KANSAS CITY, KS – Kyle Busch walked away from his controversially wrecked car last weekend in Darlington, after his promising NASCAR rebound racing career ended in frustration after Brad Keselowski’s front tire sent him into a spin.
Busch’s week didn’t take long for him to get much better.
Two days later, Bush and his wife, Samantha, welcomed their baby daughter into the world after years spent dealing with infertility. Born by a surrogate, Lynx Key soon made their 7-year-old son Brixton a big brother, and put everything in proper perspective – as if Bush needed any help in this regard.
“There is a personal life and a racing life, a personal life and a career, but you want to explain that,” Bush explained Saturday at Kansas Speedway, “and I try to separate those and separate them as much as possible.”
His week of rolling could definitely end on a Sunday high given his performance in Kansas recently.
What was once a mile and a half of heartbreak where Bush was likely to crash in practice like hitting the finish line in one piece has become one of his favorite spots. He’s had 11 top-10 runs and two wins in his last 14 trips to Kansas, and is the defending champion in last year’s regular season west of downtown Kansas City.
It’s hard to believe Busch crashed once out of three consecutive races there.
“Even the last few times before we won there we had some really strong runs,” Bush said. “We finished in the top five, I think, five races in a row, and we were also in the top 10 a lot, so it’s a place we really picked, and now we have two wins there. It looks like we’ve got a setup or a place for that place.”
In other words, it’s a good place to go after Darlington, where Bush drove 18 laps and was near the front most of the day.
Then came the moment when Keselowski blew his tire and hit the wall, collected Busch in the wreckage, and damaged his #18 Joe Gibbs Racing car so badly that he had to limp down a pit road. Instead of taking it all the way to the garage, though, Busch stopped it and walked away, forcing NASCAR to close the pit road so it could be moved.
Bush later said he didn’t think it mattered, and that he couldn’t turn to the garage anyway. But the move has been criticized by NASCAR analyst Clint Boyer and others for its seemingly immature nature.
Regardless of that ending, things on the track have been doing well for Bush lately. He won a month ago in Bristol dirt to seal a place in the playoff, finished third at Talladega and led the most laps two weeks ago at Dover.
Things were fine on the home front too, with Bush finally learning how to be a father of two.
“It was just amazing,” he said. “I’m really grateful for all the blessings we’ve had over the years, struggles and trying to get to where we are today.” “Really helpful to be able to welcome our baby girl into the house. Lennix is doing really well. My mum adapts and works well. She covers men for man with kids. I’m sure this will change as she gets older but enjoy every moment of it so far” .
Possibilities and endings
Kyle Larson is Sunday’s race favorite at 6-1, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, after winning in Kansas in October en route to the Cup Series. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott along with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott took 7-1 while Ross Chastain took the 8-1 win for the third time this season.
New car, old results
Hendrick Motorsports will be trying to make it 3-vs-3 in the next generation car on mile-and-a-half tracks this weekend. Alex Bowman won earlier this season in Las Vegas while William Byron won in Atlanta.
Joey Logano, last week’s winner in Darlington, crashed near the end of Saturday’s training. The wreck came after Lugano’s car boss was kicked out and lost his pick because the check failed twice.
It’s time to be happy
Kevin Harvick, who finished fourth in Darlington, is hoping to capitalize on his Kansas dominance for his first win since Bristol on Sept. 19, 2020. He has finished second in two of his last three races on the track, and has four consecutive races out of the five. , while his three wins in Kansas tied with Hamlin, Logano, Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Gordon, the most in history.
win and have fun
Lugano became the 10th driver in the first 12 races to clinch one of 16 playoffs when he rolled William Byron into the wall on the penultimate lap to win last weekend. That means the pressure mounts on Harvick, Tyler Reddick, and everyone else without a win in the middle of the regular season.
“I think that’s what NASCAR combined with this qualifying system – that win means a lot and you do what it takes when it comes to it,” said Austin Dillon. “I think everyone’s organizations would be upset if they didn’t.”
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