Kurt Busch finally gets elusive win in his hometown
Kurt Busch has said winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway would be the equivalent of winning the Daytona 500. Thanks to a timely late-race caution, a little boy’s dream came true.
“This is what kids dream of,” said an emotional Busch in Victory Lane. “Winning in your hometown. For two decades this place has kicked my butt. I really miss the fans. I miss them so much. My hometown is really special. This really means a lot. Thanks to Brendan Gaughan, the South Point, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, all my family and friends that have meant so much.”
Things fell in the Durango High School graduate’s lap with 30 laps to go when Jimmie Johnson shredded a tire causing a caution while many of the top competitors had made green-flag stops. The caution trapped Denny Hamlin, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott among others a lap down forcing them to take the wave-around.
Restarts in traffic made life tough on those who had pitted as Busch and Matt DiBenedetto started to pull away from the field.
“An untimely caution kept us out of Victory Lane,” said Hamlin, who won Stage 2 and had the dominant car most of the night. “That was the best car I’ve ever had at Vegas. It was really, really good. I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but really encouraged by how we ran.
Busch had to hold off DiBenedetto on two late-race restarts to clinch the win. It was DiBenedetto’s second straight second-place finish at LVMS.
“We had a little different gear than Kurt on those restarts,” DiBenedetto said. “I really wanted to get a win for these guys, and we were so close.”
Hamlin, Truex and Bowman fought their way through traffic at the end to round out the top five positions.