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Kurt Busch takes Jordan Brand to victory lane at Kansas | Sports News



KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kurt Busch was slowly driving his Jordan Brand-styled journey towards victory lane at Kansas Speedway on Sunday when automotive proprietor Denny Hamlin stopped him in his tracks, ducked his head by way of the window and mentioned: “We did it.”

Busch survived a weary day of tire attrition, then pinched his well beyond Kyle Larson for the lead with eight laps to go, earlier than driving away from the reigning NASCAR Cup Sequence champion to win for the primary time at Kansas — and provides the up-and-coming 23XI Racing crew owned by Hamlin and NBA nice Michael Jordan its second win ever.

“That’s the most gratifying part, helping these guys win,” Busch mentioned. “It’s all about team work. I don’t do this alone.”

Larson had the dominant automotive, driving the highest line across the mile-and-a-half oval, however Busch was capable of put his Toyota nearly wherever he needed. That paid off when the 2 have been side-by-side with eight to go and Busch squeezed by Larson, who brushed the wall and misplaced simply sufficient momentum to give up the lead — and the win.

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Busch pulled his No. 45 automotive — one of many numbers that Jordan wore throughout his profession — to a cease on the start-finish line and climbed out the window earlier than throwing his arms up in triumph, the acquainted Jumpman emblem splashed throughout his hearth swimsuit.

It was the second win for 23XI after Bubba Wallace triumphed final yr at Talladega, and it got here on the most surprising of occasions; neither of the crew’s drivers had completed within the prime 10 this season.

“You know, we as an organization kind of let these guys down — I’m talking about Bubba and Kurt, all the mistakes we’d made on pit road and whatnot,” Hamlin mentioned. “But lets talk about the positives. I can’t thank Kurt enough. The Jordan Brand’s first race, so jealous he gets to drive that car, and then to have that thing so fast there, yeah, it’s just — I’ve never had this kind of feeling, even for a win for me, much less when I didn’t win. It’s different.”

There have been no exhausting emotions about the way in which Busch raced to the end, both.

“He never got into me. I’m trying to squeeze throttle to get position on him and just got tight,” Larson mentioned. “That was fun racing with Kurt the last half of the race. I was trying hard the whole time.”

No kidding. At one level with 85 to go, Larson went almost sideways whereas racing with Busch for the lead off Flip 2.

“Just hard racing for the win,” Larson mentioned. “I was struggling in traffic a little bit, he was able to get by and from there. I just wanted to hold onto second. Just fought really hard today.”

One of many dominant storylines early within the week was how tires would fare beneath the Subsequent Gen automotive throughout its Kansas debut, particularly after a number of drivers — together with Joey Logano — had issues with their rear taking place in follow.

The issues started once more throughout Sunday’s second stage.

William Byron, who was bumped out of the way in which by Logano in final week’s contentious end at Darlington, was working close to the entrance when his tire went away. Simply as Byron limped down pit street, outdoors pole sitter Tyler Reddick had a rear go down and touched the wall. Martin Truex Jr. had the identical tire drawback on the stage’s remaining lap.

“Our engineers were out talking to everyone who had issues in practice,” mentioned Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing, who had suggested groups previous to the weekend to extend rear air pressures to account for the hundreds.

“We wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the situation.”

Erik Jones had a different tire problem entirely: His team couldn’t get a rear lug nut off. It tried all manner of saws, torches and wrenches to no avail, a tough blow for a Petty GMS Motorsports team hanging outside the playoff fringe.

Kyle Busch, who earlier this week welcomed daughter Lennix Key into the world, managed to avoid the tire trouble and hold off Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott to win the first stage Sunday. His older brother, Kurt, beat him to the line to take the second stage with Elliott again coming across in third.

Then the same tire problem caught up to Elliott, whose rear went down and sent him spinning across the track with 70 laps to go. Elliott was fortunate to keep his No. 9 out of the wall before coming to rest in the muddy infield.

Kyle Busch had hoped to take home a trophy to his new baby girl, which he welcome along with wife Samantha after a long and public battle with infertility. But despite a strong car all day, he wound up settling for third place.

Maybe her uncle can bring that trophy by sometime.

“I finally conquered this track,” Kurt Busch mentioned. “I can’t believe it.”

Christopher Bell parlayed his third pole of the season into a fifth-place finish. Truex bounced back from his tire issue to finish sixth with Chastain, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Alex Bowman and Wallace rounding out the top 10.

Josh Bilicki had the colors of the Ukrainian flag on his No. 77 car for Spire Motorsports to show support of humanitarian efforts going on in the war-torn country. Several cities in Ukraine, including Kyiv and Mariupol, also were incorporated in the paint scheme along with the insignia of the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council.

The series takes a regular-season break before the Coca-Cola 600 and heads to Texas for next weekend’s All-Star race.

Extra AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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