Tony Stewart all received damage in the wreck.
The race was red-flagged for seven minutes and 25 seconds.
“It felt like I just got tight down there,” Edwards said. "I had a little trouble there on the starts and I got down there, we were fighting really hard for the bottom and it felt like I got tight with whoever was on the outside of me. If indeed that is what happened, I apologize, that’s pretty frustrating.
I don’t know if he came down or if I came up. It felt like I got in there and just scrubbed that right front. Hopefully a Toyota wins. I hate it for Stanley, Joe Gibbs Racing and everybody that was caught up in that wreck. It’s frustrating.”
With two laps remaining, Busch led the field to green but the drivers didn’t complete a lap before Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer wrecked on the back stretch to send the race into overtime. Jamie McMurray pulled in front of the No. 14 and Stewart — with no where to go — ran into the back of the No. 1 Chevy.
“We’re not doing a good job of racing, we’re just wrecking,” Busch said after the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
On the second attempt, Busch led the field with 19 cars on the lead lap. He led his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth to the finish line by 2.126-seconds. Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top six.
One final lap for Stewart and Gordon
Before Busch executed his burn out on the front stretch, Stewart, who finished 11th, and 13th-place Jeff Gordon took a victory lap side-by-side at IMS. Stewart said this is a memory that will last a lifetime.
“That was cool,” Stewart said. “I wasn’t ready to come in yet, I wanted to run one more lap.”
Gordon, who is filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., told the No. 88 crew, “Great job, proud of you guys.”
Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10 finishers in the 23rd running of the Brickyard 400.
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