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Kyle Busch curses race winner after losing late lead at LVMS

Kyle Busch was relatively calm during his postrace remarks after a late yellow flag probably cost him a victory at Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

But those listening in on his in-car radio after Alex Bowman parlayed pit stop strategy into his seventh career victory got an earful.

“The same (expletive) guy who backs into every (expletive) win that he ever (expletive) gets backs into another (expletive) win. (Expletive)!” Busch said.

A lot of NASCAR fans said that was just Kyle being Kyle. Or that he was pretty much right, given Bowman’s racing luck in many of his other wins. But it also showed how badly Busch wanted to win his hometown race for the second time.

He did it in 2009 by driving from the back of the pack and nearly did the same Sunday after crashing his primary car in practice and starting last in a backup.

Busch led three times for 49 laps and was holding off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. out front with six laps to go when a crash involving Erik Jones and Bubba Wallace brought out the yellow and set up decisive pit stops.

While Busch took four tires, Bowman and Hendrick Racing teammates Kyle Larson and William Byron took two. They gained track position on Busch, who was relegated to fourth place on the final restart and could not improve his position when Bowman and Larson battled for the win.

“Honestly, before the restart, I thought the 18 (Busch) would have won, just having four (fresh tires), being in a good spot like that,” Bowman said.

As for Busch’s tirade on the radio, Bowman said it might be a marketing opportunity.

“Yikes … T Shirt?” he wrote on his Twitter account.

LaJoie runs strong

Corey LaJoie, who hosts a NASCAR podcast called “Stacking Pennies,” a reference to his race team’s lack of finances, finished 15th and on the lead lap after starting 29th.

His strong effort in the Spire Motorsports Chevy and a third-place finish by Ross Chastain for relative newcomer Trackhouse Racing gave additional credence to the notion that the new Next Gen car is leveling the playing field between the sport’s haves and have-nots.

But how long will it last?

“My opinion is that you’ll have a lot of that through the first half of the season,” Bowman said. “Once the bigger teams get time developing things, you’re never going to shut down the giant race teams, right?”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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