Kyle Busch continued his domination Sunday holding off Joey Logano on a green white checkered flag finish to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard. It was his third straight win and his fourth win in the last five Sprint Cup races after missing the first 11 races of the season after being injured in a crash at Daytona in February.
“Wow, this is amazing!,” Busch said in victory lane. “I don’t even know what to say or what to think. Man, to win here at Indy and to do it on the Sprint Cup level – I’ve been trying for so many years, second a couple times, but this is just so special.”
Busch led only 19 of the 164 laps but was able to play his pit strategy perfectly and saved enough fuel to remain in the top five. Busch grabbed the lead from Kevin Harvick, who led a race high 75 of the 164 laps, on a restart with eight laps to go. He was leading when a spin from Trevor Bayne brought out the races final caution and set up just the second green white checkered flag finish in NASCAR history at Indy. On the final restart Busch shot to the lead, Logano never got close and Busch went on to victory.
“Geez, I guess Kyle’s back,” Logano said. “It’s just so frustrating running second at the Brickyard. Second hurts.”
Harvick was third, Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth. Despite a new rules package form NASCAR designed to promote more passing, the race came down to fuel mileage and fuel mileage strategy. Those who played the right strategy included Harvick, Logano, Busch and polesitter Carl Edwards. Edwards was shuffled back in the late going leaving the final laps to be contested among Harvick, Logano and Busch. It was Busch emerging as the winner giving Toyota their first win at Indianapolis, breaking an 11 year win streak for Chevrolet. Busch also won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday completing a weekend sweep for a NASCAR-record eighth time in his career.
“I might have found my happy place, “ Busch said.”Nothing better than being in victory lane, nothing better than being in victory lane for one of the biggest wins in my career at Indy and sweeping the week – even bigger yet. I just want to celebrate with my team, my wife and my family.”
Edwards led 21 laps but fell back on a restart with 14 laps to go and finished 13th. Tony Stewart who had his best start of the year was among those who played the wrong fueled strategy ,he came home 28th.
Jeff Gordon in his 22nd and final Brickyard appearance spun and crashed on lap 51 after contact with Clint Bowyer. He spent many laps in the garage and returned and finished 42nd.
“Today was an unfortunate day,” Gordon said. “ It seems like in recent years it’s been kind of feast or famine for us here. But I tell you what, from the first time I came here all the way through last year and even this year the fans have been amazing, the experiences have been amazing, the wins. Everything has been incredible and I feel so fortunate to have just gotten an opportunity to race here. Certainly to have five wins here is just unbelievable as well.”
Bowyer rallied from his earlier spin with Gordon to finish sixth, Matt Kenseth was seventh, Kyle’s older brother Kurt was eighth, with Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top 10. The full race results can be found here. Busch ties Jimmie Johnson for series wins this season at four and now needs to get inside the 30 to be Chase eligible; he has made up 150 points since returning in May and leaves Indy 32nd, 23 points out of 30th.
“We’re a championship contending team, we just have to be championship eligible,” Busch said. “Thank the good Lord for bringing me back when he did. Obviously thanking him for all the success I’ve had in my life, where I’m at and all my blessings. To get me back as quick as he did, to preserve through that and that deficit. We’re still continuing on, we can’t have bad days. I don’t know that any of that matters, we’re going to bask in this moment here.”
Harvick maintains his top spot in the standings as the top five stay the same, Logano, Earnhardt, Johnson, and Truex. The NASCAR Sprint Cup series heads back to Pocono Raceway for Windows 10 400 with live coverage on the NBC Sports Network at 1:30 p.m. ET.