FORT WORTH, Texas — Kyle Busch got off pit road first during the final caution of the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday with 21 laps to go and drove away from Martin Truex Jr. and the rest of the race field to claim his 26th-career win.
“We’ve had a great start to this season, and it feels good to keep this roll going,” Busch said.
Truex finished second. It was his sixth runner-up finish since he last won at Dover International Speedway in 2007, 209 races ago.
“We definitely had a car capable of winning,” Truex said. “I’m getting tired of finishing second. Man, this is getting old.”
Carl Edwards finished third after multiple issues throughout the race that included a miss in the engine and a loose seatbelt late in the event.
“Third place is like a win tonight,” Edwards said.
Greg Biffle was fourth, and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Finishing sixth through 10th were Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers in a substitute role for Denny Hamlin, Brade Keselowski and Ryan Newman.
Busch put on a dominating performance en route to the win, leading 170 of the 334 laps that made up the race. It completed a Texas sweep after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the track the night before.
“Dave Rogers (crew chief) and these guys gave me a great race car,” Busch said. “We ran up front all race long.”
The brothers Busch — Kyle and Kurt — had a front row view for the waving of the green flag in the NRA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Younger brother Kyle Busch started on the pole, while older brother Kurt starting alongside in second.
When the green flag waved, Kurt Busch lost a few laps in the early going, while Kyle Busch drove out to a fairly commanding lead. By Lap 10, Kyle Busch had built up a lead of about two seconds over Martin Truex Jr.
He didn’t maintain the lead for much longer, though, as Truex got out in front of him on the restart to take the lead, just in time to see the caution come out again for an incident between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon.
Stenhouse brought out another caution on lap 81 when his car began smoking soon after returning to the race track.
While Busch maintained his lead, Jeff Gordon began losing spots, including second to Truex. Just as he did earlier, Busch pulled away from the field again.
By the time the race field cycled through green flag pit stops just before lap 130, Busch was out to a 2.8-second lead over Gordon, who had gotten back by Truex for second during the pit cycle.
That cushion was erased by a yellow flag that came out for debris a few laps later on lap 149.
Unlike before, Busch was unable to pull away to a sizable lead. On Lap 189, after a few laps of side-by-side racing, Gordon was able to overtake Busch and the lead.
Almost simultaneously, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made an unscheduled pit stop because of a battery issue. As a result he dropped from third in the running order to two laps down. He went two more laps down serving a penalty for speeding on pit road on his initial stop.
At the lap 200 mark, the field cycled through green flag pit stops again. When the cycle was complete, Gordon found he had lost two positions — the lead to Truex and second to Busch.
One final cycle of green flag pit stops got underway with about 60 laps remaining, but before the cycle was completed, the yellow flag waved for the sixth time in the race when Jeff Burton made contact with Mark Martin and hit the wall with 54 laps to go.
Truex looked to be comfortably riding around in front when a caution came out for debris with 21 laps to go. Busch, with the advantage of having the first pit stall on pit road, was able to get off pit road ahead of Truex to restart first.
“It happened a few times to us last year,” Truex said of giving up a late-race lead on pit road. “The race was over when we lost the lead in the pits.”
When the race went back to green, Busch pulled away up front, as Truex pulled away from Edwards. But Edwards could get very far out in front of his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Greg Biffle.
NOTES: The NRA 500 was Kyle Busch’s 300th-career Sprint Cup Series start. … Saturday’s Texas race was the 500th NASCAR national level race for Jimmie Johnson. … Saturday’s race was the first night race of the season and only the second 500-mile event of the year. … Kyle Busch claimed his sixth win at Texas in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition on Friday night. … Kyle Busch’s pole winning lap of 27.509 seconds was a TMS record qualifying lap. … Joey Logano’s No. 22 Penske Racing Ford was so late getting to the starting grid that it was still going through inspection during the singing of the National Anthem and was at the gas pumps during the command to fire engines.