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Late yellow flag spoils Kyle Busch’s drive from worst to first

A weekend that started as a chocolate-covered mess for Kyle Busch nearly finished in victory lane Sunday in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

After crashing his No. 18 Toyota sponsored by Ethel M Chocolates of Henderson in practice Saturday, the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion drove from the back of the pack to the front and was leading with six laps to go. But Busch’s bid for a second victory on his hometown track was spoiled by a yellow flag with six laps left, relegating him to fourth place.

After Alex Bowman passed Hendrick Racing teammate Kyle Larson during a last-lap duel to the checkered flag, Busch thanked his crew and those from the cars of teammates Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell who built him a backup car Saturday night.

“True testament to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing. So really appreciate that,” Busch said after recovering from a stuck shifter and saving his car from a near spin to charge from last place to lead three times for 49 laps. “Was fast at the end, was doing what I could to hold the lead there with Truex and felt like I inched ahead finally.”

It appeared the race was Busch’s before Erik Jones spun and collected Bubba Wallace, bringing out the late yellow flag and shuffling the running order after pit stops. The Hendrick cars of Bowman, Larson and fifth-place finisher William Byron gained track position by changing only two tires while Busch’s team went for four.

“Wasn’t meant to be, wasn’t our day, see ya’ next week,” Busch said.

Kurt Busch runs 13th

Kurt Busch tried to follow in his younger brother’s tire tracks, driving from 31st starting position into the top 10 before settling for 13th place.

The 2003 Cup Series champion led briefly for four laps late in the first race stage after pitting for two tires while the leaders took four.

Allen talks racing

Raiders legend Marcus Allen stopped by the media center before giving the command for drivers to start their engines.

“Everybody talks about football and courage and stuff like that, but going as fast as these guys go, I think that’s real courage,” the Hall of Fame running back said.

When asked how fast he has driven in one of his cars, Allen dodged the query as if it were Mike Singletary on a run blitz.

“When I was young … ” he said, breaking into a laugh before doing a stutter-step. “Let’s just say we all challenged the speed limit. I’m gonna leave it at that. But I’ve never gone this fast.”

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

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