Kyle Busch prevails at Texas
FORT WORTH, TEXAS >> A broom was waiting for Kyle Busch in Victory Lane at Texas.
Busch took the lead after the final restart Saturday night, completing his second NASCAR weekend sweep in a row and becoming the first driver to do that since Harry Gant in 1991.
"It's pretty darn good, I'll tell you that," Busch said when asked what it's like to be him right now. "I've got a great wife, a great son and I'm having a blast, living the dream."
While completing his personal Texas two-step, Busch ended Jimmie Johnson's three-race winning streak at the high-banked, 1 1/2-mile Texas track. It was Busch's 36th Sprint Cup victory, a week after also winning at Martinsville.
Busch also won the Xfinity race at Texas on Friday night, his 80th win in that series that was coming off a two-week break. At Martinsville, he also got his 45th Camping World Truck Series victory. That's four consecutive NASCAR Series wins in a span of eight days.
On the first lap after the final restart, lap 302 of 334, Busch went on the outside of Turn 4 to shoot around Martin Truex Jr. for the lead. Busch led the rest of the way in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, winning by nearly 4 seconds over Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Joey Logano third.
"The restart was going to be key. If I could just get out in front of him, I knew I could protect the rest of the race," Busch said. "They had a good restart, but we got a better one."
It was Busch's second Sprint Cup victory at Texas, where in 2013 he also swept both spring races.
Gant had consecutive sweeps at Richmond and Dover in 1991.
NASCAR's first night race of the season actually went into the next morning, ending a few minutes after midnight Texas time because the start was delayed for 1 hour, 50 minutes while drying the track after a couple of light rain showers during the afternoon.
Johnson, who had won five of the previous seven Texas races, finished fourth. When the Sprint Cup Series returns to Texas in November, he will be trying to win the fall race there for the fifth year in a row.
Chase Elliott, the rookie teammate of Earnhardt and Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports, finished fifth. Elliott has qualified fourth but had to start at the back of the 40-car field after a transmission change in the No. 24 Chevrolet.
The four Hendrick drivers finished in the top eight, with Kasey Kahne eighth.
All four Gibbs drivers finished in the top 12, with polesitter Carl Edwards seventh, Matt Kenseth 11th and Denny Hamlin 12th.
Edwards led 124 laps and was running second on a restart with 113 laps to go after pitting during a caution. Within a few laps after that, he had to go back in the pits because of a loose front right wheel and dropped all the way to 19th. He has won three Cup races at Texas, the last when sweeping the 2008 races.
Truex led six times for 141 laps.
The last restart followed an incident that involved 13 cars on the backstretch.
Austin Dillon, on older tires, got loose with 40 laps to go when Hamlin came under him going on the backstretch. Johnson was coming up behind him and tried to avoid contact before tapping into the back of Dillon's No. 3 that then spun.
Truex, who was not involved in the incident, and Dillon had stayed on the track running first and second when everyone else pitted during a caution five laps earlier.
Some other things from Texas:
POINTS RACE: Busch took over the season points lead, six ahead of Johnson and seven ahead of Kevin Harvick, the previous points leader. Harvick finished 10th at Texas, which is one of the four active tracks where he hasn't won. He's 0 for 27 there.
AFTER THE RAIN: The first five laps of the race were then run under caution while some jet dryers completed their work and the cars got some heat on the track with chilly temperatures in the upper 50s. There was also a scheduled competition caution 25 laps after that.
WITH HIS WIFE: Tony Gibson, crew chief for Kurt Busch's No. 41 Chevy, was there for Saturday night's race after missing the team's first two days in Texas to be with his wife, Beth, who was being treated for a colon infection in a North Carolina hospital. Gibson said he would be returning to the hospital after the race to be with his wife of 25 years.
UP NEXT: Bristol Motor Speedway next Sunday. Harvick won from the pole at the .533-mile last spring, when the first Bristol race was held before Texas.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.