Kyle Busch Extends Win Streak to 16 at Texas Cup Playoff Race

Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images

FORT WORTH, TX – RIS – In a race that was postponed three times, Mother Nature finally smiled on Texas Motor Speedway, and the Autotrader Echo Park NASCAR Cup race on Wednesday evening. Busch stretched his fuel and held off Martin Truex Jr. to win for the first time this season in Cup. Busch’s 16th consecutive season with a win ties him with Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace and Jimmie Johnson for third on the all-time Cup list. Richard Petty has the record with 18 consecutive seasons with at least one win.

“I was nervous the whole last run,” Busch said after his 57th career Cup win. “The last three laps, that’s like winning a championship, that’s how nervous I was.”

It had been so long since the driver of the No.18 Toyota almost forget his signature bow on the track after he finished.  An NBCSN reporter asked him about it and Busch got wide-eyed and said, “It’s been so long.”

Busch was followed in the result with third-place Christopher Bell and fourth-place Ryan Blaney.  Alex Bowman was fifth.

The race resumed Wednesday after it was stopped Sunday afternoon after 52 laps. The race was halted 72 hours, 28 minutes, 34 seconds because of persistent rain and mist. The longest delay between the start and finish of a race a quick search revealed was the March, 1983 Rockingham race. The Warner Hodgdon 500 started on March 6, ran approximately 140 laps and rain halted the action until the following Sunday. Richard Petty won, with Bill Elliott charging hard in search of his first victory.

Joey Logano is the only driver who has clinched a spot in the championship race. Busch was eliminated from title contention earlier in the playoffs.

Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski head to Sunday’s race at Martinsville in the final three transfer places to the title race. Harvick is 42 points above the cutline. Hamlin is 27 points above the cutline. Keselowski is 25 points above the cutline. Those below the cutline are Bowman (-25 points), Chase Elliott (-25), Truex (-36) and Kurt Busch (-81).

Clint Bowyer won the first stage and faded to 17th in the final tally.  Kyle Busch won the second stage.  He led the most laps-90, but only one more that Bowyer.  Other leaders were Truex (53), Bowman (43), Kevin Harvick (28), and Blaney (20), and five others.

In the end, the race came down to two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates.  Busch, running low on fuel kept watching Truex creep up on him while he saved fuel.  The Busch the call he was waiting on.

“When he gets to two seconds we’ll turn you loose,” Busch’s crew chief Adam Stevens radioed to his driver in the final stage of Wednesday’s race, which was postponed three times over the course of more than 72 hours for weather.

After the race finally started and sprinted to its final stage with few cautions, Busch was riding the tail of Bowyer, who won the first stage of the race, until the No. 14 driver ran low on fuel and Busch was able to make his pass.

The final race of this round will be Nov.1 at Martinsville Speedway.  It will be an elimination race and many need to win to get into the final four to race for a championship in Phoenix on November 8th.  The short and flat track will certainly make things interesting.

