NASCAR Sports Update: Kyle Busch snaps winless streak at Texas (10/28/20) By: Josh Scott
Kyle Busch beat teammate Martin Truex Jr by just under half a second, to win the rain-delayed Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday. The 500-mile event was red-flagged on Sunday after 53 laps due to rain. The race ended up being postponed until Wednesday afternoon, the second-longest delay of a NASCAR race since 1976.
Busch, who was eliminated from championship contention at the end of the Round of 12, picked up his fourth win at the 1.5 mile oval and 57th of his career. He holds 10th place on NASCAR's all-time wins list. The win was also Busch's first of 2020, snapping a 33-race winless streak.
"It's been a while," said the Las Vegas native after forgetting to do his signature bow to the crowd during his post-race interview.
"This (win) means a lot just to keep 'the 16' going...we just never give up."
The "16" Busch referred to is the number of consecutive seasons where he has won at least one race. This 16-year streak dates back to Busch's rookie season in 2005.
"Having the opportunity to continue that win streak was certainly high on our list," Busch said. "We haven't been the best on mile-and-a-half (tracks) this year, but we've been strategizing on things that we can do to improve."
A disappointed Truex Jr, who led 53 laps, was catching Busch but ran out of laps to get to his teammate.
"We've been so close here (at Texas) so many times," said the New Jersey native, who is now in a must-win situation in order to make the championship race. "We came here to win."
Rookie Christopher Bell finished third, his career-best finish of the season,
Ryan Blaney fourth, and Alex Bowman fifth. Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano rounded out the top 10. Clint Bowyer who finished the race 17th, claimed Stage One while Busch won Stage Two.
Jimmie Johnson finished 36th in his final Texas Motor Speedway start, after losing an engine on lap 279. It was announced Tuesday afternoon that Kyle Larson will make his return to the Cup Series to drive for the 48 team, which will become the number 5 team, in 2021. The 5 car makes its return to the track for the first time since 2016.
Larson was suspended by NASCAR in March for using a racial slur during an online racing event.
Seven laps after the race restarted on lap 60, Matt Kenseth's 42 car got loose coming off of Turn Four, drifting right in front of Denny Hamlin's number 11. Hamlin slowed down but not enough to keep himself from running into the back bumper of Kenseth, sending him sliding down the front stretch and clipping Darrell Wallace Jr's number 43 Chevy. Wallace Jr ended up careening into the outside wall, just past the start/finish line, propelling his car into the air for a split-second. Bubba was not injured and walked away under his own power.
The Playoff standings after the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 are as follows:
Drivers below the Playoff cutline will have one more shot, to be a part of the Championship Four, this Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, the shortest track on the NASCAR schedule. Martin Truex Jr has won the last two races at the half-mile track. The Xfinity 500 starts on Sunday at 2 p.m. on NBC.