Kyle Busch wins Stage 1 at Kansas as trouble befalls title rivals

Kyle Busch got lucky in the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday.

Busch had the lead at Kansas Speedway when Kyle Larson’s engine blew with four laps remaining in the segment to earn his 14th stage win of the season. 

"Easy now, don't count your chickens before they hatch," Busch said. "We've got a long way to go here."

Kevin Harvick was second followed by Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones. Playoff contenders Brad Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 11th and 23rd, respectively. Larson was scored 38th. 

Truex led the field to green and had extended his lead by more than a half-second over Harvick on the first lap. Blaney moved up to 37th for the start and gained two spots on the first lap. After five laps, Truex’s lead was .927-seconds over Harvick. Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones rounded out the top 10. Blaney advanced to 26th then passed Stenhouse for 25th. 

After the first 10 laps, Truex extended his lead to a second-and-a-half over Harvick. Blaney passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 22nd, then Paul Menard for 21st on Lap 12.

Truex lapped BJ McLeod on Lap 13. Halfway to the competition caution Truex held  1.7-second lead over Harvick. Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Hamlin, McMurray, Suarez, Bowyer, Larson and Johnson rounded out the top 10.

On Lap 17, Kurt Busch came down pit road after hitting the wall. The crew changed tires dropped to 39th, one lap down. By Lap 20, Blaney had advanced to 17th and gained another position over the next lap.

Five laps before the competition caution, Truex’s lead was 3.7-seconds over Kyle Busch, who took over second from Harvick. Kenseth remained fourth followed by Larson, Hamlin, McMurray, Johnson, Bowyer and Suarez. On Lap 28, Erik Jones passed Suarez for 10th. 

Truex extended his advantage to 4.326-seconds over Busch when the yellow flew on Lap 30. Harvick ran third followed by Kenseth, Larson, McMurray, Hamlin, Johnson, Bowyer, Jones, Austin Dillon, Suarez, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Earnhardt Jr., Blaney, Ryan Newman, Buescher and McDowell. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., entered the pits 27th on Lap 32.

Truex retained the lead out of the pits and selected the inside line when the race returned to green on Lap 36. Kyle Busch, Harvick, Kenseth, Hamlin, Larson, Bowyer, McMurray, Jones, Johnson, Suarez, Keselowski, Elliott, Earnhardt and Blaney rounded out the top 15. Stenhouse restarted 26th. 

Truex's penalty

Truex received a restart violation penalty from NASCAR for dipping below the white line on the restart. 

“That’s not a F-ing rule, man,” Truex protested as the team told him to come to pit road. “Pass-thru, 10-4.”

Truex pitted on Lap 39 and dropped to 31st. Busch took the lead with Harvick in tow. Larson, Kenseth, Bowyer, McMurray, Hamlin, Jones, Johnson, Elliott rounded out the top 10.

Brett Moffitt triggered the second caution on Lap 47 after hitting the Turn 2 wall. Kyle Busch’s lead was a half-second over Harvick. Larson, Kenseth, Bowyer, McMurray, Hamlin, Jones, Johnson, Elliott, Keselowski, Blaney, Newman, Earnhardt and Buescher rounded out the top 15. Truex ran 30th.

The leaders pitted on Lap 48, but Keselowski, Blaney, Newman, Earnhardt, Buescher and Truex remained on the track. Kyle Busch was the first car off of pit road and lined up seventh followed by Harvick, Kahne, Kenseth, Hamlin, Larson, Jones, Bowyer, McMurray, Johnson and Elliott. Stenhouse dropped to 28th. 

Keselowski took the outside lane on the Lap 51 restart. Earnhardt went high and dropped to 11th. Blaney took the lead followed by Keselowski and Kyle Busch. Busch passed Keselowski for second on the next lap. Harvick ran fourth followed by Newman, Hamlin, Kahne, Truex, Larson and Earnhardt. Busch regained the lead coming to the line on Lap 55. 

After five laps, Busch’s lead was .514-seconds over Harvick. Larson passed Blaney for third on Lap 58. Hamlin held fourth followed by Keselowski, Newman, Johnson, Kahne, Elliott, Truex, McMurrray, Earnhardt, Suarez and Bowyer. Kenseth dropped to 16th. 

With 20 laps to decide the stage, Busch extended his lead to .570-seconds over Harvick. Larson, Blaney, Hamlin, Keselowski, Johnson, Elliott, Kahne and Newman rounded out the top 10.

Larson's race goes up in smoke

Larson slowed on Lap 64 and he came to pit road on the next lap. Busch continued to lead followed by Harvick. Hamlin passed Blaney for third followed by Johnson, McMurray, Elliott, Keselowski, Truex and Kahne.

The No. 42 team restarted the car and Larson returned to the track on Lap 68 on 37th, three laps down. Busch held a .605-second advantage over Harvick with 10 laps to decide the stage. Hamlin, Blaney, Johnson, McMurray, Elliott, Truex, Keselowski and Kenseth rounded out the top 10. Kenseth passed Keselowski for ninth on the next lap. Jones advanced into the top 10 on Lap 73. 

Busch held a .731-second lead over Harvick with five laps to go in the stage final. With four laps remaining, Larson’s engine blew coming out of Turn 4 to trigger the third caution. 

“I don’t know what to say,” Chad Johnston said. 

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Kansas II
Track Kansas Speedway
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Race report