Unofficial results, AutoTrader EchoPark 500, Texas Motor Speedway

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1) 9, Kyle Busch, No. 18 Skittles Zombie Toyota, 334, , 1, 5, 90, 6, 50, Running
2) 6, Martin Truex Jr. (P), No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 334, 2, 2, 5, 53, , 53, Running
3) 15, Christopher Bell #, No. 95 Procore Toyota, 334, , 6, 1, 5, , 39, Running
4) 10, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 DEX Imaging Ford, 334, 4, 5, 2, 20, , 46, Running
5) 5, Alex Bowman (P), No. 88 Acronis Chevrolet, 334, , 3, 2, 43, , 40, Running
6) 3, Brad Keselowski (P), No. 2 Discount Tire Ford, 334, , 4, , , , 38, Running
7) 8, Kurt Busch (P), No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, 334, , , , , , 30, Running
8) 14, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 21 Menards/Richmond Ford, 334, 10, , 1, 2, , 30, Running
9) 7, Denny Hamlin (P), No. 11 FedEx Shipathon Toyota, 334, , , , , , 28, Running
10) 2, Joey Logano (P), No. 22 AAA Insurance Ford, 334, 8, , , , , 30, Running
11) 12, Austin Dillon, No. 3 DOW Sullair Chevrolet, 334, 9, 7, , , , 32, Running
12) 22, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Kroger Chevrolet, 334, , 9, , , , 27, Running
13) 11, William Byron, No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet, 334, 6, , , , , 29, Running
14) 16, Cole Custer #, No. 41 Autodesk/HaasTooling.com Ford, 334, , , , , , 23, Running
15) 19, Tyler Reddick #, No. 8 Clark Pipeline Services Chevrolet, 334, , , , , , 22, Running
16) 1, Kevin Harvick (P), No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford, 333, , 10, 1, 28, , 22, Running
17) 21, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford, 333, 1, 8, 4, 89, 1, 33, Running
18) 29, Ryan Preece, No. 37 Scott Brand Chevrolet, 333, , , , , , 19, Running
19) 25, Ryan Newman, No. 6 Guaranteed Rate Ford, 333, , , , , , 18, Running
20) 4, Chase Elliott (P), No. 9 Hooters Give a Hoot Chevrolet, 333, 7, , , , , 21, Running
21) 17, Erik Jones, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota, 333, 3, , 1, 2, , 24, Running
22) 24, John Hunter Nemechek #, No. 38 ROMCO Ford, 332, , , , , , 15, Running
23) 13, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, 332, , , 1, 1, , 14, Running
24) 27, Ty Dillon, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 332, , , , , , 13, Running
25) 28, Corey LaJoie, No. 32 Schluter Systems Ford, 331, , , , , , 12, Running
26) 23, Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 331, , , , , , 11, Running
27) 30, * Daniel Suarez, No. 96 The NASCAR Foundation Toyota, 328, , , , , , 10, Running
28) 31, Brennan Poole #, No. 15 THRIV5 Chevrolet, 328, , , 1, 1, , 9, Running
29) 37, * Josh Bilicki(i), No. 7 Junction Fuels Chevrolet, 326, , , , , , 0, Running
30) 36, * Timmy Hill(i), No. 66 RoofClaim.com Toyota, 325, , , , , , 0, Running
31) 38, Garrett Smithley(i), No. 53 Victory Lane Quick Oil Change Ford, 325, , , , , , 0, Running
32) 35, Reed Sorenson, No. 77 Marwin Sports Chevrolet, 321, , , , , , 5, Running
33) 34, Quin Houff #, No. 00 Good Greek Movers Chevrolet, 316, , , , , , 4, Running
34) 20, Chris Buescher, No. 17 Fastenal Ford, 310, , , , , , 3, Running
35) 40, * Chad Finchum(i), No. 49 LasVegas.net Toyota, 310, , , , , , 0, Running
36) 26, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally designed by Noah Sweet Chevrolet, 279, 5, , , , , 7, Engine
37) 39, Joey Gase(i), No. 51 Donate Life Texas Ford, 184, , , , , , 0, Suspension
38) 18, Bubba Wallace, No. 43 Door Dash Chevrolet, 59, , , , , , 1, Accident
39) 32, Matt Kenseth, No. 42 McDonald's Chevrolet, 59, , , , , , 1, Accident
40) 33, JJ Yeley(i), No. 27 Fat Boy Ice Cream Chevrolet, 20, , , , , , 0, Accident
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Time: 3 hr, 42 min, 14 sec
Race Length: 334 laps, 501. miles
Average Speed: 135.263 mph
Margin of Victory: .468 second

Stage 1 Top 10: 14, 19, 20, 12, 48, 24, 9, 22, 3, 21
Stage 2 Top 10: 18, 19, 88, 2, 12, 95, 3, 14, 47, 4

Comments: Kyle Busch won the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, his 57th career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Prior to the start, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field for the reasons indicated: No. 19, 49 and 96 (Failed inspection twice), No. 53 (Unapproved adjustments).

Caution Flags: 8 for 47 laps;
Laps: 6-8 (No. 17 Incident in Turn 2 [None]);
23-27 (No. 27 Incident in Turn 2 [51]);
45-56 (Weather [Red: 72:28:34] [49]);
61-68 (No. 10, 11, 42 and 43 Incident on the Frontstretch [4]);
77-81 (Debris in Turn 4 [7]);
107-111 (Stage 1 Conclusion [66]);
135-138 (No. 51 Incident in Turn 2 [66]);
212-216 (Stage 2 Conclusion [6]).

