I stated in my race preview that if Chevy was going to score a victory tonight, it would come from Kurt Busch. Somehow, some way, the older Busch brother was able to out-duel his younger brother, Kyle, to claim his first win of the 2019 season. After the final cycle of pit stops were complete, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano duked it out for the lead and nearly wrecked each other as Logano was able to clear Kyle and take the clean air advantage. Logano was well on his way to victory until Bubba Wallace blew a tire with four laps to go to bring out the caution. On the overtime restart, Kurt Busch zoomed his way to a three-wide battle after a great push from his teammate, Kyle Larson. Kurt had the preferred lane going into turn three but Kyle was able to hang onto his door and the two had a side-drafting joust for the ages on the final lap. Kyle appeared to have cleared Kurt in turn three but he could not stick the car in the bottom groove and Kurt was able to get to his door before they made contact on the front stretch, which led to Kurt pulling in front of Kyle and prevailing in the battle. Kurt’s win locks him into the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs and gives him his 31st win in his career. Chip Ganassi Racing received their first win since 2017.
As a whole, the race was satisfactory. Stage one saw little-to-no passing throughout the field. Logano was the only driver who gained multiple spots while Daniel Suarez led the first 40 laps without much challenge. However, cautions led to Suarez making a bone-headed strategy move of taking four tires that shuffled him outside of the top 10, which led to no stage points for a driver that needs them as we wind towards the postseason. Kurt stole stage one and we saw the same level of racing in stage two. Kyle was able to control the lead and outclass the field to win stage two. The battle in overtime completed the showcase that the Busch Brothers put on tonight. Move over Serena and Venus, Kurt and Kyle now own the best sibling rivalry in sports.
The aero package proved to make Kentucky an intense race for once in the track’s history. The high downforce and the PJ1 in the second lanes of the corners(to help create different racing lines) did not improve the on-track product. I, and most race fans, will not lose sleep if Kentucky were to be bulldozed from the NASCAR schedule. There are enough 1.5-mile circuits that provide solid racing without Kentucky.
Next week, NASCAR heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for some short-track action.
Photo via Kentucky Speedway