Kyle Busch, driving the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, drove to victory for the 20th Annual Duck Commander 500 in the first night race of the Sprint Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. Ky. Busch took the lead away from Martin Truex Jr., who had led a race high of 141 laps, on the final restart on lap 302 leading the closing laps of the 334 scheduled laps without a challenge.
Ky. Busch scores his 36th career victory in 397 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and his second victory of the 2016 season with his first last weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Ky. Busch completed 800 miles this weekend at TMS once again completing the weekend sweep for the second consecutive time in one week. It has been 21 days since any other driver has won in the top three NASCAR touring series.
“Just communication, just talking about it and keep making changes to our racecar to keep trying to make it better,” said Ky. Busch about his fourth victory in the past week. “This Interstate Batteries Camry was fast and had really good speed…my guys did a great job, Adam (Stevens, crew chief of the #18) made some great adjustments all night long, I think the racetrack kept coming to us as the night progressed as well too.”
Ky. Busch used fresher tires to make the pass on race leader Truex Jr., who arguably had the best car of the race, on the restart on lap 301 to claim the sweep of both NASCAR races at TMS, completing his record ninth weekend sweep in the NASCAR touring series. Truex Jr. downfall came about by miss communication between himself and crew chief Cole Pearn when on the sixth caution the field behind the #78 Toyota came down pit road for fresh tires.
As the field returned to green Truex Jr. drove away from the field but within three laps the caution would return when Austin Dillon, who stayed out on older tires, was getting shuffled through the field when Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson closed in quickly on the #3 Chevrolet. Dillon got loose as Hamlin closed on him, causing the #3 Chevrolet to slid across the front bumper of Johnson’s car with the two making contact.
Both Johnson and Dillon’s cars were sideways, Johnson was able to save the #48 Chevrolet whereas Dillon’s went into the outer wall before careening back into oncoming traffic. When the cars came to rest a total of 13 cars were involved in the incident, including both of Dillon’s Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard and Ryan Newman.
A visibly upset Truex Jr., who finished sixth, said, “It’s frustrating, but that’s racing. We did everything we were supposed to do except for that one deal, there.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second, followed by Joey Logano in third, Johnson in fourth and Chase Elliott in fifth. Sixth through tenth are as follows: Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.
The start time for Saturday night’s race was delayed by an hour, 50 minutes for rain earlier in the evening as the Air Titans went to work drying the track. When the race began at for the first night race of the Sprint Cup season it was under caution for the first 5 laps with some jet-dryers still on the high banked, 1.5 mile track, temperatures had dipped into the upper 50s.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series race will head to Bristol Motor Speedway for short track racing at its best with the Food City 500 scheduled for Sunday, April 17 with coverage on Fox beginning at 1 p.m. Qualifying for the event will be on Friday, April 15 with coverage on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 4 p.m.