Kyle Busch Prevails Over Kyle Larson After Trading Paint In Epic Finish At Chicagoland


By: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com

JOLIET, Ill. – After trading paint with Kyle Larson on the final lap of the Overton’s 400, Kyle Busch captured the victory at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.

On the final lap, Larson attempted a slide job on Busch in Turn 2. Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Skittles Red White & Blue Toyota bounced off the wall, but he still kept pace. As the two drivers entered Turn 3, Busch was able to get to the rear of Larson’s car in Turn 4 to send him sideways. Busch bounced off the wall and limped to the checkered flag to win his fifth win of the season. He led 59 laps en route to the victory.

“It was a lot more hectic than I wanted it to be,” Busch said about the finish. “Those lapped cars just got in our way and slowed us down so much that we just had no momentum. Finally I got through a couple of them. Larson just threw a dart there in Turn 1 and 2 and tried to pull a slide job. I don’t think he was close enough. He didn’t get enough clear on me to be able to slide. And when he got to me, he throttled up and drove us in the wall. And going down the backstretch, I lost all of my momentum. I tried to side-draft him as much as I could to keep him alongside of me. He cleared me and I gave him what he gave me back into Turn 3 and 4. And I was able to come back and get ahead. Adam Stevens (crew chief) did a great job today and turned this into something we could go race with at the end.” 

Although Larson spun through Turn 4, he held on to finish second in his Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet. Larson passed by Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick to reach Busch in the closing laps. He was really making a ton of ground on the extreme high groove just inches from the wall. The runner-up finish marks Larson’s sixth top-five finish of the season. After the epic finish, Larson wasn’t the slightest bit upset of the way that he and Busch raced each other.

“Oh man, I’m not upset,” Larson said. “I had an opportunity there to slide in front of him and I figured I wouldn’t clear him or I would allow him to drive back underneath me.  So, I tried to get to his door and you know I opened the door for him to retaliate into (Turn) 3.  I thought it was free game.  I ran into him first, he got me after that, maybe a little bit worse than I got him, but that is alright.  I love racing Kyle (Busch).  I know all these fans are probably mad at him, but hey we put on a hell of a show for you guys and that was a blast.  I had the top rolling there.  I ran the right front off of it a little bit trying to run those guys down and (seeing the replay) yeah, that has got to be one of the best NASCAR finishes of all time.  I know I’m on the short end of the stick again, but you know it was fun.”

Harvick finished third after leading 39 laps throughout the afternoon. He just barely edged his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Clint Bowyer to win Stage 2. While Harvick didn’t have anything for Busch or Larson at the end of the day, he was extremely quick all race long.

“Our car was just off all weekend,” Harvick said. “We had a tough time making the front end turn and then we would wind up way too tight, all the way through the corner or way too loose all the way through the corner. The guys did a good job and kept us in the game all day. We had a chance, we just wound up at the wrong side of it at the end.”

Truex Jr. and Bowyer finished fourth and fifth respectively. Rounding out the top-10 was Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin who rebounded from a late-race spin, Team Penske’s Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski and Alex Bowman.

There were 24 lead changes among 10 drivers on Sunday. Aric Almirola won Stage 1 and led a race high of 70 laps.

The caution flag only flew for on five occasions. Two cautions were for the end of Stages 1 and 2, one was for debris and then a caution flew for Denny Hamlin spinning down the backstretch on lap 178 and another for the slowing of Corey LaJoie’s car on lap 209.

Busch leads Harvick in the standings by 62 points.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will visit Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 7 for the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on NBC and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 7 p.m. ET.

 

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