Kyle Busch did it again. For the fourth race in the last five, Busch went to victory lane, this time winning Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard. Busch won his 33rd career Sprint Cup race and completed his NASCAR-record eighth career weekend sweep having won the NASCAR Xfinity race on Saturday. Here’s how it all went down Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Carl Edwards led the field to the green from his first Indy pole. Joey Logano in second on the outside was able to take the lead by the exit of turn 2. At the end of the lap 1, Logano had a four car length lead over Edwards, David Ragan was third, Tony Stewart was fourth, Kevin Harvick fifth. Ragan lost third to Stewart on lap 2 and was soon falling back; he was fifth by lap 3. Kyle Busch took over fifth on lap 5. By Lap 7 Logano’s lead was nearing a second; by lap 10 the lead was 1.4 seconds.
Edwards went to the lead on lap 13 as Logano had debris on his grill and needed to get behind Edwards to get it loose. Logano got right to the back bumper and the debris was soon gone. Edwards was soon stretching his lead out. Harvick moved to third on lap 16, Kyle Busch soon followed, Edwards lead was 1.3 seconds. AJ Allmendinger pitted with a possible tire going down.
Harvick went to second on lap 21 as Edwards had caught and was working his way through the back of the field. Edwards’ lead was only a half a second. Kyle Busch went to third on lap 24. Kurt Busch came in on lap 28 with a right rear tire down; Harvick came in from second right behind starting a round of green flag stops. Stewart came in a lap later. Logano came in on lap 30. Edwards came in on lap 31 followed by Kyle Busch.
The lead belonged to Harvick after the stops cycled through, Edwards was second, Logano third, Kyle Busch fourth and Stewart fifth. Edwards was close and was gaining on Harvick on lap 36. Kyle Busch got by Logano on lap 40; up front Edwards and Harvick were fighting for the lead. Harvick was able to hold Edwards off and keep the lead.
The first caution came out on lap 44 for balloons used in the prerace ceremonies that had fallen onto the backstretch. The leaders all came in for stops with the exception of Logano and Ragan. Edwards was first off pit road followed by Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth; the top seven had all taken only two tires.
Logano led on the restart on lap 50, Ragan was second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, and Kurt Busch, all had stayed out. Edwards the first of those who pitted, restarted sixth. Logano jumped to a clear lead, but a lap later the second caution came out when Clint Bowyer spun in turn 4; Jeff Gordon was the only car to get damage as he was sent up the track and into the wall sustaining heavy damage. He was able to continue but needed repairs on the 24 car. The restart came out on lap 55, Logano again went to the lead. Gordon was three laps down in 42nd spot after multiple trips to pit road for repairs during the caution. Up front, Johnson took second from Ragan followed by Truex. Logano put Gordon another lap down on lap 57; Kyle Busch took fourth on the same lap. Kenseth pitted on lap 58 for a scheduled green flag stop. Johnson pitted on lap 59, Kyle Busch two laps later, Truex came in from second on lap 62, Logano right behind. Harvick led, Stewart was second, Larson third. Keselowski moved into third on lap 69. Up front Harvick’s lead was 4.4 seconds. NASCAR told Gordon he needed to pick up his speed; Gordon told his spotter to tell everyone he was trying to stay on a high line.
Gordon gave up and headed to the garage on lap 73. At the halfway point, Harvick’s lead was 4.4 seconds as the top three worked on saving fuel. Stewart was second, Keselowski third, Edwards fourth, Danica Patrick was fifth. She came in for a green flag stop on lap 84, Larson and Stewart followed. Harvick came in right behind. Keselowski came in from the lead on lap 86, Edwards followed. Kyle Busch took the lead having come in on lap 60.
Caution three came out on lap 90 for debris. Kyle Busch was starting to pit just as the caution came out, he reacted and came back out and kept the lead. Busch lead a group of front-runners in for stops a lap later, Ragan, Logano and Stewart followed. On the track Harvick inherited the lead. Stewart won the race off pit road, Larson was second, Kyle Busch third, Logano fourth. Stewart and Larson took two tires, Busch and Logano fourth. That group restarted sixth led by Stewart. Harvick led, Keselowski was second, followed by Edwards, Kenseth and Johnson.
