Kyle Busch Hits Jack Pot in Hometown of Vegas
The Sprint Cup Series headed to Las Vegas to test their luck this week and see if Matt Kenseth could make history by winning the first three races in a season.
The front two starting positions in the race were held by the home town boys of Kyle and Kurt Busch. This was only the third time in series history that brothers started from the top-two positions.
Unfortunately for Kyle, he had to drop to the back of the field at the start of the race after making an engine change. This moved everyone on the bottom row up, allowing Jimmie Johnson—who qualified third—to start from the pole position.
Johnson led the first lap of the Shelby 427, but the race soon came to a halt as the first caution flag waved on lap two for a spin by Brad Keselowski in Turn Two.
The race soon restarted, but quickly slowed once more for another yellow flag on lap seven, for a spin by Todd Bodine off Turn Two.
In addition to Bodine's issues, Matt Kenseth rolled snake eyes and had his engine blow, ending his day early.
Kenseth finished 43rd, doing so for only the second time in his career.
The race went green once more with Johnson leading the field.
Johnson continued to lead until the first set of green flag pit stops began around lap 50.
Johnson led the first 51 laps of the event, before hitting pit road for routine service.
During the round of green flag stops, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, and Robby Gordon all took turns at the front of the field before making their pit stops.
Johnson regained the lead on lap 57, after pit stops cycled through and continued to lead until the third caution flag waved for debris on lap 60.
This set up another restart that was short lived, as another yellow waved for David Ragan’s blow engine on lap 72.
This allowed all the leaders to hit pit road. Kevin Harvick took fuel only and led the way off pit road.
Harvick led the field down for the restart, but his lead would be short lived as Greg Biffle passed him for the top spot on lap 85.
Biffle remained the leader as the fifth caution flag waved on lap 95 for a spin by David Stremme off Turn Two.
The leaders took advantage and hit pit road once more. Jeff Gordon came out first, but did not lead the field to the green flag, because Biffle and Mark Martin stayed out under the caution.
Biffle took the restart as the leader and continued to lead until the sixth caution flag waved on lap 123 for Martin blowing a motor.
This allowed all the leaders to hit pit road again, and Johnson came out in the lead with the help of a two tire stop.
After the race resumed, a couple of quick yellow flags slowed the pace once more.
The first yellow waved on lap 138 for a crash by Reed Sorenson on the backstretch, and the second yellow came out on lap 144 for a crash involving Aric Almirola and Kasey Kahne on the backstretch.
After the race restarted, Gordon mounted a charge and passed Johnson for the lead on lap 149.
Gordon continued to lead as the ninth caution flag waved over the field for a spin by Michael Waltrip on lap 164.
The leaders all hit pit road, and Jeff Burton came out in the lead after a two tire stop.
The race restarted, but was soon slowed again for a spin by Denny Hamlin on lap 171.
After this caution flag waved, the race restarted and stayed under the green flag until cars had to make green flag pit stops with about 70 laps remaining.
Some drivers were hit by bad luck as the caution flag waved just as green flag stops began. The yellow was brought out when Gordon blew a left front tire on his No. 24 Chevy.
The caution burned some drivers, but helped others who did not make their pit stop yet and got to do so under the yellow flag.
The leaders made their pit stops under the yellow, and Burton held the lead after pit stops.
Burton restarted as the leader, but soon lost the lead to Kyle Busch with 58 laps remaining.
The race stayed under the green flag for about 30 laps before another caution flag waved for debris with just 27 laps to go.
All the leaders hit pit road for the final time in the race, and Burton again came out first.
Burton would not be the leader, however, after teammate Clint Bowyer stayed out under the caution.
Bowyer led a handful of laps before eventually being passed by Busch for the lead with 17 laps remaining.
This proved to be the move of the race, as Busch cruised to his first victory at his home track.
The race did not stay caution free, however. During the final 17 laps, the yellow flag waved on two separate occasions.
The first yellow came out with 16 laps remaining for a crash involving Paul Menard on the front-stretch. The second yellow came out with just six laps remaining for a crash involving Johnson and Sam Hornish in Turn Two.
In addition to the two yellow flags in the last 20 laps, the final lap brought huge disappointment to Edwards, as he blew his engine taking the white flag.
Edwards was the third Roush Fenway car to suffer a blown engine, and finished 17th.
The top-10 finishers in the race were: Kyle Busch, Bowyer, Burton, David Reutimann, Bobby Labonte, Gordon, Biffle, Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Some notable finishes were: Kahne in 11th, Harvick in 12th, Logano in 13th, Hamlin in 22nd, Kurt Busch in 23rd, Johnson in 24th, Tony Stewart in 26th, Martin in 40th, Ragan in 42nd, and Kenseth in 43rd.
The top-12 in points are:
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Greg Biffle
6. Kyle Busch
7. Kurt Busch
8. Tony Stewart
9. Carl Edwards
10. Bobby Labonte
11. Kevin Harvick
12. Michael Waltrip
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