Kyle Busch Holds Off Kevin Harvick To Win O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 At Texas


By: Camille Jones/TheFourthTurn.com

FORT WORTH, Tex. – Kyle Busch held off a hard-charging Kevin Harvick to earn the win in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Busch, driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota earned his first victory and sixth top-10 of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season after leading 116 laps of the 334-lap race. In the closing laps, Kevin Harvick attempted to chase Busch down, but he came up just short. The win is Busch’s fifth consecutive top-three finish.

“(Winning) means a lot,” said Busch. “It just kind of solidifies your Playoffs and solidifies us in being the points leader and the way we’ve been running this year. My guys were just so good. I can’t say enough about everybody on my team and you know, we’ve just got everything clicking right now. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) does a great job. He leads these guys really really well. We all communicate so well and we do what we need to do inside the hauler to make sure that we have a good race car and get good feedback and things like that to be able to have fast race cars on race day.”

Harvick’s second-place finish was a tough battle after issues on pit road. The driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Busch Light Ford entered the weekend coming off a fifth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway. On Sunday, Harvick started on the outside of the pole and led 87 laps throughout the afternoon. 

“I mean, Kyle had a decent car,” said Harvick. “It’s just in traffic, our car wasn’t as good as it was obviously in clean air. He did a good job of not making any mistakes there at the end and kept his car on the bottom, never gave us an opening to really drive in there and be able to, you know, capitalize on a mistake. He kept his car right on line and did exactly what he needed to do. It was fast enough to be able to keep us back there. My car would slide the front tires. We had some trouble keeping the car on the bottom once I would get close to him. I needed the whole run to capitalize on the full strength of our car, with his car.”

Jamie McMurray claimed the third finishing position on Sunday. The third-place effort marks McMurray’s first top-five and only second top-10 finish of the 2018 season. The driver of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet started the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 in the 24th position.

“Yeah, it was basically just a really good day for us,” said McMurray. “From the start of the race the car was pretty good, especially on the long runs. Then fortunate to miss a lot of wrecks that happened and survived. Then had good pit stops. All around, just a pretty solid day for our team.”

Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney completed the top-five in the finishing order. Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Darrell Wallace Jr., Clint Bowyer and William Byron completed the top-10.

The 500-mile race was plagued with blown tires and pit road penalties. There were 8 cautions for a total of 48 laps. Tire failures took out many heavy-hitters such as Kyle Larson, Martin Truex, Jr. and Ryan Newman.

On lap 179, the caution came out for a seven-car crash that eventually brought out the red flag for 11 minutes and five seconds. The accident began, when Denny Hamlin got loose underneath Aric Almirola in-between Turns 3 and 4. Hamlin spun and collected Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and others.

“Just got loose under the 10 (Aric Almirola),” Hamlin said. “We were kind of getting squeezed there a little bit and there was just – running these speeds, you’ve got to have all the side force that you need.

He was battling beside the 18 (Kyle Busch) I believe and you know we tried to go low and he was trying to fight for that real estate as well and we just got together.”

Kyle Busch currently leads the points standings over Joey Logano by 38 points.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend for the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m. ET. Live coverage will be found on FOX and Performance Racing Network (PRN).

TheFourthTurn.com is a daily motorsports news outlet based in Florence, South Carolina, concentrating on NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws Late Models and much more. On the site, you’ll find unique opinions, original news content, team press releases, breathtaking photos and videos. Be sure to like TheFourthTurn on Facebook and follow @TheFourthTurn on Twitter.

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