Kyle Busch continues comeback with Brickyard 400 win

INDIANAPOLIS — Las Vegas native Kyle Busch claimed his first Brickyard 400 victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Although it was his first win, Sunday’s event brought Busch his third-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory and his fourth in the last five races.

“I can’t believe what’s going on,” Busch said. “Everybody is going to be chasing the rainbow tonight, that’s for sure. This Skittles Camry was awesome. I knew if we could just get out front we could just go. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and these guys, they dialed it in again.”

Busch missed part of this season after suffering a serious leg and foot injury during a race in Daytona Beach, Fla., in February.

Joey Logano finished second after battling Busch for the lead on a green-white-checker restart following the ninth yellow flag of the race. Busch took the lead from Kevin Harvick on a restart with eight laps to go.

“We lost the lead there,” Harvick said. “The No. 18 (Busch), and No. 22 (Logano) got hooked up on the restart there and got by us in turn one. The No. 78 (Truex) and I didn’t really get together and weren’t able to keep the lead. Then I lost the lead and Kyle had a faster pace than I wanted to go and spun the tires and then he was able to keep the lead. We lost a couple more spots because we got all jacked up once we started spinning the tires. All in all, just really proud of everybody on the Jimmy John’s team. I just didn’t put it together there at the end.”

Harvick finished third, Martin Truex Jr. was fourth, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five.

Harvick gave up the race lead when hit headed down pit road for the final time during the fifth caution of the race. As a result, he restarted eighth with 36 laps to go. Meanwhile, David Ragan restarted with the lead.

Ragan pitted under green a few laps later, handing the lead over to Brad Keselowski. Harvick was back up front when Keselowski pitted under yellow just inside 20 laps to go. Busch restarted third behind Harvick and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards and then took second from Edwards on the restart.

“What a crazy end to that race,” Busch said. “First, I have to thank Joey Logano; then, I have to thank Joey Logano. Then, I have to thank Martin Truex Jr. Those two guys behind me on those three restarts, they are the ones that just helped propel my car a little bit ahead. So when I got to turn one, I could keep the gas down and pull ahead and get up to the lead.”

Harvick was the leader at the halfway point by a margin of more than four seconds over his boss and teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart, who continued to hold off Keselowski. He gave up that lead a few laps later to head for pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop. After several others pitted, Busch moved into the top spot and was leading when the yellow flag flew for the third time just past lap 90.

Harvick, among others, stayed out during the yellow flag, while Busch led another group down pit road. As a result, Harvick was back up front for the restart with Keselowski next to him on the front row for a restart just before the lap-100 mark.

Edwards started on the pole, but lost the lead to Joey Logano on the first lap. Edwards and Busch stayed out a few laps longer during a cycle of green-flag pit stops around lap 32, putting Edwards back up front for a few laps. But when he finally hit pit road, Harvick cycled to the lead.

Pit strategies began to vary when the yellow flag waved for the first time on lap 45, with strategies for some taking on a road course-type flair with teams scheduling pit stops by counting laps backward from the end of the race.

Logano was among those who stayed out during the first yellow flag, inheriting the lead and holding the top spot until he turned the position back over to Harvick when he headed for pit road under green just before lap 65.

Jeff Gordon’s bid to extend his Indy record to a sixth win flew out the window at the lap 50 mark, courtesy of an incident with Clint Bowyer that resulted in significant damage to Gordon’s car.

“I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position,” Gordon said. “I saw Bowyer get sideways. I don’t know what caused it. Me and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don’t know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then, I just lost control and got into the wall.”

NOTES: Jeff Gordon leads the all Sprint Cup Series drivers in wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with five, including last year’s race and the inaugural event in 1994. He is the only driver to compete in every NASCAR Cup race at IMS to this point. … Indiana native Tony Stewart posted the fastest lap in qualifying on Saturday with a 185.548 mph lap in the first round of qualifying, but with the pole set in the second round, Stewart wound up fourth after Carl Edwards took the pole with a 183.464 mph lap. … Sunday’s race featured a new aerodynamic rules package that will also be used next month at Michigan International Speedway. That package, aimed at increasing downforce, include nine-inch rear spoilers, one-inch wicker bills, two-inch splitters and 43-inch radiator pans. … Kyle Busch won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis after leading 53 of the 100 laps that made up the race. Ryan Blaney, also racing Sunday in the Sprint Cup race, finished second in the Xfinity race. … Busch’s win snapped a 12-race Indianapolis winning streak for Chevrolet.

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