Kyle Busch continued his impressive run of form, taking victory at Texas Motor Speedway to score his second double, Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, victory of the year.
Busch drove a very strong race, fighting off stiff competition from Martin Truex and Jeff Gordon throughout the race into the night.
“It’s not a bad way to celebrate it [300th Sprint Cup start],” said Busch, “sitting on the pole with a new track record and going to victory lane. Man, it wouldn’t be possible without such a great team, led by Dave Rogers, and everybody back at the shop that does such a great job working our stuff, building our cars and making it to where we’ve had really good equipment. Tonight it was all about staying up front, keeping it clean, and running as hard as we could. This was a fast race, I’m telling you. There was a lot of speed out there and being able to carry a lot of speed throughout the turns and down the straightaways tonight throughout the whole race. I mean, I ran 100% much of the race.”
The action started before the command had been given, with Joey Logano having to wait while his car underwent pre-race inspections, having failed the first inspection. Logano and Brad Keselowski‘s cars, both Penske Racing Fords, had to change their rear-end housing after pre-race inspections, with Logano only just making it to the grid for the pace laps. Logano was forced to start from the back having arrived late at the grid.
On-track action saw Kyle Busch lead the field from the start ahead of brother Kurt and Aric Almirola. Busch made an early break from the chasing pack while Martin Truex and Jimmie Johnson made it a four way battle for second position. Logano was a man on a mission in the early goings of the race, moving up to 32nd from last place in just seven laps.
Green flag racing was halted for the first time on lap 39, with caution coming out for debris on the front straight. The leaders took the opportunity to dive in to the pits, with all the lead lap cars opting to take four tyres and fuel.
Kyle Busch led the field back to the green flag, but by the time they made it back round to the stripe the yellow was back out, an incident involving Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse in the middle of the back straight bringing out the second caution of the day.
Martin Truex took the lead off the restart, beating Busch and Johnson to the line as the sun started to set and the shadows grew longer. The race settled down once again, with small battles appearing up and down the field. Kyle Busch regained the lead on lap 76, passing Truex round the outside off turn 2.
Caution flew for the third time on lap 82 due to smoke coming from Ricky Stenhouse’s car, who had rejoined the race from the garage. NASCAR officials believed the smoke could have been caused by the car dropping oil, however the only issue appeared to be the left rear tyre rubbing on the bodywork.
Kyle Busch won the race off pit road in a round of stops ending with flames coming off the tarmac in Matt Kenseth‘s pit box. One of Kenseth’s pit crew’s shoes also caught fire, but when asked how he was, he simply replied “Pfft, yeah!”.
As night fell across Texas Motor Speedway, a long green flag run signalled the start of green flag pit stops. Tony Stewart found in his pit box in an awkward position, sliding the rear so much that he ended up facing sideways, a stop that NASCAR would review.
The fourth caution of the day came on lap 150 owing to debris in turn 2. Kyle Busch won the race off pit road once again, making the most of the final pit stall. Busch and Jeff Gordon led the field around to the green as Carl Edwards encountered engine problems and plummeted down the field.
Gordon took the lead from Busch on lap 187, however the lead would only last for twelve laps, with Martin Truex passing the Hendrick driver on lap 199 under green flag stops. Dale Earnhardt, Jr‘s race took a sudden turn for the worse on lap 188 as he dived into pit road stating on the radio that his battery appeared to have died. Junior was running in third before coming in to the pits, dropping two laps down while swapping the batteries over.
An accident involving David Reutimann on the back straight brought out the fifth caution with 112 of 334 laps to go. The leaders descended on pit road once again, with Truex beating Gordon and Busch out of the pits.
Green flag racing returned with 106 to go with Truex leading from Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon. Truex controlled the race until the next round of green flag stops, handing the lead back to Jeff Gordon on lap 280 just as there were spins for Marcos Ambrose and Jeff Burton on the back straight.
Gordon came down to complete his final stop under the caution period, handing the lead of the race back to Truex in the #56 car. Any chance of a good result for Gordon on lap 305 suffering a flat tyre and dropping him down the field and behind the wall.
The final caution of the race came with 21 laps to go, caused by debris in turn 4. The leaders came down pit road for one final time for the 16 lap dash to the checkered flag. Busch won the all important race off pit road, leading Truex and Edwards back round to the green flag and across the line for the final time.
Jimmie Johnson still leads the Sprint Cup standings, holding a 9 point lead over Brad Keselowski and an 18 point lead over Kyle Busch as the series heads for Kansas.