By AMANDA VINCENT
Kyle Busch joined Jimmie Johnson as a 2016 multi-race winner Saturday night with his second win of the season in the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The win was Busch’s second straight at the Cup level, adding to his win the previous weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It also capped off his second-straight two-race weekend sweep after he won the Xfinity Series race at TMS on Friday night and won both the Camping World Truck Series and Sprint Cup races at Martinsville.
“It’s pretty darn good. I’ll tell you that,” Busch said. “I’ve got a great wife, a great son, and I’m having a blast, living the dream with Adam Stevens (crew chief) and these guys, and Joe (Gibbs, car owner), and J.D. (Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing co-chairman), thinking about you guys back at home, and of course, Coy (Gibbs, JGR COO) is here with us. Everybody back at the shop has been building great race cars. They’ve been doing a great job for us.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second after getting by Joey Logano for the position with nine laps remaining. Logano wound up third, while Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five.
“We finished up there where we should have,” Earnhardt said. “We need a win. We’d love a win. I know our fans want a win really bad. Trust me, man, we’re working really hard and running great every week. Hopefully, that’s fun for everyone to watch. I had a blast inside the car — a lot of sliding around sideways and good, hard racing. We’ll go to the next one, I guess, and try again.”
Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards spent the most time up front in the race that began nearly two hours later than originally scheduled because of rain. Truex led a race-high 141 laps, while Edwards led 124 laps of the 334-lap race. Truex wound up sixth and Edwards seventh.
Edwards fell off the pace and then made a pit stop for a loose wheel a handful of laps after a restart following a lap 211 caution. As a result, he fell off the lead lap, but got back on the lead lap during a later caution.
Earnhardt, Johnson and Matt Kenseth pitted under green just before that lap-211 yellow flag. Kenseth was able to remain on the lead lap, but Johnson and Earnhardt didn’t. Both got right back on the lead lap, though, Earnhardt courtesy of the free pass because he was the first driver a lap down at the time of caution. Johnson, meanwhile, took a wave around to get back on the lead lap. Since Kenseth remained on the lead lap, he inherited the race lead when everyone else headed for pit road under yellow.
“We got a little behind and got caught on pit road on that one caution,” Earnhardt said. “We had a fast car, probably good enough to win. Martin probably had the best car, but the best car doesn’t always win.”
Truex got by Kenseth to retake the lead with 98 laps remaining. After staying out during the final two yellow flags of the race, Truex was overtaken by Busch on the final restart that followed a caution that came out for a multi-car wreck with 40 laps remaining.
“We just ran out of tires, you know,” Truex said. “Made it through (turns) one and two side-by-side, got to three and just didn’t have the grip. Then, we fell back because we were sliding around. Everybody had new tires. We ran under caution for a long time; they keep building air pressure and losing grip. Pretty big disadvantage, but can’t say enough about the guys for the race car they brought here and the weekend we had. It hurts. It’s happened a few times to me here. Hurts a little bit, but we’ll get over it and we’ll move on and we’ll take the positives out of it tonight.”
Busch, along with several others, also stayed out during the final caution, but he still had newer tires than Truex, having pitted during the previous caution.
“We had, like, two-cycled, three-lap scuffs right there to Martin’s two-cycled, six-lap scuffs,” Busch said. “The restart was going to be key. If I could just get out in front of him, I knew I could protect the rest of the race. They had a good restart, but we got a better one, and I just had to get up on his door. He chose the inside and the inside has been winning the race all night long, but this time on the last restart, it finally prevailed for us.”
Finishing eighth through 10th were Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.
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