Kyle Busch swept back to back weekends with a win in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The race was delayed nearly two hours by rain but once it started Carl Edwards proved to have the dominate car early leading 124 laps. He would have to battle back from a loose wheel at the end to finish seventh. A loose wheel would also impact Matt Kenseth, who lost a certain top ten finish but still managed to take the checkered flag in 11th. Denny Hamlin also raced inside the top ten much of the night before finishing 12th.
Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota from the 15th position and was able to drive his way into the top ten prior to a lap 30 competition caution. A traffic jam leaving pit road would result in contact by the 48 car to the right rear bumper of the Interstate Batteries Camry. Although the contact wasn’t severe it appeared to affect the handling on Busch’s car as he battled tight handling over the course of the next run. He would run fifth following a round of green flag pit stops on lap 74 and was seventh once the field cycled through a round of stops on lap 113. Despite running well, Crew chief Adam Stevens made the call for bigger changes to help the handling on the Interstate Batteries Toyota and Busch would restart fourth on lap 222. He was up to third with 100 laps to go and managed to move into second just a few laps later. He would line up fourth on a restart with 42 laps remaining and after a big multi-car wreck behind him he was able to restart second with 33 laps remaining. Busch would go to the lead following the restart and held on to the finish to claim the win. It is Busch’s second win in a row in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after winning at Martinsville last week and he has now swept the previous four national NASCAR touring series races to include the Truck Series in Martinsville last week and XFINITY Series here in Texas last night.
Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota on the pole position and held that top spot for the opening 59 laps of the race. Edwards would drop to third following a round of green flag pit stops on lap 74, but raced his way back into second which is where he ran at lap 100. He would run third once the field cycled through on the next round of green flag pit stops on lap 113. A caution would bring the leaders down pit road on lap 137 and the STANLEY crew would put Edwards back out as the leader for the restart. Edwards would pit under caution and lined up second behind his teammate Kenseth for a restart on lap 222. A loose wheel would cause him to drop back and return to pit road for fresh tires resulting in the No. 19 Camry falling a lap down in 19th position. Edwards would get back on the lead lap for a restart with 50 laps remaining. Another restart with 42 laps to go would lead to a big wreck and Edwards would have to come to a complete stop to avoid the multi-car accident. He would line up seventh for a restart with 33 to go and managed to hold that position to the finish.
Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the ninth position and was able to hold a spot in the top ten through the opening green flag run prior to the competition caution on lap 30. The Dollar General crew would put Kenseth out fifth for the restart and he was able to drive his way up to third by lap 50. Kenseth would lead a lap during the day’s first round of green flag pit stops and was running fifth once the field cycled through. He was running fourth at lap 100 and went to second during a round of green flag pit stops on lap 113. He would restart second to his teammate Edwards following a round of stops under caution on lap 137. Kenseth would report that his Camry had turned extremely loose on the next run and he would drop back outside the top five. Kenseth would come down for a green flag pit stop just prior to a caution. He would remain out when the leaders came down pit road allowing him to restart as the leader no lap 222. Kenseth would hold the top spot for the next 19 laps before giving way to the 78. He would drop back to run fourth on the next run before caution brought the leaders back down pit road. The Dollar General Camry was third off pit road but the left rear tire was loose forcing Kenseth back down pit road. That put him back to 13th for the restart with 50 laps remaining. He would restart again from 13th with 33 laps to go and managed to gain two spots to finish 11th.
Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the sixth position and raced inside the top ten prior to a competition caution on lap 30. Hamlin would slow to avoid a traffic jam exiting pit road causing him to restart in 11th. He would battle tight handling conditions on his FedEx Camry over the course of the next green flag run but was able to re-enter the top ten following the night’s first round of green flag stops on lap 74. Hamlin was up to ninth following the next round of green flag pit stops on lap 113 and that is where he continued to run with 100 laps to go. Hamlin would line up seventh for a restart with 42 laps to go. Hamlin would avoid a multi-car wreck following the restart and lined up fourth for another restart with 33 laps remaining. He would have to check up on the restart causing him to lose his momentum and dropping him back to ninth. He would go on to finish 12th.
Kyle Busch captured the win, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in second, Joey Logano third, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions for a total of 41 laps and 17 lead changes among eight different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to short track confines of Bristol Motor Speedway next Sunday. Live coverage on Fox will start Sunday, April 17 at Noon (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.