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Kyle Busch wins race sponsored by Busch on his birthday at Kansas

Nick Bromberg
·6-min read
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Kyle Busch won the Buschy McBusch Race. On his birthday.

Busch, who turned 36 on Sunday, got his first win of 2021 by taking the lead on a two-lap restart from Ryan Blaney and driving away from the rest of the field in the Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas.

Blaney almost spun out on the penultimate lap. He was getting a push from Kyle Larson after the restart and his car almost spun around. That almost-spin put Larson in the wall and lost Blaney a ton of momentum. And it allowed Busch to race away with the win unchallenged. 

The win is the second for Busch on his birthday. He won in 2009 at Richmond when he turned 24.

Busch has won 43 Cup Series races and two Cup championships since his 24th birthday as he's established himself as one of the best — and maybe the best — drivers in NASCAR. It's his second win at Kansas and also makes him the 10th winner in the first 11 races of the 2021 Cup Series season.

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - MAY 02: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Mix Toyota, takes a bow after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 02, 2021 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch won on his 36th birthday. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Busch now has a win in each of the last 17 seasons. No driver in modern NASCAR history has won races in more consecutive seasons than Busch. He broke a tie with Jimmie Johnson on Sunday and is now tied with David Pearson for the second-most consecutive seasons with a win. If and when Busch wins Cup Series races in 2022 and 2023, he will break Richard Petty's record of 18 consecutive seasons with a win.

The win comes amid a tumultuous week for the Busch family. Busch's wife Samantha announced earlier in the week that their recent attempts at having a second child were unsuccessful. The Busch family has been very open about their infertility struggles and started a foundation to help other couples experiencing the same issues. 

"You talk about ups and downs of racing, there's been a lot of downs of life for us," Busch said of the couple's efforts to have a second child after he got out of the car.

Busch said after winning Saturday's Truck Series race that he hadn't considered not racing over the weekend. Their son, Brexton, turns 6 later this year.

“Just being able to have Brexton and the miracle that he is," Busch said Saturday night. "For all the struggles that we’ve had so far, the biggest thing that we don’t take for granted for sure is Brexton and the miracle of him."

Delayed caution for stranded tire changes race

Larson had the race in hand with 53 laps to go. And he lost that grip on the race 15 laps later.

Tyler Reddick's pit crew let a tire escape from their pit box during a green-flag pit stop with 53 to go. The tire rolled across pit road and came to a stop in the infield grass. Since teams were in the midst of green-flag pit stops and an immediate yellow would have jumbled the running order, NASCAR waited until there were 38 laps to go and everyone had pitted to throw a caution.

There ended up being three more cautions in the final 38 laps. The ensuing four restarts completely changed the race and allowed Busch to sneak away with the win.

NASCAR's reasoning makes sense independent of the race's factors. The sanctioning body typically waits until green-flag stops cycle through in a case like this. So it was consistent. And NASCAR said that it needed to retrieve the tire at some point anyway.

Here's where that reasoning falls apart. NASCAR waiting over 28% of the remaining race to throw the caution for the tire. The chance to retrieve the tire was coming when the race was over or at the next caution. The tire was not going to sit in the infield for hours.

It's also hard to explain how a tire sitting in the infield grass isn't a safety hazard during green-flag pit stops but is a safety hazard after everyone's pitted. If it's not enough of a threat to call an immediate caution, is it enough of a threat to call a caution at all? 

NASCAR has based its present appeal at intermediate tracks on exciting restarts. After all, the upcoming All-Star Race at Texas features six stages for six starts and restarts. A caution for the tire creates a restart — or in this case four — to potentially create a highlight-worthy moment. 

And, ironically enough, it creates more danger. Since the cars are purposely bunched up on restarts, there are more opportunities for crashes in the laps immediately after restarts. That bore out on Sunday as two of the three restarts following the tire caution were for crashes between multiple cars immediately after restarts. 

Denny Hamlin is fast and doesn't win again

Denny Hamlin is going to win a race sometime soon. That's what we keep saying, anyway.

The Cup Series points leader got the lead from Kyle Larson after the tire caution. But he soon became the cause of the next caution after he hit the wall while trying to stay ahead of Larson. That wall contact caused a cut tire and Hamlin blew a right-front tire with 23 laps to go. 

Hamlin's day wasn't exactly ruined, however. He was able to stay on the lead lap and ended up finishing 12th thanks to the multiple restarts at the end of the race. 

Hamlin's incredibly large points lead also stays the same. He has an 87-point lead over teammate Martin Truex Jr. through the first 11 races of the season.

Race results

1. Kyle Busch

2. Kevin Harvick

3. Brad Keselowski

4. Matt DiBenedetto

5. Chase Elliott

6. Martin Truex Jr.

7. Tyler Reddick

8. Chris Buescher

9. William Byron

10. Austin Dillon

11. Daniel Suarez

12. Denny Hamlin

13. Michael McDowell

14. Ross Chastain

15. Kurt Busch

16. Ryan Newman

17. Joey Logano

18. Alex Bowman

19. Kyle Larson

20. Chase Briscoe

21. Ryan Blaney

22. Austin Cindric

23. Anthony Alfredo

24. Cole Custer

25. Erik Jones

26. Bubba Wallace

27. Corey LaJoie

28. Christopher Bell

29. Aric Almirola

30. Justin Haley

31. BJ McLeod

32. Ryan Preece

33. Garrett Smithley

34. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

35. Joey Gase

36. Cody Ware

37. Quin Houff

38. Matt Mills

39. Josh Bilicki

Points standings

1. Denny Hamlin, 481 points

2. Martin Truex Jr., 394

3. William Byron, 385

4. Joey Logano, 373

5. Ryan Blaney, 370

6. Brad Keselowski, 366

7. Chase Elliott, 349

8. Kevin Harvick, 348

9. Kyle Larson, 337

10. Kyle Busch, 330

11. Austin Dillon, 295

12. Christopher Bell, 292

13. Michael McDowell, 268

14. Alex Bowman, 260

15. Chris Buescher, 258

16. Matt DiBenedetto, 250

17. Kurt Busch, 238

18. Tyler Reddick, 232

18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 232

20. Ryan Newman, 219

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