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Kyle Busch Sweeps Texas!

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.

Kyle Busch Wins at Martinsville!

Kyle Busch dominated this afternoon at Martinsville Speedway leading 352 laps en route to his first victory of the season in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ STP 500. Meanwhile Carl Edwards battled back from a lap down to finish sixth, while Matt Kenseth finished 15th and an accident left Denny Hamlin back in 39th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota from the seventh position but was fast from the outset driving his way to the front by lap 32. Busch would hold the lead through the opening round of pit stops on lap 93. He would relinquish the lead shortly after the restart to the 4 car but the change only lasted a few laps as Busch went back to the front and held the top spot until giving way to his teammate Kenseth on lap 132. He would get that lead back shortly after a restart on lap 148 before giving way again and running third on lap 200. Busch would restart second on lap 227 and was the leader when the race reached the halfway point. He would continue to lead when the afternoon’s next caution came out on lap 312. He would restart second to Kenseth on lap 321 but quickly returned to the lead with 150 to go. Busch continued a dominant afternoon restarting as the leader with 110 laps to go. A final caution with 15 laps remaining left the leaders with a decision and the M&M’S team made the call to remain out on the track. Busch managed to do the rest from there pulling away from the field on the restart with 11 laps to go and holding on to take the checkered flag. The win essentially assures the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion place in this year’s Chase.

Carl Edwards qualified the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the 25th position but didn’t have the handling needed early on in the race to drive his way forward. He would fall a lap down to the leaders on the first long green flag run of the afternoon. Edwards restarted 33rd following the afternoon’s first round of pit stops on lap 93. He was up to 26th at lap 130 and was running 20th at lap 175 as he battled for the lucky dog position to try and get back on the lead lap. With the handling much improved on his ARRIS Camry, he would restart 17th as the first car a lap down on lap 227. Unfortunately by the time the caution came out on lap 312 Edwards was no longer in the lucky dog position. He would restart once again as the first car a lap down on lap 321. The caution would finally fall his way with 117 laps to go and the 19 team would receive the lucky dog designation to restart back on the lead lap. He lined up 16th with 110 to go and was running 13th with 50 laps remaining. A final caution would bring Edwards down pit road for fresh tires and he would restart eighth with 11 laps to go. The ARRIS Toyota would come home with a solid sixth-place finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the ninth position and was able to drive his way into the top five over the course of the opening long green flag run. Kenseth was running fifth when a caution on lap 91 brought the leaders down pit road. He would restart third on lap 98 and held that spot through the restart before settling in to run second behind his teammate Busch on the next green flag run. Kenseth would move around the 18 for his first lead of the day on lap 132. The Dollar General Camry proved not to be as strong on the short runs as some others this afternoon and he would give the lead back to his teammate Busch on lap 147 shortly after the field restarted from another caution. He would run second at lap 200. Kenseth restarted as the leader following a caution on lap 227 and was running second at lap 250. He was running third when the afternoon’s next caution came out on lap 312. A great stop by the Dollar General crew would allow Kenseth to restart as the leader on lap 321. He would drop a couple spots to run third at lap 150 and restarted from the third position with 110 to go. Kenseth continued to run second through the final round of pit stops and lined up on the outside of his teammate Busch for a final restart with just 11 laps to go. Unfortunately the outside line proved problematic on restarts all afternoon and Kenseth was unable to make his way down into the low line causing him to drop from second to 15th at the finish. It was a disappointing finish for Kenseth who raced in the top five all afternoon and led three different times for a total of 45 laps.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota from the eighth position but didn’t quite have the handling to drive forward at the outset of the race. Hamlin held firm inside the top ten through the first 91 laps before a caution brought the leaders down pit road. NASCAR ruled that Hamlin sped on pit road forcing him to the back of the lead lap cars which left him to restart 18th on lap 98. The FedEx Camry would return to the top ten by lap 150 and was running eighth at lap 200. Hamlin was running fifth when he would get loose on lap 221 and slid up into the outside wall causing damage to the right side of his FedEx Camry. He would drive it to the garage where it was determined that the damage was too severe to repair. He would be scored in 39th for the day.

Kyle Busch captured the win, with AJ Almendinger second, Kyle Larson third, Austin Dillon fourth and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions for a total of 51 laps and 11 lead changes among five different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway next week for the season’s first Saturday night race. Live coverage on Fox will start Saturday, April 9 with begin at 7 PM (race starts at 7:30 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Race Report: Auto Club

It was a hard fought battle at Auto Club Speedway in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Auto Club 400. All four JGR teams would battle through adversity with Denny Hamlin leading the team with a third-place finish. Carl Edwards took the checkered flag in seventh, while two late pit road penalties left Kenseth back in 19th and a flat tire with just two laps remaining dropped Kyle Busch from an almost certain second-place finish to 25th.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota from the third position and proved without a doubt to have one of the fastest cars on the track today as the team would battle back from not one, but two penalties that put them at the back of the field. The first penalty was for pitting prior to pit road being open on lap 26 and the second was a pit road speeding penalty on lap 83. Both times Hamlin would have to drop to the back of the field. But the Sport Clips team was resilient on this day and Hamlin would race his way back into contention. A late caution would bring the field back down pit road for a final pit stop prior to a green-white-checker finish. The Sport Clips crew would make the four-tire change and put Hamlin back out first for the final restart. Hamlin would choose the outside line, but unfortunately the bottom line would come together better on the restart with the 48 pushing the 4 car out to the front. The 48 would eventually make a final pass on the 4 for the win, and Hamlin was left back in the third position at the finish line. It was an amazing finish despite the earlier setbacks in the race.

