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Kyle Busch Holds Off Kevin Harvick for 1st Win of the Season

10 April, 2018, 16:18 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • MENCS Kyle Busch Victorious at Texas Motor Speedway

If the race had been just a few laps longer Busch again might have had to settle for runner-up. Busch had finished as the runner up on three separate occasions without making the win column in 2018. He took the lead for the second time by passing Kurt Busch to win Stage 2.

It was the third time this year that Busch and Harvick finished 1-2, with Busch getting the better of it for the first time.

"[Harvick] was probably a tick faster overall", Busch said. "If you're finishing fifth or 10th or whatever, and you're just not capable of winning, it certainly will draw longer as well too. We have so many of these and I feel like we've been a little bit behind on the 1.5-miles, but had a really good run today".

Harvick moved back into the lead on lap 116. "I just had to make sure I hit all my marks to block his air a little bit".

Erik Jones, who led twice for a total of 64 laps, ran fourth and posted his first top-five finish of the season. "I've been pumped and excited about that but frustrated at the same time trying to get to Victory Lane". The two led 203 of 334 laps and were on even tires for the run to the end.

Under the caution, the cars headed to the pits and Busch grabbed his first lead of the day by beating Harvick off pit road. After the restart, Harvick was slow on the track and returned to the pits with a loose wheel. "Those two things we knew were going to have an effect on the aerodynamic properties of all of the manufacturers' cars", NASCAR Senior Vice President for Competition Scott Miller said Monday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "Time after time you can't get the lug nuts tight because the pit guns don't work".

Harvick and reigning Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. had won the previous eight Cup races on 1 1/2-mile tracks.

But Truex wasn't even around for the finish of this one.

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Kyle Busch was hot on his brother's bumper for 40 laps before he finally found room to pass him to re-gain the lead - a lead he held through the end of Stage 2.

Kyle Busch was second in the first stage behind Kevin Harvick, who is now running 15th and a lap down after issues during a pit stop. We'd lose the front on restarts or lose the rear.

"We've been inching there each week, getting closer and closer", Jones said. "They were really fast, but overall I thought we were a third-place vehicle". We had such a terrible season going and it's awesome to run as good as we did today at a 1.5-mile. "At least that's a positive".

Busch would start from the pole in Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500. Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, rookie Darrell Wallace Jr., Clint Bowyer and rookie William Byron completed the top 10.

A major crash on Lap 178 took out high-profile drivers including Jimmie Johnson (35th), Denny Hamlin (34th), Brad Keselowski (33rd) and Aric Almirola (32nd).

PITS FOR HARVICK: Stage 1 victor Harvick had his luck take a bad turn in Stage 2, which was brutal for him. With 44 wins, he matches Bill Elliott for 16th on the all-time list. "A strong Friday, a fantastic Saturday and then not the best Sunday", Johnson said. Harvick cut that deficit to 0.3 seconds with five remaining but couldn't get any closer.

"Kyle's vehicle was good enough to where he could get out there and run pretty good in clean air", said Harvick, who settled for his 19th top-10 finish in 31 starts at TMS.


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