NO LIMITS, TX — It was a win sweeter than Skittles and M&M’s for Kyle Busch at Texas Motor Speedway after coming up just short in the previous four races this season. Busch would have to hold off the hard-charging No. 4 of Kevin Harvick, who had overcome being a lap down and multiple issues on pit road, to get the win in the 2018 O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.
Three 2nd places finishes and a 3rd place finish in the previous four races would be enough to make most drivers smile. Not Kyle Busch though, as he had expressed his frustration in the previous two races after missing out on victory lane.
“Actually those are long weeks, he’s upset afterward’s!” said team owner Joe Gibbs chuckling after being asked of Kyle’s frustrations coming so close to victory. “I think you know, during the week there we have our competition meetings, and Adam does a good job. I think Kyle has a lot of confidence in Adam and our team. But it is frustrating when you feel like second sometimes is so hard and then when you have several of those it kinda builds up.”
Early on it looked like things might repeat themselves for Busch as Harvick looked to once again be the driver to beat after cruising to a dominating stage one victory. However, trouble in the pits after a lugnut got lodged in Harvick’s jack; loose tire issues would hinder the No. 4 team throughout stage two. This left the door wide open for Kyle Busch, who took the lead from his brother Kurt in with just three laps to go in stage two to capture the stage win.
The ebbs and flow of the cautions would allow Harvick to overcome being a lap down. On the final restart after the eighth caution of the day, with only 24 laps to go, it was Kyle Bush in the lead taking the inside lane and Kevin Harvick in 2nd on the outside lane.
Busch would get the jump on the restart, but Harvick hung close, ready to make his move if Kyle made even the slightest mistake. With ten laps to go, Busch had just a half second lead on Harvick, who was still hunting, but the mistake never came, and Busch grabbed his first win of the season.
After the win, team owner Joe Gibbs brought the crew together to share a moment, which he, in turn, shared with the media.
“Everybody back at our shop is what makes us as strong as we are. So when we get a chance after a victory like that, I like to get the guys together. We have a little prayer, and just thank the Lord for having a great day and letting us do something that’s so exciting. Most people around the world never get to have a day like this, never even have enough to eat. And here we are getting to have fun and race cars. So, were, just thankful.”
As leadership starts at the top, it trickles down the ladder and that shined through early in the day at Texas Motor Speedway. Before the race even started, Gibbs driver, Kyle Busch, had already notched a life victory after making a dream come true for a child from the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“It was an awesome opportunity for Stanley. I really want to thank all the guys from Stanley Racing and all the guys from Daniel Suarez’s team. They had a child on the grid with us and a couple of the drivers, with me being one. It was really impactful to meet him and talk to him for a few minutes and get a chance to hear his story a little bit.”
Being one of NASCAR’s “bad boys,” Busch even found a way to throw a bit of that humor into his experience.
“Then we walked the intro stage and, not sure if he got all the cheers, I’m definitely sure I got all the boos. So, you know, it felt really good to just kinda make his day for five minutes.”
With victories all around for Kyle Busch on Sunday, capturing his third career victory at Texas Motor Speedway was icing on the cake. Busch also claimed the points lead with the win, taking a 38 point lead over Joey Logano back in 2nd.