Kurt Busch Finally Wins a Las Vegas Cup Race

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LAS VEGAS, NV – RIS – After 21 tries, Kurt Busch is a winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the South Point 400 NASCAR Cup race.  Busch held off a racy Matt DiBenedetto in overtime for his first win of the 2020 season. It was Busch’s first win at his home track.

“This is 20 years of agony and defeat and today triumph,” Busch said. “I don't know if I have any gas left or if I just filled my tank up to go win every race. This is my hometown and I have so many people to thank and I know they are watching on television so proud of their hometown driver.”

It was also the first win of 2020 for Chip Ganassi Racing and the first playoff win for any Chevrolet driver.

Busch just happened to be the leader during a round of green flag pit stops interrupted with 32 laps remaining by just the fifth caution of the race. It cycled him to the lead for the ensuing restart and he had an incredible jump to control the front.

Busch did it two more times, including a final restart in overtime, to deny the challengers any shot at catching him.  Busch was giddy and celebrated at the start-finish line,

“This is what kids grow up when they are racing,” Busch said. “They grow up dreaming of winning on their home track and for two decades it has kicked my butt.”

Matt DiBenedetto, eliminated from the playoffs last weekend, finished second in a Ford for Wood Brothers Racing in his best finish of the season. After the race, he reiterated he wants an extension to continue driving the No. 21 next season.

“I want to drive for the Wood boys so bad,” DiBenedetto said. “I want to get that 100th win for them.  We came close.”  Closed as in 0.148 seconds behind the winner.

Denny Hamlin, looking doe another win to add to his total, led dominated the race until the cautions jumbled the finish but rallied to finish third in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. He first gambled to pit for new tires to give him a shot to work through traffic, then chose the top lane in the overtime shootout in a mad scramble to catch Busch. He finished third. Hamlin led 121 of the 268 laps.  Martin Truex Jr., another Gibbs driver, was fourth and followed by Alex Bowman in Chevrolet and Gibbs driver Kyle Busch, who is now 0-for-30 this Cup season as he seeks a second consecutive title.

Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola and Austin Dillon, in that order, are all below the cutline with two races remaining in the second round. NASCAR races next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and then closes this round at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the hybrid “Roval” road course-oval.

