Kentucky NASCAR: Kurt Busch beats brother Kyle to seal first ’19 win


Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch clinched his first victory of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season, beating his brother Kyle Busch in a thrilling overtime finish at Kentucky.

Penske’s Joey Logano had seemed on course for victory after he battled past dominant stage two winner Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) to take the lead for the first time in the race with 20 of the 267 laps remaining.

But a right-rear tyre blowout on Darrell Wallace Jr’s Chevrolet with five laps remaining triggered a final restart and sent the race into overtime.

Logano was joined on the front row for the final restart by Kyle Busch. Both had fitted two new tyres on their final pitstops, but stage one winner Kurt Busch – restarting on the outside of the second row – had opted for four.

With a tyre advantage, he powered around the outside of Logano’s Ford and engaged in a battle with his brother Kyle.

The two spent the majority of the final lap side-by-side, and contact was made – leading to a right-rear tyre rub on Kurt Busch’s Chevrolet.

But Kyle was unable to hold off his brother. Kurt powered around the outside of Turn 4 and won a drag race to the line to clinch victory and book his place in the playoffs.

The win came one week on from the rain-shortened Daytona round, in which Kurt Busch was wrong-footed by what turned out to be a race-ending red flag for lightning, called one lap after he had given up the lead by pitting.

Erik Jones had briefly challenged for the Kentucky lead in a three-wide moment against the Busch pair after a strong launch at the final restart before finishing behind his JGR team-mate Kyle Busch in third.

Kyle Larson climbed up the order throughout the final stage to end up fourth, despite starting the race in 19th and having been anonymous though the opening two stages.

JGR’s Denny Hamlin recovered from a pitlane penalty for an uncontrolled tyre during a stage-two pitstop to finish fifth, assisted by a timely free pass opportunity at the end of the stage to recover to the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer finished sixth, despite also facing a recovery after being caught out when a right-rear puncture for Chase Elliott triggered a caution mid-way through the opening stage.

SHR’s Bowyer was one of only a handful of drivers to pit prior to the incident and lost significant track position.

But he was eventually able to cycle back to the front of the field – opting not to pit at the end of stages – leading the race during the opening exchanges in the final stage before sliding back on account of an early final pitstop.

William Byron had cycled to the front with a similar strategy to Bowyer. The Hendrick Motorsports’ driver dropped out of contention after being handed a penalty for jumping a restart when on the front row with Bowyer, and finished 18th.


Pos Driver Team Car
1 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
2 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
3 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
4 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
5 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
6 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
7 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
8 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
9 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford
10 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
11 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford
12 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford
13 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford
14 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
15 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
16 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota
17 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
18 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
19 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
20 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
21 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
22 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
23 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet
24 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
25 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford
26 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet
27 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford
28 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford
29 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford
30 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
31 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
32 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet
33 Bayley Currey Petty Ware Racing Ford
34 Quin Houff Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
35 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
36 B.J. McLeod Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet

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