The green came out on lap 96. Harvick rocketed to the lead as the rest of the field spread out behind him when Keselowski got loose. A lap later Edwards settled into second, Kenseth third, Kyle Busch fourth and Stewart fifth. Kyle Busch moved to third on lap 104.
Caution four came out on lap 107 when Aric Almirola spun coming out of turn four while running 17th. He hit the inside wall but was able to continue with heavy damage. Kyle Busch, Stewart and Keselowski were the ones among the top runners to pit. Busch and Keselowski took two tires, Stewart four. The top five were Harvick, Edwards, Kenseth, Logano and Johnson. Kyle Busch was 10th, Stewart was 15th, Keselowski 18th.
The restart came on lap 112. Harvick went to the lead, Logano seconds, Edwards third, Kenseth fourth, Busch fifth. A lap later Larson went to fifth. Busch went back to fourth on lap 115. Logano’s car again picked up debris and he was looking to get up to Harvick to loosen it on lap 117.
Caution five came out on lap 120 when Brain Scott hit the wall and left debris on the track. The caution set up the final stops of the day. The leaders all came in for stops. Kyle Busch led off pit road, followed by Truex, Patrick and Edwards all had taken two tires. Logano, Harvick and Hamlin followed with four tires. Ragan, Keselowski, Stewart and Kahne stayed out and were the lead four.
The stops set up a fuel strategy for the leaders as everyone needed one more stop to make it to the end. During the caution Gordon came out of the garage.
The restart came on lap 124. Ragan held the lead as Keselowski dropped into second. Kahne was third, Edwards fourth, Harvick fifth. Harvick got by for fourth a lap after the restart. Ragan pitted on lap 127 as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. hit the wall, Johnson and Stewart followed. All hoped for a caution but Stenhouse was able to make it to pit road. Keselowski took over the lead, Kahne second, Harvick third, Edwards fourth. Kahne pitted on lap 129, Truex was fourth, Kyle Busch fifth. Busch went to fourth with 24 laps to go.
Caution six came out with 20 to go for debris on the backstretch from a flat tire from Almirola. Trevor Bayne also had damage as the two had got together.
Keselowski came in for his final stop, Kenseth also came in from tenth, Stewart and Johnson also pitted. Harvick led, Edwards was second, Kyle Busch was third, Truex fourth, Logano was fifth. Keselowski restarted 13th, Johnson 24th, Stewart 25th.
The restart came with 14 laps to go. Harvick grabbed the lead, Logano and Edwards nearly got together and Edwards slipped out of the groove and fell back as Kyle Busch took over second. A lap later Dale Earnhardt Jr. brought out caution seven when he spun entering turn one after running through the grass shortly after getting a nudge from Kahne. Edwards had fallen to 15th and pitted during the caution, along with Stewart. Both got four tires.
Harvick was first, Busch, second Logano third, Truex fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth. The green came out on lap 152, 8 laps to go. Busch got a great restart thanks to push from Lognao and was able to snatch the lead from Harvick, Logano fell into third, Hamlin fourth, Truex fifth. With five laps to go, Busch had a lead nearing a half a second as caution eight came out for debris in turn 3.
The restart came with two laps to go. Busch chose the inside lane, Harvick the outside. Harvick slipped on the restart as he was being pushed by Hamlin and Logano was able to go to second on the outside, Truex went to third, Harvick to fourth. Behind them in turn one, Bayne spun and crashed bringing out caution nine and setting up a green white checkered flag finish. Busch got the advantage on the restart as Logano fell in close behind. The two broke away from the field. On the final lap, Busch was able to stretch out his lead and Logano wasn’t able to close and Kyle Busch powered to his fourth win of the year. Harvick was third, Martin Truex Jr. was fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth.
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. 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.