Unofficial Results, South Point 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Fin, St, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Tms, Laps, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 9, Kurt Busch (P), No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, 268, , , 2, 29, 5, 40, Running
2) 19, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 21 Menards/Duracell Ford, 268, , 8, 3, 8, , 38, Running
3) 10, Denny Hamlin (P), No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota, 268, 1, 2, 4, 121, 1, 53, Running
4) 11, Martin Truex Jr. (P), No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 268, 9, 4, , , , 42, Running
5) 8, Alex Bowman (P), No. 88 LLUMAR Chevrolet, 268, 8, 3, 1, 5, , 43, Running
6) 2, Kyle Busch (P), No. 18 M&M's Toyota, 268, 3, , 2, 6, , 39, Running
7) 15, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 DEX Imaging Ford, 268, 7, 5, 1, 1, , 40, Running
8) 13, Erik Jones, No. 20 Today's The Day Toyota, 268, , , , , , 29, Running
9) 16, Chris Buescher, No. 17 SunnyD Ford, 268, , , 1, 10, , 28, Running
10) 1, Kevin Harvick (P), No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford, 268, 5, 7, , , , 37, Running
11) 18, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally inspired by Danny Koker Chevrolet, 268, , , , , , 26, Running
12) 6, Clint Bowyer (P), No. 14 One Cure Ford, 268, 10, 9, , , , 28, Running
13) 12, Brad Keselowski (P), No. 2 Autotrader Ford, 268, , , 1, 2, , 24, Running
14) 5, Joey Logano (P), No. 22 Pennzoil Ford, 268, 2, , 1, 1, , 32, Running
15) 27, Ryan Newman, No. 6 Guaranteed Rate Ford, 268, , , , , , 22, Running
16) 22, Cole Custer #, No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford, 268, , , , , , 21, Running
17) 4, Aric Almirola (P), No. 10 HighPoint.com Ford, 268, , , , , , 20, Running
18) 20, Matt Kenseth, No. 42 McDonald's Chevrolet, 268, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 21, Ryan Preece, No. 37 Slim Jim Chevrolet, 268, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 25, John Hunter Nemechek #, No. 38 Speedy Cash Ford, 268, , , , , , 17, Running
21) 17, Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 268, , , , , , 16, Running
22) 3, Chase Elliott (P), No. 9 Unifirst Chevrolet, 268, 4, 1, 3, 73, 1, 32, Running
23) 33, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Kroger Chevrolet, 268, , , , , , 14, Running
24) 26, Christopher Bell #, No. 95 Rheem/Watts Toyota, 268, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 28, William Byron, No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, 268, , 10, 1, 12, , 13, Running
26) 24, Ty Dillon, No. 13 GEICO Military Chevrolet, 267, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 31, Corey LaJoie, No. 32 Trump 2020 Ford, 267, , , , , , 10, Running
28) 23, Bubba Wallace, No. 43 Door Dash Chevrolet, 266, , , , , , 9, Running
29) 29, * Daniel Suarez, No. 96 Team USA Toyota Camry Toyota, 265, , , , , , 8, Running
30) 35, Brennan Poole #, No. 15 Goettl Chevrolet, 265, , , , , , 7, Running
31) 30, Gray Gaulding(i), No. 27 Panini America Ford, 262, , , , , , 0, Running
32) 7, Austin Dillon (P), No. 3 DOWFROST Chevrolet, 261, 6, 6, , , , 15, Running
33) 37, JJ Yeley(i), No. 77 BetterForYourHealth Chevrolet, 261, , , , , , 0, Running
34) 32, Quin Houff #, No. 00 Victory Weekend Chevrolet, 259, , , , , , 3, Running
35) 34, Joey Gase(i), No. 51 Nevada Donate Life Ford, 256, , , , , , 0, Running
36) 38, Josh Bilicki(i), No. 53 Dollar Loan Center Ford, 227, , , , , , 0, Suspension
37) 36, * Timmy Hill(i), No. 66 CrashClaimsR.US Toyota, 160, , , , , , 0, Rear End
38) 14, Tyler Reddick #, No. 8 Cat Mining Chevrolet, 157, , , , , , 1, Accident
39) 39, * Chad Finchum(i), No. 49 LasVegas.net Toyota, 19, , , , , , 0, Overheating
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie, (P) Playoffs qualified

Time of race: 3 hr, 3 min, 32 sec
Race length: 
268 laps, 402 miles
Race speed: 
131.42 mph
Margin of victory:
 0.148 sec

Stage 1 top 10: 11, 22, 18, 9, 4, 3, 12, 88, 19, 14
Stage 2 top 10: 9, 11, 88, 19, 12, 3, 4, 21, 14, 24

Comments: Kurt Busch won the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his 32nd NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Caution flags: 7 for 36 laps;
Laps: 27-30 (Competition Caution [77]);
82-86 (Stage 1 Conclusion [32]);
162-166 (Stage 2 Conclusion [47]);
191-196 (Debris [48]);
237-242 (Debris [88]);
251-255 (No. 20, 38, 47 Incident Turn 3 [22]);
262-266 (No. 24, 32, 95 Incident Frontstretch [37]).

Lead changes: 20 among 11 drivers;
K. Harvick (P) 0;
C. Elliott (P) 1-27;
K. Busch (P) 28-30;
D. Hamlin (P) 31-83;
K. Busch (P) 84-86;
J. Logano (P) 87;
D. Hamlin (P) 88-91;
C. Elliott (P) 92-118;
R. Blaney 119;
M. DiBenedetto 120;
B. Keselowski (P) 121-122;
W. Byron 123-134;
C. Buescher 135-144;
C. Elliott (P) 145-163;
D. Hamlin (P) 164-166;
A. Bowman (P) 167-171;
D. Hamlin (P) 172-232;
M. DiBenedetto 233-234;
K. Busch (P) 235-237;
M. DiBenedetto 238-242;
K. Busch (P) 243-268.

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2020, Issue 9, Posted 11:27 PM, 09.27.2020