Busch Holds Off Harvick and Wins Wild Race at Texas

Kyle Busch held off a late charge by Kevin Harvick to win Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This was his 44th career win and first of the season.

 

Kurt Busch led the field to the green flag but it was his teammate Harvick who secured the valuable bottom lane in turn 1 to take the lead. Trouble didn’t wait long to show up as Alex Bowman got loose and spun on lap 2 in turn 4 collecting Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, and Ross Chastain to bring out the day’s first caution. Harvick took off on the ensuing restart and left the field in the dust. Martin Truex Jr. ducked on to pit road on lap 41 of the 85-lap stage and that triggered the first round of green flag stops.

 

Denny Hamlin played contrary strategy to the field and stayed out till lap 56. The strategy would’ve helped Hamlin net some track positions but he was penalized for speeding on pit-road. Truex, who was running second at the time, cut a tire in turn 4 with four laps to go in the stage. This ended Truex’s day and Harvick would win stage 1 under yellow.

 

Harvick would lose the lead for the first time in the pits after stage 1 when Kyle Busch beat him out. About halfway through the stage Harvick was able to run Busch down and reclaim the lead. Quickly after, fourth place runner Kyle Larson blew a tire on entry into turn 1 and hit the wall hard. Harvick brought the field down pit road under yellow and he ended up losing eight positions after a stray lugnut got lodged in the jack during his stop. This gave Kurt Busch the lead. Harvick’s misfortunes would continue as shortly after the restart he was forced to pit again because of a loose wheel which regulated him a lap down. Meanwhile, Kurt Busch maintained the lead until four laps to go in the second stage when his younger brother Kyle got by and picked up the stage win.

 

Pit stops would once again generate a new leader as Erik Jones would beat the field out. On the restart Kyle Busch, running second, would get shuffled back which stacked up the field and caused Denny Hamlin to get loose under Aric Almirola and spin. He would collect a number of other cars in the process including Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.

 

With 100 laps to go Paul Menard found the outside wall for yet another caution. Kevin Harvick would once again have pit road problems as his crew was charged with too many men over the wall and was sent to the back of the field for the restart. Kyle Busch reclaimed the lead on the restart but another caution was right around the corner as Kasey Khane and Trevor Bayne got together and spun with 85 to go. Harvick quickly sliced his way through the field prior to the caution and found himself back in the top 10.

 

Busch and Harvick would pit together under green with 42 laps remaining putting them on equal tires. Yet another driver found the wall after cutting a tire, this time it was Ryan Newman with 31 to go. The final restart came with 23 to go and Busch scooted out to a nice lead. As the laps clicked off Harvick ran Busch down and was within striking distance during the final 10 laps but couldn’t get around Busch.

 

Results for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Jamie McMurray
4. Erik Jones
5. Ryan Blaney
6. Joey Logano
7. Kurt Busch
8. Darrell Wallace Jr
9. Clint Bowyer
10. William Byron
11. Chase Elliott
12. Trevor Bayne
13. Ty Dillon
14. Michael McDowell
15. Chris Buescher
16. Matt DiBenedetto
17. Kasey Kahne
18. Ross Chastain
19. Cole Whitt
20. Gray Gaulding
21. Landon Cassill
22. Harrison Rhodes
23. David Ragan
24. AJ Allmendinger
25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
26. Austin Dillon
27. Ryan Newman
28. Alex Bowman
29. Daniel Suarez
30. Paul Menard
31. Reed Sorenson
32. Aric Almirola
33. Brad Keselowski
34. Denny Hamlin
35. Jimmie Johnson
36. Kyle Larson
37. Martin Truex Jr

 

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