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Kyle Busch’s Hatred Of Kansas Turns To Love

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 8 2016
Kyle Busch on Friday night finally was able to take one of his signature victory bows at Kansas Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

Kyle Busch on Friday night finally was able to take one of his signature victory bows at Kansas Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

A couple years back, as he stood addressing the media after exiting the infield care center, Kyle Busch called Kansas Speedway the worst track on the Sprint Cup schedule. Hate the place, he said. On Saturday night, Busch finally picked up a victory at the series’ “worst” track.

sprint-logo-08Busch walked away from the field over the final laps of the Go Bowling 400 to easily make Kansas his third victim of the 2016 season.

The victory also helped Busch shelve memories of several particularly painful losses at the 1.5-mile oval.

“This is pretty cool,” the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. “Certainly this is a place that’s been tough on me over the years.  Probably almost caused me to go into retirement.  But fortunately for myself, maybe Joe (Gibbs, his team owner), too, that I didn’t do that and we’re here fighting for another race win.  Having a great time here in Kansas this time around.”

The victory came 24 hours after Busch won the Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas. And it t
rims his list of tracks on which he has not won a Cup race down to two – Pocono and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It feels great,” the 2015 Cup champion said of his weekend in the Heartland. “I wouldn’t call it a dream come true, but it’s certainly been some horror dreams here before.  This is certainly a lot better one.

“So it’s nice to just be able to accomplish the things that you set out to try to accomplish.  Having

Kyle Busch finally notched a happy ending at Kansas Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

Kyle Busch finally notched a happy ending at Kansas Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

some of those racetracks being ones that have been very difficult for me over the years, this one here especially at Kansas, it’s great to have that monkey off your back.”

For about the first two thirds of the race, it looked like Martin Truex Jr. would be the driver to do the monkey dumping. Truex, who started the 267-lap event from the pole, led 172 laps. Some of those leads were by several seconds.

But on Lap 215, Truex had to pit because of a loose wheel and his night was ruined.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Truex said. “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.

“We’re going to win races for sure. If we keep bringing cars like that, we’re going to win some. It’s frustrating when you’ve had it happen so many times in your career. I swear, you watch guys win races that don’t have the fastest car or on fuel mileage and all this stuff, and it’s like, ‘Damn, someday I’m going to get on one of those or on the other side of one of them.

“Usually you can dominate and win, but it’s tough, and it happens. It’s part of racing.”

Busch led the final 36 laps but did have to withstand a challenge from Kevin Harvick, who was able to make it to Busch’s rear bumper late in the race.

But over the final laps, Busch pulled away and beat Harvick to the checkered flag by 1.112 seconds.

“Thought we had a good run today,” Harvick said in a short post-race press conference. “Just really proud of my (Stewart-Haas Racing) team for what they did.  From where the car was yesterday, to change pretty much everything on the car and have it be that competitive on the racetrack today says a lot about our team.”

“We went down some different roads throughout the weekend that didn’t work and were able to go with what we normally run and be competitive. ”

Asked about not being able to get past Busch, Harvick said, “Hit a big piece of debris and knocked a big hunk out of the nose and knocked the splitter down.  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.”

The key call of the race was made by Stevens and Busch who opted not to pit on the final caution of the evening.

“We hadn’t seen much speed in tires all night, not much tire falloff,” Stevens said. “We’d only gone about 25.  It was about the perfect time to make that call.  A little bit longer would have been harder to make the call and you’d have had less laps to pass the cars.”

Finishing third was eldest Busch son Kurt in his Stewart-Haas Chevrolet.

Kurt Busch, who has won three poles but is still looking for his first victory of the season, said, “We are good, we are doing everything right we just have to find that last little step to be great. Tony Gibson (crew chief) really knows how to lead these guys and we are just knocking on the door in all the right areas.  We just have to put it together for that total piece.”

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – GoBowling 400
Kansas Speedway
Kansas City, Kansas
Saturday, May 07, 2016

  1. (6) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 267.
  2. (26) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 267.
  3. (4) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 267.
  4. (2) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 267.
  5. (7) Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 267.
  6. (17) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 267.
  7. (8) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 267.
  8. (29) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 267.
  9. (13) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 267.
  10. (5) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267.
  11. (12) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 267.
  12. (16) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 267.
  13. (9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 267.
  14. (1) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 267.
  15. (22) Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 267.
  16. (27) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 267.
  17. (15) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 267.
  18. (19) Aric Almirola, Ford, 265.
  19. (33) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 265.
  20. (23) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 265.
  21. (31) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 265.
  22. (28) Brian Scott #, Ford, 265.
  23. (32) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 265.
  24. (25) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 265.
  25. (10) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 264.
  26. (21) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 264.
  27. (20) Greg Biffle, Ford, 264.
  28. (30) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 264.
  29. (34) David Ragan, Toyota, 264.
  30. (24) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 264.
  31. (35) Landon Cassill, Ford, 264.
  32. (39) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 260.
  33. (40) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 257.
  34. (38) Joey Gase(i), Ford, 257.
  35. (18) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 252.
  36. (36) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Suspension, 245.
  37. (3) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Accident, 240.
  38. (14) Joey Logano, Ford, Accident, 240.
  39. (37) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 212.
  40. (11) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, Engine, 129.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  141.909 mph.

Time of Race:  02 Hrs, 49 Mins, 20 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.112 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  6 for 30 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   M. Truex Jr 1-24; D. Ragan 25; Kyle Busch 26-57; M. DiBenedetto 58; M. Truex Jr 59-104; R. Smith 105; M. Truex Jr 106-158; J. Logano 159; D. Patrick 160-161; M. Truex Jr 162-172; M. Kenseth 173; M. Truex Jr 174-211; M. Kenseth 212-213; J. Logano 214-215; B. Keselowski 216-218; T. Stewart 219-230; Kyle Busch 231-267.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  M. Truex Jr 5 times for 172 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 69 laps; T. Stewart 1 time for 12 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 3 laps; M. Kenseth 2 times for 3 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 3 laps; D. Patrick 1 time for 2 laps; M. DiBenedetto 1 time for 1 lap; D. Ragan 1 time for 1 lap; R. Smith 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick – 390; Kyle Busch – 386; C. Edwards – 367; J. Johnson – 353; Kurt Busch – 350; B. Keselowski – 332; J. Logano – 320; A. Dillon – 307; D. Earnhardt Jr – 305; M. Truex Jr – 303; C. Elliott # – 303; J. Mcmurray – 276; D. Hamlin – 273; M. Kenseth – 269; A. Allmendinger – 265; R. Blaney # – 255.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 8 2016
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