The yard of bricks is going to start charging Kyle Busch rent.
Starting from pole in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Busch led a record-breaking 149 of 170 laps to win at IMS for the second straight year and fourth straight time in NASCAR’s top-two divisions.
“We made a lot of changes to the car to make it way better for myself,” Busch said. “It seemed to give us everything we needed in order to be better. We had a great racecar.”
Winning from the pole in Saturday’s XFINITY event, the 31-year-old also became the first driver in NASCAR history to sweep both poles and race wins in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series in one weekend.
Coming home second was Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth, who finished 2.1 seconds behind the No. 18 driver. Finishing third was Jimmie Johnson, who grabbed his first top 5 since Charlotte in May.
The four-time IMS winner was happy to bring home a result he and the team deserved.
“I never honestly got a good look at [Busch],” Johnson said. “I knew he was about to run out of gas so I wish we had another caution and maybe a better restart or two. I think top 10 or 15 was the goal at one point, so to get all the way to third was pretty awesome.”Starting the race with only two caution in the opening 120 laps, the race was looking to be well in the hands of JGR, who consistently occupied top-5 spots.
However, the mood of the race took a feisty turn when three consecutive accidents slowed the field in the closing 15 laps.
Carl Edwards ran second throughout the afternoon but lost the rear of his No. 19 Toyota in Turn 1, sliding up the track collecting Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and more.
On the ensuing restart, while fuel entered the minds of the top-running cars, Clint Bowyer and Trevor Bayne crashed down the backstretch after an aggressive block by the latter.
One more accident by Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman in Turn 1 put an added emphasis on getting through the first turn without issue.
Finally, on the second attempt of NASCAR Overtime, the race ended after 10 additional laps of competition.
A driver who benefited from the chaos was Kyle Larson, who survived the finish fifth. Kevin Harvick overcame an early flat tire to finish sixth while Joey Logano and Martin Truex, Jr. grabbed top 10s.
Richard Childress Racing put both Austin Dillon and Paul Menard into the top 10 after they dodged multiple accidents. Chris Buescher grabbed a career-best effort, finishing 14th for Front Row Motorsports.
Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, who each ran their final scheduled Brickyard 400s, finished 11th and 13th, respectively.
Stewart relished in the moment of racing at his favorite track one more time.
“Everything about this place is cool,” Stewart said. “I actually drove through the infield at night because I wanted to see it the night before my last race. It’s just little things like that that mean a lot to me.”
Gordon, who spent the opening 16 races in the NASCAR on FOX booth, made his first start of the year in Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet. Gordon says he has a heightened sense of appreciation for these drivers racing with the new low-downforce package.
“Being out of the car this long made me realize how tough this truly is,” Gordon said. “How, not only fit these drivers are, but how talented they are. They just took advantage of me on the restarts, they knew they could. That’s oging to do me a lot of good being up in the booth.”