Lead Changes: 23 among 11 drivers;
K. Harvick (P) 1-28;
A. Bowman (P) 29-45;
M. Truex Jr. (P) 46;
B. Poole # 47;
C. Bowyer 48-81;
M. Truex Jr. (P) 82;
C. Bowyer 83-108;
A. Bowman (P) 109-134;
R. Blaney 135-138;
M. Truex Jr. (P) 139;
R. Blaney 140-155;
M. Truex Jr. (P) 156-198;
K. Busch 199-201;
M. DiBenedetto 202-203;
A. Almirola 204;
E. Jones 205-206;
K. Busch 207-216;
C. Bowyer 217;
K. Busch 218-267;
M. Truex Jr. (P) 268-274;
C. Bell # 275-279;
K. Busch 280-282;
C. Bowyer 283-310;
K. Busch 311-334.

Sunoco Rookie of the Race: Christopher Bell, No. 95

Unofficial Points Report Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500
Rank, Driver, Car, Starts, GL, Points, Ldr, Nxt, Race Wins, Stage Wins, Playoff Pts
1) Kevin Harvick (P), No. 4, 34, 0, 4137, 0, 0, 9, 7, 67
2) Denny Hamlin (P), No. 11, 34, 0, 4122, -15, 15, 7, 10, 54
3) Brad Keselowski (P), No. 2, 34, 0, 4120, -17, 2, 4, 7, 35
4) Alex Bowman (P), No. 88, 34, 2, 4095, -42, 25, 1, 4, 9
5) Chase Elliott (P), No. 9, 34, -1, 4095, -42, 0, 3, 9, 27
6) Joey Logano (P), No. 22, 34, -1, 4094, -43, 1, 3, 6, 22
7) Martin Truex Jr. (P), No. 19, 34, 0, 4084, -53, 10, 1, 5, 17
8) Kurt Busch (P), No. 1, 34, 0, 4039, -98, 45, 1, 1, 6
9) Kyle Busch, No. 18, 34, 0, 2270, -1867, 1769, 1, 3, 4
10) Ryan Blaney, No. 12, 34, 1, 2251, -1886, 19, 1, 4, 14
11) Austin Dillon, No. 3, 33, -1, 2244, -1893, 7, 1, 0, 5
12) William Byron, No. 24, 34, 0, 2213, -1924, 31, 1, 2, 7
13) Clint Bowyer, No. 14, 34, 1, 2199, -1938, 14, 0, 4, 4
14) Matt DiBenedetto, No. 21, 34, 1, 2190, -1947, 9, 0, 0, 0
15) Aric Almirola, No. 10, 34, -2, 2181, -1956, 9, 0, 2, 5
16) Cole Custer #, No. 41, 34, 0, 2169, -1968, 12, 1, 0, 5
17) Erik Jones, No. 20, 34, 0, 833, -3304, 1336, 0, 0, 0
18) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48, 33, 0, 791, -3346, 42, 0, 1, 0
19) Tyler Reddick #, No. 8, 34, 0, 749, -3388, 42, 0, 1, 0
20) Christopher Bell #, No. 95, 34, 1, 636, -3501, 113, 0, 0, 0
21) Chris Buescher, No. 17, 34, -1, 627, -3510, 9, 0, 1, 1
22) Michael McDowell, No. 34, 34, 1, 565, -3572, 62, 0, 0, 0
23) Bubba Wallace, No. 43, 34, -1, 559, -3578, 6, 0, 0, 0
24) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47, 34, 0, 557, -3580, 2, 0, 1, 0
25) Ryan Newman, No. 6, 31, 0, 533, -3604, 24, 0, 0, 0
26) Ty Dillon, No. 1 3, 34, 0, 519, -3618, 14, 0, 1, 1
27) John Hunter Nemechek #, No. 38, 34, 0, 512, -3625, 7, 0, 0, 0
28) Matt Kenseth, No. 42, 30, 0, 486, -3651, 26, 0, 0, 0
29) Ryan Preece, No. 37, 34, 0, 456, -3681, 30, 0, 0, 0
30) Corey LaJoie, No. 32, 34, 0, 395, -3742, 61, 0, 0, 0

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 10, Posted 9:11 PM, 10.28.2020