Although Kyle Busch had four top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway, he had never earned that all-elusive trip to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. However, the driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota changed that stat duing the 267-lap Go Bowling 400. The only other tracks he hasn't yet won at are Charlotte and Pocono. The Las Vegas, Nev. native finally got the monkey off his back after having a black cloud follow him for most of his career on the Heartland oval.
After rolling off the grid in the sixth position, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver led 69 total laps to capture the win on the 1.5-mile Kansas oval. During a post-race press conference, Busch's crew chief Adam Stevens pointed out that the team went the last 56 laps without pitting. 31-year-old Busch felt like the call was a good one. "I thought clean air was fast and I knew we had some laps on our tires, but still I felt like our car was really good out front," he said. " I knew our car was really good. I knew our car was best out front. I had trouble in traffic all night long. I wasn’t the best at being able to pick my way through that stuff, but when we had green flag pit stops I really got some good holes and was able to make some good time, but the call to stay out was a no brainer and it certainly worked out for us. I was kind of worried about those guys that had tires behind us, but then they all crashed with tires, so it was kind of weird."
Kenseth, Busch's teammate, came home in fourth place but the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota driver is still pleased with tonight's finish. "It’s our best finish of the year, so that’s the bright side," Kenseth pointed out. "We were about a second to fourth-place car most of the day. I thought we were as good as the 18 (Busch) if we could have had the position, but it was tough to stick on that bottom. I tried something different there to try to lay back and get the pass, but once they were single file I couldn’t go get them. We were just a little off, but these guys had great pit stops and great adjustments and we seem to be getting closer.”
The race featured 16 lead changes and 10 different leaders. Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps of the night with 172 total. Truex Jr. looked to be on pace to win his first race of the year, but a loose wheel following a late-race pit stop knocked the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota to a final finish of 14th. "I couldn't believe it," Truex Jr. said. "Went around (turns) one and two and I was like, ‘Wheels loose.’ I kept telling myself that maybe it’s not me, 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.”
Two rookies earned top-10 finishes. Ryan Blaney, the driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion from Wood Brothers earned finished the highest of the first-year contenders with a fifth-place showing while the No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet driven by Chase Elliott snuck into the ninth-place hole.
There were two debris and four cautions which were caused by accidents for a total of six yellow flags throughout the night.
With three wins now under his belt, the most of any of the Cup Series clan, Busch sits second in the standings with 386 points. Kevin Harvick is the current points leader and earned a second-place finish in tonight's event. The No. 4 Chevrolet from Stewart-Haas Racing leads the field by just four points.
The next stop for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers takes place May 15th at Dover International Speedway at 11:30 PM ET. FOX (local), MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90 are scheduled to have the coverage.
1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Kurt Busch
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Ryan Blaney
6. Austin Dillon
7. Ryan Newman
8. AJ Allmendinger
9. Chase Elliott
10. Brad Keselowski