Kyle Busch Wins Battle of Attrition at Texas

Kyle Busch won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Busch led 116 laps and won stage two en route to victory. This is Busch’s 44th career Cup Series win and his third at Texas. The race featured eight cautions and one 11-minute red flag.

Before the start, Kyle Larson was forced to start from the rear due to inspection issues. His car chief was ejected as well. William Byron would start from the rear due to an engine change, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had to start from the back due to a wreck in practice forcing him to a backup car.

On the start, Harvick took the lead and Kurt Busch got caught on the outside and slid back to seventh after starting from the pole. On lap three, Alex Bowman spun after clipping the apron, collecting Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, and Ross Chastain. All were able to continue, though Bowman sustained significant damage and went to the garage after meeting minimum speed. Suarez pitted many times under green and fell many laps down.

On the restart, Harvick took the lead, and Clint Bowyer, like Kurt Busch did on the start, got loose and fell back, settling in fifth. About halfway through the first stage, the pit stop cycle began. Second-place runner Ryan Blaney had to serve a pass-through penalty for an uncontrolled tire. Blaney fell to outside the top 20. With 30 laps left in stage one, Jimmie Johnson made a second pit stop for a loose wheel. About ten laps later, Denny Hamlin was busted for speeding entering pit road, dropping him a lap down. With five to go in stage one, Martin Truex Jr. blew a right front tire exiting turn four and pounded the wall. It would end Truex’s race and his streak of ten straight top five finishes at 1.5 mile tracks. Kevin Harvick won stage one under caution.

On pit stops, Kyle Busch took the lead from Harvick. Denny Hamlin’s pit crew committed an uncontrolled tire violation, sending him to the back end of the lead lap. On the restart, Busch stretched his legs and built up a small lead. About 30 laps after the restart, Harvick caught and passed Busch and led once again. About halfway through stage two, Kyle Larson blew a right front tire entering turn one, sending him hard into the outside wall. The car caught fire, but Larson would get out okay.

On pit stops, Kevin Harvick fell to ninth because a lug nut got stuck under the jack. Kyle and Kurt Busch led the field to the restart. Kurt Busch took the lead, driving away from brother Kyle. Kevin Harvick compounded his pit road issues as he returned to tighten a loose wheel. He fell a lap down outside the top 20. A couple of laps later, Ryan Blaney had similar issues. With only three laps remaining in stage two, Kyle Busch was able to get by his brother and drive to the stage win.

When the field came to pit road, Erik Jones’ crew was able to pick up three spots and allow Jones to lead the field to the green ahead of teammate Kyle Busch. On the restart, Kyle Busch got all kinds of sideways, but saved it. The accordion effect, though, caused contact between Aric Almirola and Denny Hamlin, sending Almirola into the wall and Hamlin spinning. Trevor Bayne, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, and David Ragan were all involved. The wreck ended the days of Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Keselowski, and Jimmie Johnson and brought out a ten-minute-plus red flag.

On the restart, Erik Jones jumped away from second-place Chase Elliott, who fell to third after being passed by Kurt Busch. With 120 laps remaining, Chase Elliott pitted for a vibration. With just over 100 to go, Austin Dillon had to pit due to smoke. His brakes had caught fire. Dillon went back out and immediately began to smoke again, and he elected to head to the garage. As that happened, the rest of the field began their round of green flag stops. With 100 laps to go, Paul Menard, who was involved in the lap three wreck, had a tire go down and slammed the wall, bringing out the caution. Kevin Harvick had yet to pit and was finally able to get back on the lead lap. Unfortunately for Harvick, his team would take a too many men over the wall penalty after a crewman literally fell over the wall. That meant he’d have to pass all the lap-down cars as well.

On the restart, Kyle Busch passed by Erik Jones to take the lead. With 85 laps to go, Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne spun. Neither sustained damage until Kahne had a tire come apart, which tore apart his fender.

When the race went back green, Kyle Busch got the lead and Jamie McMurray was able to grab second place. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. smacked the wall after getting out of the groove, but there was no caution and Stenhouse continued. Pit stops ensued as the race eclipsed 50 to go. With 30 to go, Ryan Newman, who was still running and hadn’t made his final pit stop, blew a right front and slammed the wall, similar to Larson and Truex’s wreck earlier in the day.

This set up a restart with only 23 laps to go. On that restart, Kyle Busch grabbed the lead, but Harvick followed closely behind. Even as Harvick stalked him, though, Busch was able to take home the victory.

Here are the full results from the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:

  1. Kyle Busch (Stage two)
  2. Kevin Harvick (Stage one)
  3. Jamie McMurray
  4. Erik Jones
  5. Ryan Blaney
  6. Joey Logano
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Darrell Wallace Jr. (Rookie)
  9. Clint Bowyer
  10. William Byron (Rookie)
  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 (Engine)
  25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Suspension)
  26. Austin Dillon
  27. Ryan Newman (Crash)
  28. Alex Bowman
  29. Daniel Suarez
  30. Paul Menard (Crash)
  31. Reed Sorenson (Overheating)
  32. Aric Almirola (Crash)
  33. Brad Keselowski (Crash)
  34. Denny Hamlin (Crash)
  35. Jimmie Johnson (Crash)
  36. Kyle Larson (Crash)
  37. Martin Truex Jr. (Crash)

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