Carl Edwards qualified the No. 19 Subway Toyota in the fifth position and was fast throughout the afternoon as he raced inside the top five for the majority of the afternoon. Edwards would get penalized by NASCAR for speeding on pit road on lap 124 forcing him to the back of the field. But Edwards and the Subway team was far from done on this afternoon as he drove his way back toward the front of the field and in contention to win the race. Edwards was back up into second late before a late caution brought all the teams down pit road one final time to set up a green-white-checker finish. Edwards would restart fifth but was caught in the wrong line on the restart and had to settle for a seventh-place finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 DEWALT Toyota in the 20th position but was fast from the outset entering the top ten just 10 laps into the 200-lap battle. Kenseth would race his way into the top five by the 50-lap mark and he would spend the majority of the afternoon racing for the lead. Tire wear was a major issue for many teams on this afternoon and Kenseth would feel a potential flat tire with just over 50 laps remaining. He would come down pit road on lap 149 for a four-tire change, but was ruled too fast entering the pits forcing him to the back of the field. He would work his way back toward the top 15 but NASCAR ruled the team had a uncontrolled tire on the final pit stop prior to a green-white-checker finish. Kenseth would once again be sent to the back of the lead lap cars and once again he would battle back to earn a 19th-place finish.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota from the sixth position and quickly gained a spot to race the top five early on in this 200-lap battle. Shortly thereafter Busch would report loose handling conditions and a possible tire issue. Instead of taking a chance early in the race the team would make the decision to bring Busch down pit road for fresh tires on lap 19. The unscheduled stop pushed the No. 18 Camry back to 38th, but he was able to quickly race his way back onto the lead lap on the fresh tires before a caution on lap 26. From there he was able to slowly make his way back toward the front of the field and was back inside the top ten for a restart on lap 54. He would battle inside the top five for much of the remainder of the afternoon and was running second with just two laps to go when his right front tire blew. Busch would have to bring the M&M’S Camry down pit road for fresh tires and restart from the back of the lead lap cars. He would race his way back to 25th at the finish.

Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports captured the win, with Kevin Harvick second, Hamlin third, Joey Logano fourth and Ricky Stenhouse rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 33 laps and 26 lead changes among eight different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes a week off before returning on April 2 on the short track of Martinsville Speedway. Live coverage on Fox Sports 1 will start Sunday, April 2 at Noon (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Race Report: Phoenix

It was a strong day for Joe Gibbs Racing at Phoenix International Raceway with all four teams earning a spot in the top seven of today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Good Sam 500k.

Carl Edwards led JGR finishing just .010 seconds behind race winner Kevin Harvick, while Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were close behind in third and fourth respectively, and Matt Kenseth earned a seventh-place finish.

Carl Edwards qualified the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the second position and settled in that position behind his teammate Busch through the opening green flag run. Edwards would continue to run second until a tremendous pit stop by the 19 crew allowed him to restart from the lead on lap 113. He would continue to lead through the next caution and round of pit stops. Edwards would run second on lap 175 and continued to run in that position with 100 laps remaining. A caution with 87 laps remaining would bring the field down pit road once again and once again the STANLEY crew delivered with an impressive stop that gave the lead back to Edwards for the restart on lap 234. The 4 car would manage to get around the 19 on the restart and Edwards settled back in to race second. A final caution with four laps remaining would leave the leaders with a final big decision to make and crew chief Dave Rogers made the call to bring the STANLEY Camry down pit road for two fresh tires. He would restart fourth but quickly moved into second behind the leader Kevin Harvick. Harvick was still on older tires and Edwards was the faster car at this point. He would catch Harvick on the final lap and the two would make contact coming to the finish line. They would end side by side in a photo finish that showed Harvick barely edging out Edwards by just .010 seconds. The finish is the closest in Cup Series history at Phoenix.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the third position and raced inside the top five throughout the opening green flag run. NASCAR would issue the team a penalty for an uncontrolled tire during the day’s first round of pit stops under caution on lap 53. That penalty forced Hamlin to the back of the field for the ensuing restart. He would battle his way back inside the top 20 and was running 16th on lap 116. He would run 13th when another caution came out on lap 163. Hamlin would climb back into the top ten on lap 178. A caution with 87 laps remaining would bring the field back down pit road and the FedEx crew would deliver putting him back out eighth for the restart on lap 234. Hamlin would use the restart to gain two more spots and was running fifth with 70 laps remaining. A final caution with four laps remaining would leave the leaders with one last decision and Hamlin joined his teammates by coming down pit road for a two-tire change. He would restart sixth but managed to gain three more spots before the checkered flag to bring his FedEx Camry home in third.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota from the pole position and was fast from the drop of the green flag to start the race. Busch would lead the opening open 74 laps of the race. The Skittles team would elect to make a two-tire change on the first round of pit stops following a caution on lap 53 and the 18 car was able to maintain its spot out front for the next 15 laps or so before having to relinquish the lead to those who took four tires. Busch had dropped back to fourth on the next run but a tremendous pit stop by the Skittles crew put him back on the front row for the ensuing restart on lap 113. The Skittles Camry would continue to run second prior to the next caution on lap 163 but he would fall back to 16th for the next restart after overshooting his pit box. He would quickly gain ground to run 12th at lap 180 and was back into the top ten by lap 185. Busch was up to eighth with 100 laps to go. A caution with 87 laps remaining would bring the field back down pit road and the Skittles crew would put him back out fourth for the restart on lap 234. He would gain one spot on the restart to run third. A caution with four laps remaining would leave the leaders with a final decision and Busch joined his teammates by coming down pit road for a two-tire change. He would restart fifth and gained one spot over the course of the green-white-checker finish to cross the line in fourth.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the sixth position and was able to run inside the top ten for the first third of the race. He would get caught up in traffic during a restart on lap 113 forcing him to back out of a three-wide situation to avoid an accident as he battled a tight handling race car. Kenseth was running 15th at the halfway mark and was 14th with 100 laps remaining as he and the team worked to improve the handling on his No. 20 Camry. A caution with 87 laps remaining would bring the field back down pit road and the Dollar General crew put him out 12th for the restart on lap 234. Kenseth was running 11th when the day’s final caution came out. The team would bring him down pit road for two tires and Kenseth lined up 10th for the green-white-checker restart. He was able to gain three spots over those final two laps to earn a seventh-place finish.

Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing captured the win just inches in front of Edwards, with Hamlin third, Kyle Busch fourth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top five. There were five cautions for a total of 30 laps and seven lead changes among four different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series remains out west for the final leg of the three-race west coast swing next Sunday with a trip to Auto Club Speedway. Live coverage on Fox will start Sunday, March 20 at 3 PM ET (race starts at 3:30 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Race Report: Las Vegas

A wild weather day that included a little rain, heavy winds and even sand storms ended with Kyle Busch leading Joe Gibbs Racing with a fourth-place finish during today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Meanwhile Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin finished 18th and 19th respectively, while a late race accident left Matt Kenseth back in 37th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota from the 23rd position but patiently worked his way toward the front at his home track as he moved into the top 15 prior to a competition caution on lap 31. Busch would enter the top ten for the first time shortly after the restart. The heavy winds would add to the challenge of finding the proper handle on the racecar, but crew chief Adam Stevens would continue to make adjustments to help the M&M’S Camry turn better in the corners. He would line up sixth for a restart on lap 223 and used an amazingly aggressive move first to the top of the track and then to the bottom to vault his way into the lead. He would go on to lead the next 38 laps of the race. As the laps began to wind down Busch would radio in to his team that the car had become tight and he was experiencing a significant vibration that might indicate he had a tire going down. With just five laps remaining Busch would have to give up the lead to the No. 2 car of Brad Keselowski and he would drop back a couple more spots over the final laps to finish the day in fourth.

Carl Edwards qualified the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the 24th position but an accident during the second round of qualifying Friday evening left the team no choice but to bring out the backup car resulting in a start from the back of the field. Edwards wasted no time however in making his way through all the traffic as he was up to 30th by lap 15. He would continue his climb through the field and shortly after lap 100 he would find himself racing in the top 10. Edwards was racing in the top 10 late when he would get spun from behind while checking up to avoid an accident in front of him on lap 226. The No. 19 ARRIS Camry would come down pit road and the loss of track position would prove costly as Edwards lined up back in 22nd for the restart. He would gain four spots prior the checkered flag to finish 18th.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the ninth position and was running in the top ten prior to a lap 32 competition caution. Crew chief Mike Wheeler would make the call for two tires on the first change of the day allowing the FedEx Camry to restart first. Hamlin managed to make the most out of the track position for a few laps at least. He would lead 10 total laps before the older two tires began to prove detrimental. Hamlin would end up falling back outside the top ten on the ensuing green flag run. He would battle tight conditions for much of the remainder of the afternoon while racing for a spot inside the top 15. Hamlin would go on to finish the race in 18th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 DEWALT Toyota in the third position and was strong throughout the day. He would get the opportunity to lead for a total of nine laps just past the 200-lap mark of the race. Kenseth was running fifth on lap 225 when he was spun and then took a hard hit from the 24 car. It was a disappointing finish to an otherwise strong afternoon for the DEWALT team. Kenseth would have to take the car to the garage and his day was over. He would be scored back in 37th position for the day.

Brad Keselowski of Penske Racing captured the win, followed by Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 26 laps and 20 lead changes among 10 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series remain out west next Sunday with a trip to Phoenix International Raceway. Live coverage on Fox will start Sunday, March 13 at 2 PM ET (race starts at 2:30 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.