Denied victory at Daytona by an inopportune pit call July 7, Kurt Busch drove like lightning in a two-lap overtime dash to the finish to win Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
Swapping sheet metal with brother Kyle Busch as the siblings battled for the victory throughout the overtime, Busch collected his first victory of the season in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. The 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion won for the first time at Kentucky and the 31st time in his career.
Kurt Busch beat his brother to the finish line by .076 seconds, the closest margin of victory at a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway this season. It was also the first Cup triumph for a Chevrolet at Kentucky, which began hosting races in NASCAR’s premier series in 2011. It was also the first victory for Busch’s crew chief, Matt McCall.
Busch was running fourth, nine seconds behind then-leader Joey Logano, when Bubba Wallace spun in Turn 2 with six laps left in regulation.
Logano, third-place Erik Jones, the Busch brothers and Denny Hamlin stayed out on older tires for the overtime, with Kurt Busch having fresher rubber on his left side thanks to a four-tire pit stop under green on Lap 213 of a scheduled 267.
That caution helped balance the scales of fortune. July 7 at Daytona, Busch pitted from the lead when NASCAR gave the one-lap-to-go signal, only to have a lightning bolt within the 8-mile range return the race to caution. After rain hit the track, Justin Haley, who stayed out, got the victory.
For the first time, Kurt beat his younger brother in a 1-2 finish.
Jones finished third, Kyle Larson fourth and Hamlin fifth. Clint Bowyer, Logano, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher completed the top 10.