KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A penalty for speeding on pit road sent Kyle Busch to the back of the pack. All he did after that — with the help of a lot of yellow flags — was pass everyone else on the track.
Busch slipped inside of Matt Kenseth with just over 17 laps to go, then held off Kenseth’s challenges after a late restart to win Saturday’s Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway.
Busch’s car failed the post-race inspection because the intake manifold did not meet NASCAR specifications. Penalties will be announced this week.
Kenseth dived inside the white line just before the finish of the Yellow Transportation 300 but couldn’t slip past Busch’s No. 5 Chevrolet. Busch won by .085 seconds on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, his third victory in his last six races and the 10th of his career.
“I was able to get clear of him, and then I just had to block his air from there,” said Busch, who was penalized shortly before the midpoint of the 200-lap, 300-mile race.
There were 10 cautions, tying the track record from a year ago. Eight of them came after Busch’s penalty.
“If that thing would have went green for the rest of the race, we wouldn’t have had a chance to get back up to the front,” he said. “Everybody would have got strung out a little bit, and it would have been harder to race those guys.”
Kenseth’s narrow loss was his second straight in Busch competition at Kansas Speedway, both times after he started from the pole. He also found himself in an awkward situation with Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards, the series points leader.
Near the middle of the race, Kenseth moved in front of Edwards. The two made contact and Edwards cut a tire, causing him to drop a lap behind the leaders.
Edwards’ day only got worse when he broke loose and smacked the wall, ending his day after 141 laps. He finished 38th, but his lead over David Reutimann — who finished 17th — is still 696 points.
Edwards clapped his hands at Kenseth and gave his teammate a thumbs-up after the wreck. But he also made it clear that he thought Kenseth had cut him off earlier in the race, even though Edwards conceded that it might not have been intentional.
“The reason I was mad, someone like a teammate would race me like that,” Edwards said. “He may or may not have done it on purpose. He’s my teammate, and we’ve really got a good relationship, so I hope we can get by this.”
Kenseth responded that he thought he gave Edwards enough space — but if he didn’t, well, that’s racing.
“My job’s not to get out of his way all the time,” Kenseth said. “We’re supposed to race each other like we always race each other.
“I thought I left him enough room. We just made a little bit of contact. It was just bad luck, I guess, with everything else that happened to him.”
Kenseth also continued another dubious tradition: In seven Busch races at Kansas Speedway, no driver has both won and led the most laps. Kenseth led a race-high 65 laps Saturday, after leading 145 laps here last year.
Casey Mears was third and Clint Bowyer fourth.